WTCR - WTCR Race of Spain Race 1 press conference | Federation Internationale de l'Automobile

WTCR - WTCR Race of Spain Race 1 press conference

26.06.22

In attendance:Gilles Magnus (Comtoyou Team Audi Sport), winnerRob Huff (Zengő Motorsport), second positionNathanaël Berthon (Comtoyou DHL Team Audi Sport), third positionMikel Azcona (BRC Hyundai N Squadra Corse), top Spanish driverQ:Gilles, you’re now P2 in the WTCR standings, after a faultless qualifying, a faultless race and a really deserved win.GM:Yes, this guy next to me did not make it easy. He was really quick, I was not allowed to make any mistakes and then in the end on the last lap I had a fuel cut, I don’t know whether this was broadcast. I said on the radio I was going crazy, my heart rate went up. But in the end we managed to bring it home and finally got this real victory, starting from pole and winning the race. I’m so happy, a lo of points for the championship as well.Q:Your heart must have been in your mouth when you race like that with someone sitting on your tail the entire race.GM:Yeah. We should have made a deal before the race because he could have just let me win without putting on the pressure for 16 laps! I just lost three years of my life! But OK, it was nice for the fans. I’m so happy.Q:You don’t make it easy for them, do you Rob?RH:What a mega race. I’ve been really concentrating on starts and David, my data engineer, I think we’ve finally found something that works really well and that allowed me to jump Nath at the start and then I just got a really good run around T1. I think there was a bit of bumping in front and Yann just lost a bit and I managed to get up the inside of him. Obviously I had the inside up through Turn 3 and you don’t really want to be on the outside there. I kept my foot in and got up to second, then chased junior all the way.Q:It looked like you had the tyres, but did they start to drop off?RH:I think we had a bit more pace than Gilles, but when you are following it is so hard and you’ve got these tyre stacks. We are using every last centimetre up to the tyre stacks. You are seeing wing mirrors popping off and so on. And when you are following so closely you’ve got to try and judge it and the last thing you want to do when you are second in that race is throw it into the tyres. You’ve got to leave some margin, but we definitely had a bit more pace. He did a couple of very small mistakes that allowed me at the hairpin a couple of times to almost get alongside. I had a good run out of the chicane on to the back straight on one lap, but he was just a little bit quicker when you get halfway down the straight, so he just got back in front again. But it was just a great race, the second great race for me. Two second places now, that first win can’t be too far away.Q:You were watching where his strengths and weaknesses were all the time, Is that what it’s like?RH:Yes, of course, you just try to be as calculated as possible and look after the tyres as much as possible. You have a small window to use the tyres at their peak performance, and you can cool them down and go again, cool them down and go again. You’ve got to pick your chances and you probably saw me drop back a little bit and gain again. But when you get so close everything starts to get hot, the engine starts to suffer. But it was a thoroughly enjoyable race.Q:Nath, frustrating start and then Azcona was not making it easy for you, was he?NB:Yeah, we both didn’t make a good start I would say and I wanted to be very careful. It was tough.Q:Just how tough is it in the heat out there?NB:It’s always hot in the Audi. I think it’s the same for everybody but we have no air in the car. Actually I think it’s good for a slimmer body, but it’s long.Q:Mikel, it seems that yesterday’s strategy paid off very nicely.MA:Yes, thank you very much. First of all, congrats to these quick guys, they were super-fast. But that was a very good race coming from P8 to P4. I’m very happy, good points. The start was the key. I was able in the first laps to take some positions from the battles in front of me, so that was the key of the race. Then from this point with new tyres at the beginning the car was working very good. I pushed at the beginning using the new tyres. I tried sometimes with Berthon but he was driving very good and he was on the limit and in the end I didn’t want to make any crazy things. I was looking for the mistake honestly, he was perfect and did only one mistake at the hairpin. For the championship I’m starting P3 for the second race, so no stress.QUESTIONS FROM THE FLOOR/ONLINE:Q: Damien Smith, Autosport (UK)What happened at the start with Yann Ehrlacher?NB:We just had a difference overtaking, I think two or three times it was really fair. So I passed him, he passed me back, as usual I would say because I like fair battles. Then he did a mistake in T3, you saw it, he lost the rear so I was able to really catch him and honestly I took my chance. I saw I was on the inside and you know when you are in the braking phase you are at the limit. And Yann took his corner and there was no space I would say. So we had a little touch. I’m sorry he lost a position because it was absolutely not what I had in my mind, but to be honest I had no room. I think it’s racing and I’m still happy to be P3.