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Craft-Bamboo Lukoil Focused on Taking Championship Lead

Round eight of the TCR International series will be held at the Red Bull Ring in Austria and will provide the battleground for Team Craft-Bamboo Lukoil’s championship assault. With so few points separating them from the top of the competition, the trio of drivers will be mounting an attack to take the lead in both standings. Their hard challenge is aimed at continuing their recent haul of podiums and with only a 16 point gap in the teams’ championship, another successful weekend could put them on top. Pepe Oriola is currently two points behind leader, Stefano Comini, while, Jordi Gené, has been closing in on the front runners with a string of top results and has become a potent championship contender. The two Spaniards will be doing whatever it takes to defy their success ballast and overtake the competition this weekend. Sergey Afanaysev has been a regular feature on the TCR International Series podium but has yet to break through and take his maiden win in his first touring car season. Without any weight penalty and on top form after a series of great races, Afanyasev will be a very strong challenge and one to look out for this weekend.

The Russian round of the season was a great success, with the team scoring 101 points over the weekend. Unfortunately, this has consequently earned both Gene and Oriola success ballast for this round in Austria. Gene will be battling with 30kg of ballast after scoring the most points of any driver in Russia. It will no doubt hamper the Spaniard’s performance but as he has shown on multiple occasions in the past, he has the ability to deliver top results and produce a performance that defies the weight penalty.

Oriola is facing a challenging weekend ahead as he combats 20kg of success ballast brought on by his double podium. His season rival and current leader, Comini, has a 10kg weight advantage, so Oriola will be fighting hard in qualifying to give himself the chance to gain an edge before the start of the race. With only three rounds left after Austria, success this weekend will be a crucial part of Oriola’s championship challenge.

Afanaysev remained consistent throughout the last round to take home some good results which was instrumental in the team’s march up the leaderboard. With no ballast to contend with this weekend, the Russian touring car driver will be able to use every ounce of the SEAT Leon’s performance to get the jump on his opponents and possibly take his first ever TCR International Series win.

Practice will be held on Saturday, 11th of July 08:30 – 09:00, with qualifying scheduled for 16:30-17:05. Race one will begin on Sunday, 12th of July from 08:25-08:55 (Local Time – GMT +2), while race two will be held, 11:30-12:00. Both races will follow the format of 14 Laps, with live streaming from the Red Bull Ring, Austria, available on the series’ official website www.tcr-series.com.

The pursuit of the inaugural TCR international title would not be possible without the support of LUKOIL, Gravity, Team Dynamics and Orangebus.

Quotes

Pepe Oriola, Driver #74

“With the championship so close, it is now crucial for me to maximize my points over the whole weekend, so consistency will be really important for me. I hope I have two clean races and take some podiums.”

Sergey Afanaysev, Driver #77

“My qualifying will be my focus as I will not be running any ballast, so my attack will come from gaining a good start position and mounting my challenge from there. I am still looking for my first TCR win and with the performance we have shown recently I think it is possible this weekend.”

Jordi Gené, Driver #88

“After a successful weekend last round, I now have to deal with the effects of 30kg of ballast. It will certainly be a challenge but I am looking forward to it, we are at a critical part of the season and it is now becoming imperative that I continue to score points to make sure I can catch the leaders by Macau.”

Richard Coleman, CEO of Craft-Bamboo Racing

“We are now within reach of both championships and this weekend’s aim will be to capture the lead in both. It will be a monumental challenge but we have seen what the Team Craft-Bamboo Lukoil drivers are capable of. I hope to see some good racing that leads to some more podium positions and world championship points.”