RACE 3 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
Jean-Karl Vernay, Audi Sport Leopard Lukoil Team, first position
Rob Huff, Sébastien Loeb Racing, second position
Frédéric Vervisch, Audi Sport Team Comtoyou, third position
Tom Coronel, Boutsen Ginion Racing, leading local driver
Prince Bernhard van Oranje, Bas Koeten Racing, wildcard driver
Starting with Jean-Karl Vernay, your second victory of the season following a fantastic performance leading from the start. That was an incredible drive but please explain just how you achieved such a good result here?
Motivation, good team, good car and not too bad drive, that’s all.
It was average!
Okay, average so he says and if a Brit says… no it was a great day, I was really motivated after what happened yesterday. Changing engines is not always nice, we knew we would have one race down and I was the only driver until this morning to score points in every race. But I said to my crew ‘don’t worry, we’re going to make pole and we’re going to win’ and we made it and this is pretty cool. The team did a great effort all night to rebuild the car, to have a good car ready for qualifying. After that I just did my job, I was pretty confident, the balance of the car was good and I just tried to push and drive well as I learned to do.
And how hard is it leading from the front like that, it’s a 15-lap race with a lot of pressure on you. What was it like?
The biggest points was starts. I was able to stay in front even though Rob took a better start than me. I was a little bit scared because Fred, Gordon and Rob had new tyres on the front and we spent all our tyres yesterday and this morning. I was not sure to be as consistent as them but we drove well, the car was good trying to stay smooth with the front tyres and we made it. It’s good, we’re back in the championship and this is the most important thing.
Turning next to Rob Huff and second in Race 3 and another good set of points for you…
Very much so but first of all we have to congratulate the organisers of the event. It’s been spectacular with so many people here and obviously Tommy is working hard, everyone here in The Netherlands is working hard to make this event probably the most special WTCR events we’ve seen and we’ll probably see for the future. It’s been amazing. As for the race it was pretty steady. I learned in the first yesterday it’s very difficult to overtake here. I got a slightly better start than JK but the Audi just stretched its legs a little bit into Turn 1, he braked very early into Turn 1, very safe so I gave him a little touch but that was about as exciting as the race got. Through Turn 7 on one lap about 10 laps in there was quite lot of dirt because somebody had obviously clipped the inside and I think JK and I suffered a little bit and lost out a little bit but ultimate a great weekend by my team. I’m very pleased.
A lot of bad luck for you this weekend but a great response with the podium in Race 3. Just explain what went wrong and how it all went right today in the final race?
Obviously the Audi was very competitive but if your car’s competitive you need to score points and unfortunately we had some technical issues. But the team responded greatly and I’m very happy that we could at least score a podium. At the end we have something, congrats to WRT and JK. They did great. Let’s see what will happen in the future.
Not the home weekend you were perhaps hoping for in terms of the result but lots of interest in the event and in you. What was that like?
It’s your home race and your home race always gives you a little bit of energy, which was quite exciting because you also feel the emotion. Yesterday was strong, we did a nice qualification and we scored some good points, the best result of the season and it’s also nice when you do that on your home track. This morning it was a mess. The qualification… I was in P24 and I never remember in my career when I have been P24. But I will search back a long time, probably when the engine was broken or something, but it was easy. I just didn’t put the lap together. Two times I had traffic, one time I did a mistake and that was it, you’re nowhere and you have to start from P24. The first race was good, I overtook 10 people and that was quite alright and I finished P14. This was a good one. But in Race 3 I just made a terrible start and finally I was stuck completely on the inside. I wanted to take the outside at Hugenholtz, which is normally a good one, but somebody else also wanted to take the outside and we came together and that was it.
And just a quick word on your brother Tim because he also played a starring role this afternoon…
My brother absolutely played a starring role because he [Vervisch] just came back to me and said ‘how did you get back in your car’. I told you it was my brother but you didn’t believe me.
Now I do!
But now you do. The organisation asked, as we’re twins, to make a little noise so Tim said ‘okay, I’ll put your suit on and helmet and walk from the grid’ with people thinking ‘hey, Tom’s got to get back in his car’. They know I’m always a bit edgy but this time it wasn’t me, it was my brother. At least it worked for one of these drivers, this was the case to make the drivers go a little crazy in the mind so it worked but I wasn’t on track [for long] so it didn’t work.
Finally turning to Prince Bernhard van Oranje and firstly thank you for hosting the WTCR this weekend, it’s been a fantastic experience for the championship to be here. From your perspective for your debut in the series what was it like for you?
Well first of all it’s so cool to have you guys here, it’s a great race, so competitive and such big names. It’s not since 2007 that we had a world championship here. It was one of the best weekends we ever had and I think all the spectators enjoyed it and for a driver new to the series not very experienced in front-wheel drive it was a tough competition to start learning it but at the end my times were in the top 10, I think I got it but that was Race 3. But it was just great to be part of it and I was really grateful to Tom to start next to me! I didn’t feel alone. I was hoping for a lift forward but unfortunately he got hit. But as a host it was great to have you guys here and as a driver it was just spectacular to be a part of it.
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