WTCR - Race 3 Press Conference | Federation Internationale de l'Automobile
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WTCR - Race 3 Press Conference

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18.11.18.

WTCR - Race of Macau - Race 3 Press Conference 

In attendance:
Esteban Guerrieri, ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport, first position
Rob Huff, Sébastien Loeb Racing, second position
Norbert Michelisz, BRC Racing Team, third position
Gabriele Tarquini, BRC Racing Team, WTCR OSCARO Drivers’ title winner*
Yvan Muller, YMR, WTCR OSCARO Teams’ title winner*
 
Q:
Esteban, in qualifying on Friday you were so disappointed to miss the DHL Pole Position, but today you’ve taken the victory, you were the man. How does it feel?
 
EG:
I’m not the man today, he’s the man [pointing at Gabriele Tarquini]. He was the man for the whole year. It was a fantastic season, I really enjoyed it, with a lot of sparks with everybody here as well, but we know how it is. We know how we have to race, a bit too much sometimes, but this is racing and we always have to learn. I’m happy to finish the season in this way, winning in Macau. I have two wins this year, in Macau and on the Nordschleife, so I cannot ask for more. It was a great year and also finishing third [in the standings] I’m very pleased. I was disappointed on Friday, but if I’d known I would win today, that’s fine. I’m pleased with this guy here [Rob Huff] and I learned a lot defending from him, and of course we will have a nice battle again next year. Thanks to my team, my family, I have a lot of support and to my mother who is fighting… I am very happy, thank you.
 
Q:
There are two big winners today, the other being 2018 World Touring Car Cup by OSCARO title winner Gabriele Tarquini. Gabriele, congratulations. Before the race you said back in 2009 you considered stopping racing, yet here you are again a champion. How amazing is that feeling?
 
GT:
It’s great. I have the memory nine years ago walking to this press conference with a world title, and I was thinking to stop racing because what do you want to achieve more than a world title? It’s probably the best time to stop, but walking there I was thinking ‘why should I stop, I want to race. I have the adrenaline, I am not very slow, I can compete again.’ And I decided, because SEAT stopped, to start again with a private team in 2010, 2011, 2012 and then I was back in a Honda team. So I didn’t stop and this has been the greatest season. And I must also thank Hyundai for choosing me in the beginning, all the team, the mechanics and my team-mate. And I also want to congratulate Yvan, who made a great job through the season. He was my toughest opponent. It was already nine and 10 years ago because we fought in 2008 and 2009. I’m really pleased he came back to race because he wanted to stop, and I remember what I suggested to him: ‘I said why do you want to stop so young?’ And now I am very happy he is back and is fighting again. And I forgot my family – my wife, my daughter and son!
 
Q:
Rob, we have a presentation for you: the TAG Heuer Best Lap Trophy for this weekend. So not the victory, but a great battle wit Esteban.
 
RH:
Yes, it’s what I really love about this championship. A lot of people ask me whether I’m disappointed, but I’ve had nine wins here so to share them around is not a problem. We had a great weekend. What you remember over the winter is how you finished and we finished strong. Congratulations have to go to Gabriele again, and I’m also impressed with Yvan’s team. They come for the first year and that was one hell of an achievement. From my side, I tried everything I could. You saw we didn’t make the best start, Esteban got ahead and I did well to fend off everyone else, and I had to fight JK [Jean-Karl Vernay] for much of the race. As soon as we got on the mountain I could push Esteban, but he just didn’t make enough of a mistake for me to show the nose, but I was there ready, as I’m sure you saw from his rear-view camera. It was a great race, well deserved by Esteban to win. Ultimately he did a great job. With a second and third and a win in Japan, I’m very happy with the ending of our season. Huge thanks to Sébastien Loeb Racing and Volkswagen for the support this year, it’s been amazing what we’ve achieved and probably what we could have achieved, and hopefully we’ll put that together next year.
 
Q:
Norbert, you finished third in Race 3, but after Race 2 your car was in pieces. Just describe what happened to get that car back on track.
 
NM:
It was one of the most difficult days of my career, there was a huge amount of pressure on us. We really wanted to win the championship, both the teams and the drivers and I wanted to be on the grid. The guys did an amazing job because as you said it was in pieces. But they managed to put it together and in the end we managed to finish Race 3. It is not the most important thing that I finished third today, it’s that Gabriele won the championship because I saw through the year he was working so hard for it. He just deserves it. To be at that level, and I also have to say congratulations to Yvan because it is amazing what these guys are doing. You have some moments when you think ‘Ok, I’ve got him’, but then he comes back so strong. If it’s not me, then it’s Gabriele for me who has to win the championship. So happy for that and looking forward to next season.
 
Q:
Yvan, not a fifth world title today, but your team has won from scratch. What is next for you?
 
YM:
First of all, I want to say thank you to my team, and I want to say thank you to Justine. She is the real boss of the team, she pays the bills and for all the damage we are doing, and of course I am very proud of what we have achieved. OK, so I am a four-time world champion as a driver, but finally it was much more easy to be a driver plus a team manager. I am very pleased. Like I said to my boys, I would easily give one of my titles to be a team champion. About my future, I can tell you. You saw two weeks ago the presentation of the Lynk & Co car, they will be in the WTCR next year. I retired in 2016, but apparently I am still fast and Gabriele doesn’t want me to retire so I will be with Lynk & Co for next year.
 
Questions from the floor:
 
Stéphane Barbe (L’Equipe, France):
 
Q:
Gabriele, Yvan said he will be here next year, but will you? Because two titles could be the right time to retire!
 
GT:
To be honest, I don’t know yet. I want to cool down. I’m 56, I’m still quite fast, probably a little bit more clever than when I was younger. This is my third world title, because I won one in karting. I don’t think that I want to stop, so if Hyundai would be pleased to let me continue, probably I will continue.
 
Q:
Gabriele, after the second race, what were you thinking? Did you think the title was slipping away to Yvan?
 
GT:
I won the title in the hardest way, by my mistake. I cannot blame anybody else, it was my mistake in qualifying. Without this it would probably have been easier, but with this mistake starting 14th in the second and third race I knew something could happen during the start, because you can see at Lisboa corner anything can happen. In the second race something happened because I was in a very good position, I overtook two or three cars. Somebody crashed in front of me, but we were stopping in the middle of Lisboa and they destroyed the back of my car. The third race, probably the worst start of my weekend, but I had a little bit more chance to survive in this corner. After the first lap 50% of the job was done. It was quite tough because I had Thed behind me, it was quite hard, but the car was much faster than yesterday because yesterday I had some trouble with my car. It was tough, but it’s even better than if it was easier. 

ENDS