RACE 1 PRESS CONFERENCE
FIA WTCR RACE OF NETHERLANDS
ZANDVOORT, 19-21 May 2018
WTCR – FIA World Touring Car Cup presented by OSCARO, Rounds 10-12 of 30
Yann Ehrlacher, ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport, first position
Aurélien Comte, DG Sport Compétition, second position
Rob Huff, Sébastien Loeb Racing, third position
Tom Coronel, Boutsen Ginion Racing, leading local driver
Turning to Yann Ehrlacher, your second WTCR OSCARO victory after a fantastic drive, controlling pace during two safety car restarts. It looked very intense out there, please talk us through the race from your perspective?
First well done to all the guys next to me for their results. We knew it’s quite difficult to overtake on this track so the only way was to do a good start and we did it. After we had a bit of trouble with the red flag. The safety car two laps from the end when we had a big margin was a bit of a suspense let’s say and caused some difficulties. But the pace was there, the Honda was really quick and big thanks for the team. They are really working hard for that and they really deserved this one. I’m just happy now we are back in the fight for the points in the championship. It’s easy to forget now our difficult weekend on the Nordschleife so I’m very happy.
There were a couple of occasions on those safety car restarts when Aurélien put you under a lot of pressure. Did it feel like that for you and was it tough keeping him behind?
Honestly we had the pace and when you have the pace in these types of track and I saw the guys behind were fighting each other… I was able to save my tyres for the end just in case something happened and it was a good idea that I still had something to take off the tyres. That was actually good the pace was there after the restart so no big panic.
You must have seen a white Hyundai parked on the side of the track. What did you think because obviously it was the car of your uncle Yvan Muller?
I just saw two white Hyundais in the barriers. For sure I’m disappointed for him, they told me straight away he was fine and that’s the most important thing. It was a difficult weekend for them, apparently.
Coming next to Aurélien Comte, your first podium in the WTCR after a fantastic start and we’ll ask your Team Manager Eric Nève to translate your answers into English…
I’m very happy with the start and I can’t believe that starting seventh he was P2 at the end of Turn 1. I was a bit disappointed when the red flag came out and after the restart I was trying to put some pressure on Yann but also keep an eye in the mirror for Rob who was pushing hard. I’m happy for PEUGEOT.
Obviously you are very happy but is there an element of surprise because, while we’ve seen you fighting for positions this year, it’s not been at the front, but here you were today battling for the lead so what did it feel like for you?
I’m not surprised because I knew the 308 could be quick here so I was expecting the car to be on the pace. Maybe not as far at the front but we knew if there was a track where the 308 could do something it would be here.
Turning next to Rob Huff, starting from the DHL pole position, obviously you had high hopes for victory but it was third place in the end. Please talk us through your racer, were there any problems for you?
Yeah, the car doesn’t like a long hold on the start and we saw probably the longest red light hold we’ve seen for a long time. Ultimately the clutch has got hot and started to slip, literally there was nothing I could do when I released the clutch and the handbrake I just got a lot of clutch slip. I think I did well to save third place. And as the guys said the red flag, a few safety case… the speed of the car was good. Gordon [Shedden] made a bit of an optimistic move into Turn 1 but luckily I saw him coming. And it was lucky because if I hadn’t taken evasive action and taken the racing line we’d have both been in the gravel so I was quite pleased with myself to avoid that and that JK [Vernay] didn’t get through as well. But congratulations to these guys. Comte drove a great race, it’s not easy at the front, but really he drove a great race so well done and I’m really pleased for Tommy [Coronel] because yesterday I was worried for you my friend but you saved it today. But for me after the Nürburgring I’m disappointed not to win but great points when other people ahead of us in the championship scored nothing so it’s good for us.
Turning next to Tom Coronel, as Rob said you weren’t too happy yesterday but a bit of a transformation today with a good race result. How was the race for you?
It cannot get worse when you’re last so every step forward is better. Yesterday was a real shock, we had some trouble and we solved it. When you are under pressure and you need to do the right thing it’s good that it’s happened and it happened today. I already saw in qualifying there was a good bite from the car and it was exactly what we wanted. I could place it on the track where I wanted and also the difficulty was gone. For me it’s always nice for the home crowd to have the best result of the season. The beginning of the season was also difficult but I think the whole positive flow was there and we need to keep going because I still didn’t bring any trophy home.
And there’s quite a few thousand people out there watching you this weekend. What’s it like racing in front of all these people cheering for you?
Well first of all they came also for Max [Verstappen]. But I’m also Dutch and if you put a TV on tonight I tell not to do it tonight in the hotel because you can’t skip me… it’s just a commercial! But in Holland everybody knows us because I’ve been a long time in motor racing, I do the Formula One show together with my brother [Tim] and I do a car programme so everything automotive is involved with Coronel. It’s quite normal now they’re quite enthusiastic but it’s difficult if you want to go from side of the paddock to the other, it just just takes a few hours. I tried one time to take this way but after that I take the pitlane to get to the hospitality. But it’s good to see. This is what I explained to the organisation, to [WTCR promoter] François Ribeiro. You have to come to Zandvoort to see the enthusiastic crowd. The crowd knows the WTCR because already for 15 years it’s been on the TV as WTCC. I’ve always been pushing that. They know all the heroes in the championship and it’s important to take the show to them and give them some action on track. Race 2 will be getting more heavy and normally Race 3 will be one big pinball game so let’s wait and see.
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