Having been signed by Audi for his first season in the FIA World Touring Car Cup (WTCR) this winter, Langeveld was eagerly awaiting his debut appearance in the Audi RS3 LMS of Belgian outfit Comtoyou Team Audi Sport. The WTCR’s format – very different from what he was used to in TCR Germany – didn't worry him in the least. "Last season I drove 14 races in seven weekends, now I have 30 races in ten meetings. That’s more than double – but I love it! I'm happy with the additional track time, which can only be advantageous to a rookie like me. The fact that practice, qualifying and the races follow each other shortly is also fine by me. Waiting often makes me sluggish and then the nerves start to build up. So it's great that you don't hang around too much!"
The Marrakech street circuit would be the backdrop for Langeveld's debut. Not just a circuit he had never driven before, but also a circuit that is very different from what he is used to. "I drove a lot in the simulator and watched videos. That way I could imagine what it would be like ‘in real life’. For the rest I just let it happen. Actually it turned out to be easier than I thought. That is, easier to keep the car away from the wall! As it turned out, there wasn't much chance of that happening. There is run-off almost everywhere if you misjudge your braking."
However, it turned out to be anything but easy to get the vital last few tenths out of the Moroccan street circuit. Langeveld was hampered by a first free practice session that started in the wet. "How about a drying track for getting to know the circuit and getting a feel for the car for the rest of the weekend! As a rookie, I was one step behind from the start, as qualifying would be about tenths, even hundredths. For that you have make it click – and for that, experience does count."
According to Langeveld, making it click is what needed for a place in top-12 qualifying. This time, however, the Audi Sport driver failed to do better than 18th while team mate Jean-Karl Vernay was just three tenths faster and qualified seventh. "Yes, it was that close. Getting into the top-12 is crucial in WTCR – it makes or breaks your weekend, especially at Marrakech, where overtaking is notoriously difficult. I made mistakes in the first two runs, which meant I had just one run left to do it all. If that goes perfectly, you're in the top 12. I think the problem is a combination of me not being able to squeeze out the maximum and the car not being 100% either yet."
Langeveld feels his first race was reasonable nonetheless, despite not making the finish. "I got stuck behind Gordon Shedden, an Audi teammate, so you have to be more careful. Towards the end of the race the car developed braking problems. I rammed into the back of poor Augusto Farfus, who fortunately was able to continue. My fortune was that hitting Farfus rubbed off my speed, otherwise I would have ended up in the wall..."
A parc fermé error after qualifying meant that Langeveld had to start at the back of the grid for the second and third race, finishing 18th in both. "At that moment, the weekend was effectively over for me. So I had to set new goals: an entire delegation from Audi had come over and I wanted to show them that I’m able to finish races. The second race I had a very good start, and I immediately made up a few places. In the third race the start wasn’t that good. I rattled off the laps nice and clean but already my mind was on the next championship round at the Hungaroring."
In all, Langeveld endured a tough WTCR baptism but he still sees a silver lining. "It didn’t go as I had imagined. But I know the reasons why. The team and I know exactly what we need to improve in order to be there next time. That's why I'm stepping away from this weekend with confidence – a weekend we will just have to forget about. I will be on the pace at the Hungaroring. I know the place. There, my teammate will benefit from me, and I will benefit from him."