- Ann Bradshaw
Andy Priaulx Heads Into The Unknown As WTCR Visits Ningbo
A new experience is waiting for Andy Priaulx next weekend when he goes to Ningbo in China for the seventh round of the FIA World Touring Car Cup, as he has never seen this track before. After a break of over two months in the WTCR Andy can’t wait to get back in his number 111 Lynk & Co 03 TCR. Ahead of this his comments were: “I am looking forward to getting back with the team. It has been great to have a summer break, but I do miss the racing and this one will be extra fun as I have lots to learn.
"Luckily I have been able to spend a couple of days on the simulator in Sweden getting to know this track, which looks quite technical. I have also been working on Suzuka and Sepang, two of the other new circuits ahead of me, but obviously I know Macau well. “I am hoping to have a really strong second half to the season. I think the team has made some progress over the summer break, so I am hoping we can have a strong performance to finish the year and will be able to fight for the championship for my team mates.” It is not surprising that the Lynk & Co Cyan Racing driver has not been to this 4.010 kilometre, anticlockwise, 21 turn track in a disused quarry before, as this was only raced on for the first time in 2017 by the WTCR. Ningbo International Speedpark, to give it its proper name, is located in Chunxiao, a major port and industrial city of over seven million inhabitants in Zhejiang province, which is 215 kilometres south of Shanghai. It took a year to build at a cost of 122 million euros. “I would also like to congratulate the team and one of my team mates Thed Björk for a special achievement over the summer. They went to the Nürburgring Nordschleife with the 528-hp Lynk & Co 03 Cyan Concept and broke two lap records. Thed lapped the track in a time of 7mins 20.143 secs, which was three seconds faster than the previous time for four door cars, and 25 seconds faster than that for front-wheel driven cars. That was pretty amazing,” he said.
As usual, Yvan Muller and Yann Ehrlacher will race alongside Andy and Thed in the team, and between them they have an impressive history at Ningbo as in 2018 Thed won two races and Yvan one. The timetable for the WTCR Race of Portugal starts on Friday (13th September) with free practice 1 from 17.00 to 17.45. Free practice 2 is on Saturday from 09.00 to 09.30, followed by qualifying for race 1 from 11.00 to 11.30, with the 13-lap race starting at 15.40.
On Sunday qualifying is from 09.00 to 09.20 (Q1) and 09.25 to 09.35 (Q2), with the first car going at 09.40 for Q3. The first 13-lap race on Sunday is at 14.30. With the second race due to finish at 15.00 this leaves the teams and drivers very little time to get ready for the third and final 16-lap race of the weekend, as this starts at 15.50. All these times are local, which is seven hours ahead of BST.
Image from Cyan Racing