Frédéric Vervisch’s 2021 campaign in the FIA World Touring Car Cup has been quietly simmering away nicely, and now as the year heads towards its close, the Belgian’s form appears to be red hot.
After a slow start for Audi, Vervisch bagged pole and a race win at Motorland Aragon during round three, before following that up with a podium at the Hungaroring.
Autodrom Most wasn’t quite so kind, but the Belgian then returned to the winners’ circle last time out at Circuit Pau-Arnos. As a result, he is now within 35 points of overhauling Yann Ehrlacher’s championship lead, and starts alongside the Frenchman on the front row for tomorrow’s Italian feature race.
Ahead of the action at Adria Raceway, Vervisch seems confident of the pace that he and his Audi RS3 LMS TCR have to offer.
“Unlike Yann [Ehrlacher], I was not pushing 100% [in qualifying],” he said. “We will save that for tomorrow for the race.
“It was also a very good lap [for me, in Q3], but he [Ehrlacher] is the leader and he took maximum points – I just found out that in Q2 you don’t take points!”
But, despite the Audi’s strong form, it won’t be an easy task to chase Ehrlacher down. As was expected, Cyan Racing have found another level of performance at this late stage of the season, having appeared to somewhat restrain their performance up to now to avoid any severe Balance of Performance rulings being cast against them.
Therefore, Vervisch will likely have a fairly difficult time keeping up with polesitter Ehrlacher, let alone passing him. Though, if Audi do still have more performance in store for the race – as he says they do – then the battle for victory could indeed be wide open.
“It’s very hard, but what can I say, we’re pushing very hard [too],” he said. “I expected us Audis to be quicker and stronger with the whole team, and it was not the case.
“So, it’s a bit disappointing on that side, but on the other hand I think we did the maximum today and tomorrow we are in a good position to fight for good points.
“We need to keep on doing that, anything can happen here [at Adria]. It will be quite exciting for the first two laps as Yann said.”
However, before the pair of them can duel for victory in the feature race, there’s a reverse-grid opener to deal with. The first race on Sunday will begin at 10:00 local time (09:00 GMT).