The FIA WTCR season finale was held at Sepang International Circuit in Malaysia, a 5,5 kilometre long former F1 track where much of the running was done after sunset in floodlights. A spectacular way to end the 10 race weekend and 30 races long world touring car cup season.
A flying start to the season finale at Sepang
PWR Racings flying junior driver, Mikel Azcona, entered the weekend in a extremely tight fight for fifth position and top rookie in the drivers standings. A tough battle with multiple world champions. Azcona showed both he and the team was on pace right from the get go, finishing P3 and P1 in the two test sessions. Team mate Daniel Haglöf ended P18 and P14.
Qualifying proved to be no different pace wise and Azcona followed up with a P4 position in the first qualifying and then went all the way through to Q3 in the final qualifying of the year, finishing P3. A strong performance in the hunt for important championship points come sunday. Haglöf managed P15 in the first qualifying and then had to settle for Q1 elimination in the final session.
– This was one of the best qualifying performances of this season and it shows we’ve been learning and developing all through this year. I love how my CUPRA felt and I’m super happy to extract all this pace from it together with the team, said Mikel Azcona, PWR Racing driver.
Podium finish(es) in the fight for top rookie of 2019
Following a full rest saturday, the three final races of the season were held on sunday. Daniel Haglöf started out really strong as he drove his CUPRA TCR from P15 on the grid to P7 across the finish line, one of the great drives of the season. Azcona dropped out of the points as he finished P17.
In a wet and dramatic reverse grid second race, Azcona wrestled his way from P8 all the way up to P2 and his fifth podium of the season while Haglöf ended up with a DNF. It was all down to the last race to decide who would become the FIA WTCR best rookie.
The main race of the weekend and the final race of the season was held after sunset, making for dramatic scenes as the 28 driver grid stormed into one final battle. Azcona fought hard through the race and took the flag P2 for the second time of the weekend, scoring a sixth FIA WTCR podium and moving himself into the top five in the drivers championship, becoming the top rookie of 2019.
A tough end to a fantastic season
However, after the podium ceremony had been held, Azcona was handed a 30 sec post race penalty for an on track battle in the race. The penalty moved him all the way down to P14, one position behind team mate Haglöf. Not only did he loose his podium, but also dropped one spot in the standings to sixth. A bitter end to what has been a fantastic first season for PWR Racing in the world touring car cup.
– It’s been a truly great season. Entering this field of world championship winning drivers and teams with newcomers PWR Racing and still being able to take the fight at the top. The team, CUPRA and everyone involved have done a stunning job and I’m super proud to have been a part of this. Sixth in the drivers championship is great, even though we aimed for more entering this final race weekend. Huge thanks to my team mate Daniel Haglöf, PWR Racing and CUPRA for making this a super season. I’m very happy, says Mikel Azcona, PWR Racing driver.
– I’m extremely proud of everyone in the team and very grateful to all the partners who supported us in PWR Racings first international season. It’s been a crazy year for the team, traveling all over the world with our CUPRA TCRs while still competing with three cars at home in TCR Scandinavia, scoring our second drivers championship with Robert Dahlgren. I’m beyond happy with everyones effort to make this a tremendous season. It’s been a blast competing in the FIA WTCR alongside Mikel, he’s a truly great guy both on and off track. Now we’re all looking forward to some well deserved rest over the holidays, before we dive head first into another racing season, says Daniel Haglöf, PWR Racing driver and CEO.