FIA ETCR driver Vernay: The competition is so high!

It’s been a frustrating season in FIA ETCR eTouring Car World Cup for Hyundai Motorsport N driver Jean-Karl Vernay with the Frenchman targeting title contention, but the results not going his way despite undeniable pace and potential.

We caught up with JK ahead of the season-finale at Sachsenring to hear his thoughts and learn his knowledge of the circuit…

What have been your highlights of the season so far?
My highlight is definitely my two pole positions. Those were two great laps! This year the competition is so high that you really need to push hard to make pole and that was definitely my highlight of the season.

What’s been challenging this season?
The level is super high and fighting against two guys from the same team in the Quarter and Semi Finals is very tough. They are able to play with the strategy and you are not able to fight against that as a single driver, and we perhaps made a few mistakes. That was super challenging because you score a pole but then you end up in the second Semi Final and that completely changes your weekend and your position for the Super Final.

What’s your opinion of your season so far?
I’m disappointed, I was hoping to fight for the championship and standing seventh in the championship, I am quite far away. I can’t say we don’t have the performance as I scored two pole positions, including in the first race of the season, but there have been some mistakes, such as being disqualified with a technical issue in Race FR which ruined my weekend. I was also quite unlucky in Budapest when I was put into the wall, and we were unable to score some good points. There’s been too many lows to fight for the title and right now the target is to score as many points as possible for Hyundai and try to help Mikel, who is in the fight for a top-three finish.

How intense is the competition / how close are the battles with your rivals?
Definitely much, much more than last year! We have some great guys which is fantastic for the series. These drivers have huge CVs and have been quite aggressive on-track – much more than last year – but I think it’s good for the championship. We need to have big names; the level is on another division this year and I think this is good. I really believe in the championship and we need drivers like this to make sure we grow. It is good for everybody – especially when we beat them. Everybody needs to push more, the engineer, the drivers, the whole team, but it pays off when you win.

What makes racing in FIA ETCR unique?
The format is completely unique. We are the first electric touring car series in the world! I think the format makes it very different compared to other series.

With just one event left, what will be your approach to the Sachsenring?
We will see after Qualifying. Hopefully I will score another pole and be the driver with the most pole positions this season. That’s my target to be honest; I would like to stand on the podium at the end of the weekend. If I can win I will, but if I need to help Mikel and the team to score as many points as possible, of course I will do that.

Do you have any experience of Sachsenring?
I have experience… on my PlayStation playing MotoGP! I know the circuit pretty well on the video game but I have never been there. It’s very narrow and tricky. I think it could be a really good circuit for FIA ETCR. I’m not sure how easy it will be to overtake but let’s see.