Lokale held Cayrolle helemaal klaar voor debuut WTCR-wildcardactie

2022 FIA World Touring Car WTCR Éric Cayrolle

Éric Cayrolle will start an FIA World Touring Car race for the first time in more than 20 years when the WTCR visits his hometown next week.

Pau resident Cayrolle takes part in WTCR Clean Fuels For All Race of France, the opening rounds of the 2022 WTCR − FIA World Touring Car Cup, in a Goodyear-equipped Audi RS 3 LMS raced under the flag of Elite Motorsport by Comtoyou.

Tom Coronel again in TCR Europe Series

Cayrolle, 59, better known for his achievements racing GT cars in recent seasons, won the famous WTCC trophy in the second of two FIA World Touring Car Championship races at Circuit de Pau-Ville in May 2009. He scored a world championship point in the process despite crashing on the penultimate lap and causing the race to be red flagged.

2022 FIA World Touring Car WTCR Éric Cayrolle

That was the last time the city in southwestern France has hosted an FIA World Touring Car event and is eagerly awaiting the return of the category this year, as part of the Pau Motors Festival from 7-8 May.

“I live in Pau, it’s my favorite track and it will be the 29th edition of this race for me,” said Frenchman Cayrolle. “I drove the 2009 FIA World Touring Car Championship race in Pau and I have very good memories because I was the best privateer in the second race, which I won without crossing the finish line.”

Cayrolle, a three-time French Supertourism champion, completed two full seasons in the FIA ​​European Touring Car Championship, having gained experience in Formula Renault and Formula 3 in France earlier in his career. After a stint in the French GT, Cayrolle spent 2021 in the Ultimate Cup Series and won his final race at Circuito do Estoril in Portugal. However, the WTCR, which replaced the WTCC in 2018, marks new ground for Cayrolle.

“I know the competition is very tough in WTCR and as I haven’t driven front-wheel drive in 20 years it’s going to be tough and the car is not what I’m used to,” he said. “Everything will be difficult for me, but I have set no goal except to enjoy.”

Cayrolle has been entered as a wildcard for WTCR Clean Fuels For All Race of France. While that means he can’t pursue the overall points, he will participate in the podium ceremonies if he finishes a top three overall race or in the WTCR Trophy, which is for drivers competing without manufacturer support. Under the new rules for 2022, wildcard racers are eligible for WTCR Trophy points.

“I’m just doing this race [as a wild card] and I went to Vallelunga to test the car,” Cayrolle said. “I’ve done about 50 laps so I have some understanding of the car and of course I know Pau. And as a circuit in a city, you can’t make a mistake.”