WTCR VTB Race of Russia WTCR title winners' virtual press

WTCR VTB Race of Russia WTCR title winners' virtual press

28.11.2021: The four WTCR title winners** took part in a virtual press conference following Race 2 at WTCR VTB Race of Russia. WTCR VTB Race of Russia, Sochi Autodrom, November 26-28, 2021 WTCR − FIA World Touring Car Cup, rounds 15 and 16 of 16 Sochi A


The four WTCR title winners** took part in a virtual press conference following Race 2 at WTCR VTB Race of Russia.


WTCR VTB Race of Russia, Sochi Autodrom, November 26-28, 2021
WTCR − FIA World Touring Car Cup, rounds 15 and 16 of 16
Sochi Autodrom, November 28, 2021



In attendance:


Fredrik Wahlén (Team Principal, Cyan Racing Lynk & Co)
Yann Ehrlacher (Cyan Racing Lynk & Co), King of WTCR**
Luca Engstler (Engstler Hyundai N Liqui Moly Racing Team), FIA WTCR Junior Title winner**
Gilles Magnus (Comtoyou Team Audi Sport), WTCR Trophy winner




Fredrik, here you are yet again and what a season it has been. It is such a deserved title.



Fredrik Wahlén (Team Principal, Cyan Racing Lynk & Co)


Thank you. It has been a really difficult season. I think we started in tough conditions and when we finally got the golden band on the car we never let go. I’m really happy for the team and it was a real team win, I must say.




This season felt like the hardest win. Was that the case from your perspective?



Fredrik Wahlén (Team Principal, Cyan Racing Lynk & Co)


Yeah, absolutely. The competition was super-hard with a lot of new cars coming and great teams. It was really tough from the start and we had to fight enormously for it. Yeah, really tough.





Last season you set a precedent and said this is how the team works, because you work so well as a team and everyone else seemed to follow suit a bit more and put the pressure on.



Fredrik Wahlén (Team Principal, Cyan Racing Lynk & Co)

I don’t know about that, but we work in a certain way and we constantly try to improve. The better work we do the better we can perform on track, so it’s just coming prepared. That’s what we’ve done this season as well, and we came away with this.





How proud are you of your boys?


Fredrik Wahlén (Team Principal, Cyan Racing Lynk & Co)

Super-proud. I think I have an amazing team and to have Yann as one of the drivers and to see him here for the second time is an amazing feeling. I’m super-happy for all the team and super-happy for Yann.






At what stage of the year did you feel the title hope was in Yann’s hands?



Fredrik Wahlén (Team Principal, Cyan Racing Lynk & Co)


Ten minutes ago! You can never count on anything. We were lucky in race one securing it but it could easily have gone into the second race. Coming here we were not certain.


We had a good run in Adria, so for sure coming here in the lead is always nicer than chasing it, but I must say the competition this year has been super-hard. I didn’t take it for granted until the chequered flag was dropped.






Through those races it showed that an element of luck comes into it, doesn’t it?


Fredrik Wahlén (Team Principal, Cyan Racing Lynk & Co)


Yeah, absolutely. You need to be a little bit lucky, for sure. But looking at Yann he hasn’t had a single DNF this year. I think that stands out and that’s why we’re here with the trophy again.





Yann, here we are again for a second time. How old are you?


Yann Ehrlacher (Cyan Racing Lynk & Co), King of WTCR**


Twenty-five.




My goodness. Do you know of any others who have got an FIA title at the age of 25?


Yann Ehrlacher (Cyan Racing Lynk & Co), King of WTCR**


To be honest, no, I don’t know any actually, but maybe I need to look a little bit deeper.






I know you are always cool, calm and collected and that you say you are never thinking of the title. But that can’t actually be a true story…



Yann Ehrlacher (Cyan Racing Lynk & Co), King of WTCR**



It’s half way to a true story. First of all I want to congratulate the two gents next to me and Frederic as well. Behind us, there are plenty of guys and girls to make us perform and to be honest when you see the amount of energy they spend to provide us with the best package they can when we arrive at the race weekend it just gives us wings, we are thinking about racing every single day.


Maybe we will have fun tonight and tomorrow we will have a rest. Then on Tuesday we will start thinking about 2022 and that is why this team is so good. We are all in and they live for this. That as a driver is the most amazing feeling you can have when you feel pushed by your team like this. A big thanks and all down to the workshop in Sweden as well and in China as well that give us a big support.


Now I forget your initial question, but I would be pleased if you can tell me again. No, I remember! It’s half way the truth that I don’t think about the championship because for sure when you start to go further into the season you have the yellow banner on the car and you say ah, I want to keep that until the end. It’s nice to have it from rounds five and six but you want to have it at the end.


I don’t have a lot of experience. OK, I started racing at eight years, so it’s a lot, but compared to other drivers in the field it’s not. You realise it is better to take it race by race and optimise your chances so you don’t get the pressure from that.





