RACE 3 PRESS CONFERENCE
FIA WTCR RACE OF PORTUGAL
Vila Real, 22-24 June 2018
WTCR – FIA World Touring Car Cup presented by OSCARO, Rounds 13-15 of 30
Media Centre, Teatro de Vila Real, 18h00, Sunday 24 June
Thed Björk, YMR, first position, Race 3
Gabriele Tarquini, BRC Racing Team, second position, Race 3
Norbert Michelisz, BRC Racing Team, third position, Race 3
Mato Homola, DG Sport Compétition, first position, Race 2
Edgar Florindo, Veloso Motorsport, leading Portuguese driver
Yesterday your car was on fire. Today you were on fire. Talk us through that performance.
The team did a fantastic job. They repaired the whole car all through the night and worked all night. The first lap I did this morning in Q1 they were cheering, it was so fantastic. I had a great feeling all day and forget about the big accident. It was such a nice car, unbelievable. I had the speed. But you see Norbert, he damaged his hand. It was a tough weekend in many ways. I can only be happy to win, but I am also happy to be here in Vila Real because the people here are fantastic.
Here in Vila Real we saw the joker used for the second time in history. What were your impressions of the joker lap this weekend?
I don’t know about the last race, the tactic where everybody took it at the end, but I think it adds spice for this track because it is so difficult to overtake. So I think it is good with the joker.
And just a word on your team for what they have done to keep you on track this weekend.
Fantastic. And Yvan, my team-mate, a fantastic driver and for putting the team together, I’m really thankful for that. But many teams this weekend have been working really hard with the cars and getting them out on track, so it was not only us. So many cars were damaged, so everybody has done a fantastic job.
Gabriele, a heroic performance given that you have not been feeling well in the intense heat of Vila Real. Just explain how you have put in such a performance.
It was a tough weekend for me because the weather conditions and the temperature is probably not the best for flu and a high fever I had until yesterday. Yesterday I felt a bit better. Today in qualifying I was not able to do one lap, made a lot of mistakes and used a lot of tyres. It was very tough, but I thought I must try. Fortunately on my very last lap I did a good lap. The car was very good and I must thank all the BRC and Hyundai team for the support to give me such a fantastic car, even with two half-drivers like me and Norbi proved that the car on this track is really good. Today I think Thed was uncatchable, probably even if I’d felt really good. He was very fast. I was really happy to follow him and finish the race because after the race I was close to collapsing. I don’t feel a lot of power now, but enough to survive.
Norbert, the team has worked so hard to keep you on track and you have come away with a podium. How does that feel for you?
First of all, yesterday at this time of the day I was close to packing my bags and going back home because like Thed and Gabriele said it was just an amazing job for YMR and BRC Racing Team to get the cars back on track. The least I could do today was to give them something back, so I’m really happy to have finished on the podium. But I have to say this day was maybe the most difficult of my racing career so far. So I’m really happy and really proud.
Just how much discomfort were you in?
The whole day was a bit tricky because of my wrist which was injured yesterday. The first time this morning when I sat in the car, after 30 seconds when I tried to manoeuvre on the steering wheel I thought about how I would explain to the team that I cannot drive today. Then I tried to put my feet up, took it easy in qualifying and it was working a bit better than expected in the race. Happy overall to have raced today and really happy to have scored important points for the championship.
Mato, at the start of this weekend you had yet to win in WTCR. Now you have become the ninth different driver to do so this season and what a performance from you, to beat one of the most successful drivers in touring car history, Yvan Muller. How happy were you at the end of that race?
The race was very, very difficult. As all the others before me said, we must thank all our teams because all cars were damaged a lot and I must congratulate Thed for the great win today and also to Norbi and Gabriele because they were not in good shape. But my Race 2 was pretty good. I had a good start, I used the opportunity to overtake Yvan after the clash with Shedden. Then we had a really good strategy with the joker, but all the race I was followed by Yvan. And as a really experienced and fast driver, it was hard not to make any mistakes, but I didn’t do any mistakes so I was first. It is a very nice experience and feeling for me, but I need to continue this in the following races.
The joker laps towards the end were very exciting between you and Yvan. What was it like knowing you had stayed ahead of him?
If I can be honest, I did not like the joker lap before this event. But now it’s pretty cool, as Thed said it’s kind of the spice on this race, and it could change a lot, especially in the last race. But in the second race it was tricky to do good laps when I did the joker and after Yvan did the joker. It was really close and it was a really good experience to have the joker in Vila Real.
And finally, Mato, next month it’s your home race in Slovakia and you go there as a winner in WTCR OSCARO. That must be fantastic for you.
It’s a good preparation for Slovakia. Slovakia-Ring is a very different track to Vila Real, but I know we are quite good on fast corners and Slovakia-Ring is a really fast track. I think we will be competitive there, but no pressure. I will try to enjoy it.
Edgar, a really strong finish in your first appearance in the series. You must be pleased with your performance.
I am very proud because I was able to be very fast, especially in the qualification sessions. I did some pretty good times. I have a handicap of 20kg extra on my car, which is a big difference to all the other cars in WTCR. Even with less experience with a lot less rhythm I was able to do a very good performance. Today was a really, really hot day so I would also like to give a word to all the public who were here with us in Vila Real for this circuit, and I think we gave a pretty good image of Vila Real and Portugal to the world.
Q: (Neil Hudson, Touring Car Times, Sweden)
Thed, yesterday you couldn’t get near the Volkswagens in qualifying. Today in a car completely rebuilt how come you are now half a second faster than the rest of the field?
Easy. Qualifying yesterday I just slipped out of my set-up window in the car, then I got the car back to where I wanted with the set-up even if it was completely rebuilt. For me, that was the biggest difference. I also managed to get it in the window for the race. It was such a big difference in temperature. I just nailed it. It’s not so often you nail the set-up exactly perfect, but when you do it is such a nice feeling.
Q: (Nuno Costa, APCIVR, Portugal)
Norbi, we see in this race Thed going away. Was this because of your physical condition of your wrist? What happened?
To be honest, I think it is mainly because Thed was the fastest driver of all of us today and I was a bit stuck behind Gabriele. I feel that I had a bit more performance compared to him, but it was impossible to overtake, so it was a mix of these two things.