The 2017 season wraps up this weekend in Dubai with championship battles to be decided with 21 of the top TCR drivers in the world set to battle it out for glory. The circuit is a 3,589m, 14 turn course that is making its TCR International Series debut. TCR Middle East visited Dubai in January where VW machinery swept pole, fastest laps and both wins.
J-K Vernay leads the title hunt over Attila Tassi 207-186, but his job will be a little tougher to hold onto that lead as he’s hit with +10kg of success ballast from the Chinese rounds. Also getting success ballast is Gianni Morbidelli with +20kg and Gabriele Tarquini with +10kg. Tarquini’s Hyundai is still under temporary homologation and will not be able to score championship points.
In an effort to help solidify the championship for Vernay, Leapard Racing has called upon British Touring Car Championship legend Gordon Shedden to partner with the points leaders. This will be Shedden’s TCR debut. “I’m excited to join Leopard Racing and WRT where I will use all my experience to help Jean-Karl secure the Championship. The TCR International Series looks really competitive but I am looking forward to the challenge!” said the 38 year old Shedden.
M1RA has followed suit by bringing Josh Files, the 2016 and 2017 ADAC TCR Germany title holder, to partner with Attila Tassi and Roberto Colciago. Tassi has a bit of a hill to climb to catch the VW of Vernay, but having Files in the same stable will help.
Another TCR Germany veteran joining the International fun will be Benjamin Leuchter, who will drive with WestCoast Racing and Gianni Morbidelli, who sits 7th in the standings.
Recent TCR Europe Trophy winner, Aurelien Comte, will make his TCR International debut at DG Sport Competition, pairing with Mat’o Homola, who is in the 10th position after missing most of the first half of the season.
In terms of the Team’s title, M1RA has a commanding leading of 71 points over Lukoil Craft-Bamboo Racing with the Manufacturer’s title battle much closer with Honda leading VW by 30 points.
The green flag flies on Dubai’s Race 1 on Saturday November 18th at 11:20 with Race 2 following at 15:35.