Hyundai adds BMW pair to 2019 WTCR line-up
Hyundai has completed its four-car 2019 World Touring Car Cup line-up by retaining world champion Gabriele Tarquini and teammate Norbert Michelisz, and adding BMW drivers Nicky Catsburg and Augusto Farfus.
The manufacturer's i30 Ns largely dominated the first year of the WTCR era in 2018, with BRC Racing driver Tarquini securing his second world title and Yvan Muller's YMR outfit clinching the inaugural teams' title by three points ahead of BRC.
But Muller's YMR squad will link up with the 2017 World Touring Car Championship-winning Cyan Racing operation next year for its first season in WTCR with its Lynk & Co 03 challenger, meaning two Hyundai seats have become available.
While Tarquini and teammate Michelisz - who achieved a combined six wins in 2018 - had not previously been confirmed for 2019, their extensions were considered a formality. Both will race as Hyundai Motorsport Customer Racing drivers next year.
"After winning the FIA WTCR in the first year of racing with the i30 N TCR I am obviously very happy to be returning to the series to defend my title with a Hyundai in 2019," said Tarquini, who will turn 57 before the start of next season.
Farfus, who drove for Alfa in the first two years of the WTCC's relaunch before racing BMWs from 2007-10, announced during the Macau Grand Prix weekend last month that he would step away from BMW's DTM line-up next year to focus on GT racing with the manufacturer.
The Brazilian acknowledged at the time that he was in talks to join Hyundai's WTCR roster and has now concluded a deal.
“I am very grateful for my time, and my success, in GT racing, but after seeing the level of competition in the FIA WTCR, I am very excited to be joining the grid for 2019," said Farfus.
"It will be a new challenge for me, as I have not driven a TCR car before – in fact the last time I raced in front-wheel drive was back in 2006.
"I am excited to get to work for the Hyundai Motorsport customer teams to make sure I, and the rest of the i30 N TCR drivers in the championship, make a fast start to the new season.”
Catsburg, also a BMW Motorsport driver, will return to World Touring Cars after a year out, having raced for Lada and then as part of Cyan's factory Volvo operation during 2015-17.
"I am really happy to return to touring car racing in 2019 by entering the WTCR," said the Dutchman.
"I have seen most of the 2018 FIA WTCR races and I can’t deny that I really wanted to be a part of it in 2019. I have worked with Gabriele and Augusto before and Norbi I know well from my WTCC times."
Hyundai has not disclosed what its driver pairings will be for 2019 or the identity of its second team.
Race winner Norbert Michelisz, BRC Racing Team Hyundai i30 N TCR
Photo by: WTCR
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