WTCR Race of Alsace GrandEst Race 2 press conference transcript

WTCR Race of Alsace GrandEst Race 2 press conference transcript

07.08.2022: WTCR Race of Alsace GrandEst, Circuit l’Anneau du Rhin, August 5-7, 2022 WTCR − FIA World Touring Car Cup, Rounds 13 and 14 of 20 Press Conference Room, Circuit l’Anneau du Rhin, August 7



WTCR Race of Alsace GrandEst, Circuit l’Anneau du Rhin, August 5-7, 2022
WTCR − FIA World Touring Car Cup, Rounds 13 and 14 of 20
Press Conference Room, Circuit l’Anneau du Rhin, August 7


In attendance:

Rob Huff (Zengő Motorsport), winner, Race 2
Mehdi Bennani (Comtoyou Team Audi Sport), second position, Race 2
Mikel Azcona (BRC Hyundai N Squadra Corse), third position, Race 2




Rob, you’re flying at the moment. Take us through the race and that incredible start.




Rob Huff (Zengő Motorsport), winner, Race 2


Thank you very much. First of all a huge thanks to the team for giving me a transformed car from Race 1, which gave me everything I needed to win Race 2. Ultimately it came down to the best start I made of the season so far and probably one of the most important starts of the season.


I just got it completely hooked up, got a good launch to get alongside Mehdi and I think he saw me coming so he didn’t try to close the door too much. I knew he was going to try to come behind me quickly to stop Norbi, but we were very fair and the first lap was just about seeing how the car was different because we’d changed it quite a lot. It was about exploring what we had and it took me three or four laps to get into a rhythm.


At that point Mehdi was quicker than me and putting me under pressure, but it was about making sure I had enough of a gap so that he couldn’t have a cheeky look up the inside anywhere. As the race progressed I managed to get a few more tenths each lap and by the end it was seven or eight tenths. That was just enough to give me a bit of comfort. Mehdi was super-fast in Turns 1 and 2. I in the middle sector I was quicker and in the last sector we were pretty even.


I knew I had to really nail the middle sector and get those two or three tenths because he was going to get them back in the first sector and I had to build the margin. It worked out perfectly. I was counting the laps down and praying there wasn’t going to be a safety car or any other interference. It all worked out. I’m super, super chuffed.




You weren’t expecting that at the start of the season. I guess you’re very proud of your team…



Rob Huff (Zengő Motorsport), winner, Race 2


Yeah. We’re massively punching above our weight. One week before the season started we didn’t think we were going to be racing. We did a day-and-a-half of testing and that’s all we’ve had this year. To be able to put in the results we’re putting in and getting the performances we’re getting is because of a team that’s totally glued together. It’s super-tight, super-motivated and there’s just no pressure.


There were no expectations on us pre-season so to be where we are feels like we’re on the flying carpet and enjoying every moment. The job now is to push Mikel for the rest of the season. We don’t want to make it too easy for him. It’s exciting because Race 1 happens and we lose some points and then we gain them back in Race 2.



I don’t think either of us has made a mistake this year. We’ve both finished every race in the points and that’s what it’s about. Ultimately we have to wait for the end of the season to see what’s going to happen, but we’ll keep pushing.





Mathematically you can dream of the world title…



Rob Huff (Zengő Motorsport), winner, Race 2


We never had much time to think about it before the season and we’re just taking each race as it comes. We’re very much surviving on the reverse-grid races at the moment but that’s bringing in the points. We’re still scoring in Race 1 as well so that’s all good.


If we finish in the top three of the standings, it will be a dream come true for the team and something that’s totally unexpected by not just the team, but everyone else on the grid, I think. Hats off to the team for giving me a car I can perform in.






Mehdi; second. You were poleman for this race. Take us through your start.



Mehdi Bennani (Comtoyou Team Audi Sport), second position, Race 2


Congratulations to Rob. He made a fantastic start. When you hear him speaking like this; ‘two tenths after two laps…’ From the inside I can tell you it’s not easy. We were both pushing to the limit of our cars. We had to manage the tyres.


I think if he had made one or two mistakes then I would have been on his inside. I think it’s nice and for me it’s good to come back to the WTCR this year and be at these famous and worldwide drivers and to fight with them. I’ve had some bad luck, but finally I now have my first podium finish of the year so I’m more than happy.






People said this circuit would not suit Audi, but after the win in Race 1 and now your podium in Race 2, you’ve proven everyone wrong. What did you do with the car?




Mehdi Bennani (Comtoyou Team Audi Sport), second position, Race 2


I think we changed the car in almost every session because we know this tricky circuit is not good for our car. In the end we found some things to have more rotation with the rear of the car and it worked.


It didn’t work enough because I don’t have the victory against Huffy, but I’m happy for him because I’ve shared a lot of time with him. But he’s a world champion driver so we can’t forget that.





What does the next few weeks look like?



Mehdi Bennani (Comtoyou Team Audi Sport), second position, Race 2

I want to spend some time with my family because the weather is very nice in Morocco in the summer. Also we need to focus on what will happen for the next races.







Mikel Azcona; what a fight.



Mikel Azcona (BRC Hyundai N Squadra Corse), third position, Race 2



It was a very intense race. First of all congratulations to Rob. It was intense fighting against the Audi of Gilles [Magnus]. In the middle sector I was a bit quicker and on the straights he was quicker. I tried the move but this track is very difficult and I didn’t really see the space [to pass], so I thought ‘let’s wait and see’. The next laps I saw he was struggling with the front tyres and I saw the space at Turn Six.


It was a close battle and I lost the position again. He was attacking hard in Turn 14 and I got him in Turn One and braking for Turn Two. I’m very happy with the result. I think it’s been a fantastic weekend for everybody at the BRC team for the points. The car was very good and obviously thanks to Norbi [Michelisz] because he did a very good team job today. He was in front but he needed to help me a little bit. Thanks to him.




You’re still the Goodyear #FollowTheLeader, but it’s still close. How do you feel about the races to come?



Mikel Azcona (BRC Hyundai N Squadra Corse), third position, Race 2



It’s very intense. We saw Rob [Huff] having good results and making two victories in Portugal and here so you cannot sleep because if you sleep for one weekend you get out from #FollowTheLeader, so you need to concentrate, not make any mistakes and finish in the top positions.


That’s not easy because we saw already the fights this weekend. I’m happy to keep first position in the #followtheleader and it’s looking good for the summer break. It’s a bit more time to relax and to prepare for the next weekends. It’s incredible to lead at this point of the year.







 Richard Rodgers, photos WTCR
    

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07.08.2022 / MaP

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