The World Touring Car Championship’s latest addition and sole American representative, Kevin Gleason heads for Portugal and the streets of Vila Real for the latest round of the Championship in his TC1 machinery entered by RC Motorsport this weekend 24-25 June 2017.
The tight, barrier lined street track, which runs through the centre of the town’s shopping and housing, is a far cry from the previous championship round where Gleason accredited himself well on the infamous Nordschleife in Germany’s Eifel mountains, scoring points towards the independent’s trophy in both races and gaining plaudits for his race-craft.
Whilst this will be Gleason’s debut at the track, it will be the Championship’s third visit to the Portuguese venue which has proven to be notoriously difficult to overtake on the previous visits.
To address this and to spice up the race action the FIA WTCC will for the first time employ a ‘joker lap’ which, once in each race, a competitor can take a ‘short cut’ to gain positional advantage.
Looking forward to the weekend Gleason said: “I am really enjoying my time in the WTCC so far and this will now be my fourth outing in the Championship with RC Motorsport. I hope that I can continue to improve my pace and position as I get more familiar with the car and the team as I have in each previous round so far.
“The Vila Real track will provide another new challenge for sure and I will have to be precise and learn quickly to give myself a shot to make Q2 for the first time which at this track more than any is going to be crucial for a decent starting position in at least one of the races.”
On the new ‘joker lap’ Kevin said “Well, if I am honest I am a purist when it comes to racing and I am not a massive fan of messing with the straight racing from lights to flag, but it should be interesting to see how it effects the strategy of all the teams and drivers and of course if it benefits me I might be persuaded it was a great idea!”
Qualifying for Sunday’s two races takes place on Saturday 24th June at 15.30 with the races on the 25th June from 16.30. They can be followed live on Eurosport, streamed at fiawtcc.com and will be shown in the USA on time delay on the Velocity Channel.