L&T Motorsport

Macau guia preview: Can Nash take Comini’s crown?

The Macau guia race has undergone many regulation changes in its 53 year history, with Albert Poon from Hong Kong taking the inaugural 1963 win in a Lotus Cortina for Group 5 touring cars.

The race then went through Group A, Super Touring and S2000 regulations until becoming a regular fixture for the World Touring Car Championship.

Fast forward to 2015 and touring cars’ newest category, the TCR International series, decided to use the event as their finale, and it didn’t disappoint.

Although 2016 will also have six cars entered from the China Touring Car Championship the 30 car TCR grid still has a championship to decide, with four drivers still in the hunt for the title.

Experienced touring car racer James Nash joined the TCR grid for the first time this season and amazingly heads the table in his Craft-Bamboo Lukoil SEAT Leon but will be the only driver on the grid carrying 30kg.

Although no stranger to the tight confines of the famous streets, having raced in WTCC there in 2012 and 2013, the Brit will no doubt come under intense pressure from reigning champion Stefano Comini with the new-for-2016 Leopard Racing Volkswagon Golf.

The Swiss won race two on the Macau streets last season claim the inaugural TCR crown for Target Competition in the SEAT Leon and after a slow start to 2016 has been a force to be reckoned with ever since the Spa round in May, leaving him just 17 points behind Nash.

Nash’s teammate at Lukoil, Pepe Oriola, currently lies third after having some bad luck this season, battling all season long for the title with Comini in 2015 and still has an outside chance, albeit 33 points adrift.

The only other driver still in with a mathematical chance to take the championship is the second Leopard Racing Volkswagon of Frenchman Jean-Karl Vernay.

Despite only switching to touring cars this season having raced in single seaters and GTs previously the versatile racer has dragged himself into the championship battle, but with a 39 point mountain to climb.

Aside from the title contenders don’t discount the Westcoast Racing Honda trio of Gianni Morbidelli, Mikhail Grachev and Tiago Monteiro.

Morbidelli has a point to prove after a good start to the season was curtailed by incident after incident, more luck than fault, has left him out of the championship battle.

Grachev has been a sensation this year since joining the Swedish squad, taking four wins, and with no Rob Huff on the grid for the first time since 2004 Monteiro will be upholding the honour of the WTCC.

No doubt the three B3 Racing SEATs will be there or thereabouts too, but the title may be decided by whoever is able to keep their car off the wall and avoid the inevitable carnage.

Find out here on November 20th. It’s sure to be an exciting finale!!!

James Bourke

TCR corespondent

Photo:TCR media


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