Do you feel like you have a different head on your shoulders, even from last year? Can you see the development in yourself over the last few years?


Yann Ehrlacher (Cyan Racing Lynk & Co), King of WTCR**



Yes, because to be honest when I joined the championship I was, OK, a bit younger and had less experience. And getting experience helps to be a bit more straight mentally. But maybe this year was even another step compared to last year because OK, last year was the first time.


When you go after being champion to restart from zero again at the beginning it was a bit difficult for me, to be honest. And then we catch that back to be here. But in the end where I made the biggest improvement was mentally I think because driving at a certain level we can all drive quick, but it’s just the way the manage the pressure through the season.


I felt it was more challenging than last year, so it was a tough one and I’m sure I will get out from this a bit stronger.






Luca, when we spoke at Pau-Arnos you said it’s been such a difficult year. Yet here you are. Congratulations.



Luca Engstler (Engstler Hyundai N Liqui Moly Racing Team), FIA WTCR Junior Title winner**


Thanks a lot. First of all, congrats to Yann. I have to say guys like Gabriele and Yvan have been a big ideal to watch, but now seeing what he has done in the past two years is massive. I don’t think because there are not many people speaking about BoP and everything, but he was doing the best job in the past two years and for that honestly I want to take my hat off.


It was a massive season and obviously I want to follow in his footsteps. That sounds a bit bad because I’m only four years younger but there is definitely a lot to learn from him. Also congrats to Gilles. Like you were saying we kicked off amazingly at the Nordschleife with a great start, but I had to understand early where to be and obviously it has been a tough season.


I made some mistakes, the team made some mistakes, but at the end of the day at a level like this there is no room for a small mistake. It’s been a tough one, but to at least secure this title next to TCR Germany I think is a good end to the year.





What have you learnt about yourself this season?


Luca Engstler (Engstler Hyundai N Liqui Moly Racing Team), FIA WTCR Junior Title winner**


Well I think I learnt that racing is not only about doing some fast laps. There’s a big package you need to take care of and probably 80% of the performance is done in the winter or decided then. That’s very important to learn and understand, and then obviously to bring it together like, for example, Yann was doing perfectly this year.





Consistency from every area?


Luca Engstler (Engstler Hyundai N Liqui Moly Racing Team), FIA WTCR Junior Title winner**


For sure, yeah. To know when to take risk and when to be careful. For example now in the second race they came on the radio to say if we finish like this you win the title, so obviously I was not feeling very comfortable to attack.


But I was very close to the guys ahead. I saw Yann, I saw the podium ahead and I felt we had great pace in the car, but it was the time to take care and secure the title to at least have one back in the factory for Hyundai.





Gilles, you are mister consistent. Last year you won rookie of the year and here you are having won the WTCR Trophy. But today has not been easy. Talk us through your season and today.



Gilles Magnus (Comtoyou Team Audi Sport), WTCR Trophy winner




Let me start, I know it’s starting to be a cliché and I think Yann has had enough compliments these past two years, but still – it’s deserved. These guys are on another level and we need to accep that and we need to learn from them. But also Yann personally has done a great job and it’s great to see three of the youngest guys in the championship sitting here.


Winning two titles at 25 years old is impressive, so big congrats, it’s well deserved. About my season, I think we’ve had a lot of ups and downs, we’ve had quite a few DNFs or last-row starts due to technical issues or problems in qualifying. I think this costs us the possibility to even fight for the championship because at a certain point we were in the fight.

Ending the season like this, I think I was leading all the year the junior title and to end like this I think I had 24 points advantage before the race and I just had to finish. Bad luck and contact with some other driver, which was not my mistake obviously… and missing out on this title with one point is painful but I think we should not focus too much on that.


My performance has been good this year, the team and Audi Sport has seen that. I’ve helped my team-mate as much as I could the last few races, so I think it’s positive. I think I can be happy and I will sleep very well tonight. And obviously congrats to Luca. Consistency paid off so I can only congratulate you.





What can you do to be in Fred’s shoes?



Gilles Magnus (Comtoyou Team Audi Sport), WTCR Trophy winner



I think a big part of that is experience. If you just look at the pace most of the time I’m there. OK, I’ve had a little bit of bad luck, but it’s not only bad luck. I have to be honest about that, it’s experience and making the right decisions at the right moment.


This is something Fred is doing very well due to his experience and age, and I think I have improved a lot on that during this season. For sure I can learn a lot from Fred and this is good for the future. I will be as good as him one day.





Yann, what will you do to celebrate now?



Yann Ehrlacher (Cyan Racing Lynk & Co), King of WTCR**


To be honest, I don’t know. We will have a good night. But I’m starting my second season next weekend, the ice racing. So no rest!


Tomorrow my mind will turn to that and fully focused, so not too much partying for me tonight. But tonight we will enjoy with the team because it is a lot of pressure we will release. But from tomorrow on I will really be focused on the next goal.





Richard Rodgers, photos WTCR


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28.11.2021 / MaP

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