In just under one month before the kick-off in Marrakech (7-8 April), the brand new WTCR continues to be the talk of the town: cars, teams, drivers; it is definitely the elite of Touring races who will be going head to head. The challenge could not be more exciting for the DG Sport Compétition team, called upon the defend the PEUGEOT banner on the world scene.
The driver of the first PEUGEOT 308 TCR is now known: it is Aurélien Comte whose performances in TCR with DG Sport Compétition did not go unnoticed. Need one recall that in 2017 the Frenchman clinched the category’s European title and claimed various victories in the Benelux series at the wheel of the PEUGEOT 308 Racing Cup which he shared with the Dutchman Kevin Abbring. If on the one hand last year he drove an ‘intermediate’ version, in WTCR Aurélien Comte will have a PEUGEOT 308 full TCR: ”Having been involved in the development of the two cars, I’m well placed to confirm that my 2018 mount in no way compares with its predecessor,” he explains. “Engine, chassis, aerodynamics: it boasts an enormous progress in all fields. It goes without saying that the Balance of Performance will contribute to levelling out the chances of the different competing models. It might be worth waiting until after the collective tests in Barcelona at the end of the month to draw up a more precise picture of the strengths present. But I’m confident: the PEUGEOT 308 TCR is well-born and will give its rivals the run around.”
Similar to its rivals, the members of the DG Sport Compétition team are counting the days before the resumption: “This is a boy’s dream come true! Following my début in kart, I wanted to try my luck in single-seaters. But I soon worked out the importance of the financial factor and with just as much enthusiasm I focussed on touring car racing and I never missed a televised broadcast of the WTCC. And now I will be confronting guys on the track that gave me a buzz and that I thought were inaccessible… It’s brilliant! I’m fully aware that the level will be extremely high and that I will be discovering most of the circuits, but this does not scare me; I know the PEUGEOT 308 TCR down to the … wheels and I can count on a team I know to be efficient, professional and full of enthusiasm. So, roll on Marrakech!”
Fully-fledged member of the DG Sport Compétition ‘family’, Aurélien Comte will be joined by a man for whom the world competition races hold no secrets. Manager of the team that entered the Chevrolet cars three times crowned in WTCC, Eric Nève then officiated at HWA where he coordinated the entries of Mercedes in DTM and in F3, prior to joining the WTCC staff as a consultant in the beginning of 2014. On the eve of the launch of the WTCR, he is taking on a new challenge as Team Manager with DG Sport Compétition: “Quite simply I was missing the track! My job within the organigram of the world championship allowed me to fathom the work of a promoter and as an FIA official, I was involved in the major strategic decisions and regulations, but I had a longing to rediscover the adrenaline and the sensations a race provides within a team. I now have this opportunity thanks to DG Sport Compétition and I will be out to offer them a maximum amount of assistance in this new chapter of their path.”
Eric Nève evolved in a somewhat similar context when working with Chevrolet: “Back in 2005 we were the baby brother in WTCC; our cars struggled up against their rivals and our organisation was not beyond reproach. However, this fragile début did not prevent us later from clinching three consecutive world titles! I cannot purport that DG Sport Compétition will follow the same course, even though I obviously wish it... But I do know the team’s qualities created by Christian Jupsin and Alain Georges, and I know what I can bring to them thanks to my experience. To excel at the highest level, it is important to look after every detail, to neglect nothing and have a perfect running machine on the grid so that the drivers can give the best of themselves. I’m delighted to relive this experience and to bring out … my bowtie! This deserves a small explanation: at the time of the WTCC I had the habit of wearing a bowtie when one of my guys claimed the pole on the Saturday because I knew that many things could happen the following day during the races, traditionally pretty unsettled. Now time to make way for the WTCR with the DG Sport Compétition PEUGEOT 308 TCR. And let it be known: I will always have a bowtie in my case!”