Frédéric Vervisch ‘expected more’ from Audi in the wet conditions

It might have seemed unlikely after Audi’s troubled start to the season, but with just two races left to go, the German marque’s Frederic Vervisch stands as the nearest challenger to Yann Ehrlacher in the overall title race. 

With the new RS3, the Belgian has subtly conducted his best season in the FIA World Touring Car Cup to date, achieving two race wins along the way in an ultra-competitive field. 

However, Vervisch and the Comtoyou Racing squad will have to battle against the odds if they are to prevent Ehrlacher from claiming his second WTCR championship in as many years. 

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Currently 37 points behind the Frenchman in the drivers’ standings, they will have to hope for bad luck to strike against the Cyan Racing prodigy. If that does end up happening, Vervisch finds himself in a decent place after qualifying to try and capitalise on that as much as possible. 

Having set a lap time good enough for ninth on the grid in the main race, the 35 year old’s primary focus will be on the reverse-grid opener. There, he will start from second position on the front row of the grid, alongside Audi team-mate Gilles Magnus. 

If Magnus can help Vervisch convert that front row start into a victory, the deficit to Ehrlacher would be cut down to just 12 points if the Frenchman were to fail to score. If the series leader then endured a similar fate in the finale, Vervisch would need to climb up from ninth to fourth to become champion. 

It’ll be tough to pull off, and as such, Vervisch slightly rues the fact that he couldn’t maximise his points tally with a stronger qualifying. 20 points are up for grabs in that session, spread across the five fastest drivers in Q1 and Q3, but unfortunately for the Belgian he failed to score any at all. 

“We expected more,” he said. “Definitely after the strong pace and performances by my team-mates. 

“We had a difficult day but in the end I’m quite happy we’re still in the top ten, and tomorrow will start P2 (on the reverse-grid) next to Gilles [Magnus].

“We still have a good chance to score big points which is very important. It’s all to play for. We’ll be going all-in tomorrow, so I’m looking forward to that.”

As far as Magnus is concerned, it was the weather that thwarted Audi’s qualifying hopes.

“Our qualifying pace was not what we expected in the rain. It was really tough for us,” he admitted.

“I think in the dry we could have been in Q3 for sure, or even on pole with some luck. So yeah, a little disappointed about the conditions today but that’s something you can’t control. 

“Still starting on pole though, albeit on the reverse grid. We are working on the car now to improve it and be a bit more competitive. Hopefully we’ll be able to get the win for Fred. He can still win the championship and I can’t, so that’ll be my main task tomorrow.”

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