Jean-Karl Vernay says that he ‘expected a lot of points’ in the FIA World Touring Car Cup races at the Hungaroring, with the Audi driver ‘super happy’ to leave the second event with three top ten finishes including a podium.
Vernay continued his trend of being the form Audi driver in Hungary as he twice qualified in the top ten whilst his brand mates struggled for pace.
The Frenchman finished fourth in race one, behind the in-form Münnich Hondas and Lynk & Co’s Yvan Muller, leaving him pleased at a circuit which had not been expected to play to the RS3’s strengths.
Vernay then went even better in race two, avoiding the chaos behind him to claim a podium in second, converting his reverse-grid pole position into a strong points haul.
From tenth on the grid for race three, Vernay was unable to make any significant progress as he initially dropped back before moving up the order as drivers ahead of him either retired or made mistakes, eventually taking tenth.
“I expected a lot of points as we have a very good car,” said Vernay to TouringCars.Net. “I really enjoyed the tricky conditions. We did two good qualifying sessions and nearly three good races.
“Saturday was very good, I couldn’t have hoped for better than P4. On Sunday we were hoping for a win, but the team changed my clutch after qualifying. We didn’t have time to set up the clutch range and so I had absolutely no feeling.
“I tried my best, but my start was really poor. It was good to recover on the first lap which was good. Then afterwards it was difficult because I had a lot of vibrations. The wheel was completely damaged. We were lucky to finish the race.
“I was able to recover directly on the first lap, that was the thing to do and not to be in the pack with the crazy guys – I heard it was an exciting race to watch.
“I was worried about the car because I had a vibration and the rim of the wheel was completely destroyed, so there is no way we should have finished the race.”
Vernay expressed cynicism about the performance of the Hyundais, which had struggled to make the top ten on Saturday before claiming pole position and a 1-2 finish for Gabriele Tarquini and Norbert Michelisz in Sunday’s main race.
“Now we have a better view of the potential of each brand. Hyundai should stop bullshitting. With TCR Europe showing eight Hyundais in the top twelve they decided to go finally full for it today and suddenly it was a 1-2 – how surprising!”
Vernay was moved up to fifth overall in the drivers’ standings with 68 points, 32 behind new leader Néstor Girolami.
“It’s 39 points which is fantastic. We are looking good in the ranking and we have to continue like this. The next circuits should be better for us, but let’s see.
“We didn’t have the tools last year, but we are improving. It’s a great job from Audi and a great job from the team.”