RACE 3 PRESS CONFERENCE
FIA WTCR RACE OF GERMANY
Nürburgring Nordschleife, 10-12 May 2018
WTCR – FIA World Touring Car Cup presented by OSCARO, Rounds 7-9 of 30
Esteban Guerrieri, ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport, first position, Race 2
Thed Björk, YMR, first position, Race 3
Frédéric Vervisch, Audi Sport Team Comtoyou, second position, Race 3
Yvan Muller, YMR, third position, Race 3
René Rast, Audi Sport Leopard Lukoil Team, leading local driver
You’ve already experienced the joy and the triumph of winning at the Nurburgring Nordschleife and now you’ve done it again. That was an amazing race and an amazing drive, just explain what it was like for you?
That race was a really nice race for me, I just decided to go for it from the beginning. I had to take Vervisch in the start because my car was set-up for lap time, not top speed, because I knew the Audi would beat me on the straights so I just pushed it to the limit on every corner and was in front. I just made the gap to be in front because he really did catch up on the straight, it’s a long, long straight and he was really fast.
You’re a World Touring Car champion and you’ve achieved a lot of satisfaction in your career but how good is winning at this track, such a demanding lap?
Today I got to experience two sides again. The first race I had to stop because [Gordon] Shedden and [Gabriele] Tarquini hit each other up on the long straight after Bergwerk and Tarquini was in the middle of the road exactly like Tiago [Monteiro] was two years ago when Yvan hit him straight on. I locked all my wheels and hit the barrier on the right but I managed to come in so they could repair my car. But inside it’s really difficult because the speed is so high and the accidents can be quite severe. Thankfully my team repaired my car and I can go again. A lot of emotions today and I am happy to be able to take a victory because Yvan won one two days ago and for the team this is very important.
Before you arrived here you had no points but now you’ve got podiums and you’ve recorded some very impressive lap times. Just explain the transformation for this weekend?
That’s a good question. We changed some things on the car, I know the track quite well but not in a front-wheel drive. It’s a bit more different, I find it a bit more scary in a WTCR car than a GT3. I could only dream for this result. I had one chance to get first place. We touched a bit but he was very quick on the quick corners. I knew I had to be close to him at the end but it was too difficult. The tyre degradation was quite high so we have to be pleased where we’ve finished these two races and let’s hope it continues like that.
Turning next to Yvan Muller. Now this time last year you were retired. But you won on Thursday, you’re on the podium again today and you’re leading the championship. What an incredible performance?
When I was here in 2015 for what I thought was the last time I was in the hospital and I thought it’s good, I have not to come back to this circuit any more! As Frédéric said, in our cars it’s very scary on this circuit. It’s amazing the engagement with the foot. In our car we have to push so much to be on the pace. It’s amazing and nobody can understand until you are in the car. But, yep, one year on I come back, it was not really our target but for my team I did it and I can only be pleased of it. We did two victories and two two pole positions, [Thed] is the master of the Nurburgring this year and it’s a perfect weekend for the team.
Turning next to René Rast, after yesterday and Thursday it looked really good for you with some excellent performances in qualifying and of course your result on Thursday, finishing sixth from P16 on the grid, but Race 2 just didn’t last very long. What happened?
Unfortunately, just three corners. I had a decent start but lost two positions before the first corner. I was outside of Rob Huff in Turn 3, there was a bit of touch moment and my steering just broke and I went straight in the gravel. I got a massive hit on the steering and that was the end of my race.
You were competing here as a wildcard but what do you think of WTCR OSCARO, is there a chance you could come back later in the season?
I would like to. As I said the cars are very demanding to drive, especially on a track like the Nordschleife. It’s very tricky to drive, very hard to drive and for the drivers it’s very challenging. The skill of the drivers is very outstanding so obviously I would like to come back and hopefully join the podium one day.
An amazing drive from you to win Race 2. Can you talk us through Race 2 and your achievement in winning?
It was a good race, a good start. Sorry, I’m not thinking about Race 2 actually. It was a good start. The peak of the weekend was probably yesterday in my third lap of qualifying. We had some issue with the car yesterday with the dampers, the rear-right damper was leaking so we changed them for today. Yesterday the feeling was really bad so my last qualifying lap I just say let’s see what I can do. I got P8, which allowed me to start third. It was a good start, a good move on Rast and then I could see [Pepe] Oriola being quite ‘slidey’ in the first few corners. I was a bit lucky for him to have this slide but I profit from that and once I was in the front I knew the only thing I had to do was push on the infield because our strength was in the infield and our weakness was a bit on the straight. So even though I didn’t have the confidence yesterday today I found the car like again, as normal like it was on Thursday so I decided to push as hard as I could. I could make the gap on the infield of the Nordschleife and then make a big enough gap on the straight not to be overtaken.
Now I know you’re very unhappy about Race 3 but before I ask you about that, a number of very notable drivers from your country have won here on what is such a legendary track. You’ve joined them so that must make you very satisfied?
Of course. It’s funny because I had one of the best wins of my career two hours ago but now I feel I don’t want to race any more basically, that’s the feeling. I feel like… I attempted very good moves. I just enjoyed this race probably like I never enjoyed any other race but to have the decision on the paper just feels really bad. I was at the stewards just to share my feelings because it’s just really disappointing to be honest. All I can take from this is thanks God I do what I love and I’m really thankful to God to sit here in front of all these people and to you and I have this chance which many other people and driver don’t have so I’m always thankful. But I’m a person of feelings, I race with the heart and when these things happen, like also with Tarquini on Thursday I question myself why this sport that I love so much is so unfair. So, yes, all I can say is big thanks to the people around me who support me. The Honda people, the ALL-INKL people, my family, my friends they are here, my girlfriend she is here, my physio Emiliano and all the people that are at this moment are with me because. I don’t care about anything else to be honest.”