Yvan Muller admits that he was surprised with his pace in the opening FIA World Touring Car Cup (WTCR) race on the Nürburgring Nordschleife, in which he held off team-mate Thed Björk for victory.
Muller got the jump on pole-sitter Björk at the start of the race and led into Turn 1, with the Frenchman then leading for the rest of the three-lap race.
Whilst Björk, Rob Huff and Norbert Michelisz were never far behind, four-time WTCC champion Muller was able to hold them all at bay to claim his first race win since October 2016.
“For sure if there is one race to win it’s probably this one,” said Muller. “It was fantastic already after qualifying. I was surprised with my pace – I did more than what I thought I would be able to give.
“In the race I got a good start, I tried to manage and keep Thed behind. But with this long straight it’s never done until the end of the last straight. Then it was the victory [at the end].”
Muller admits that he did think about letting Björk past, considering his role as the Team Principal, but in the end was completely focussed on his own race.
“Yeah of course [I thought about letting Björk pass] but when I am in this car on this track I have to be focused. This weekend is a busy weekend for the team because I have the ELMS at Spa and the GT at Pau and we are here.
“I have three programmes on the same day, so I have to do meetings on video conference during the day to think about the processes. But today they left me quiet and did the job on their own.”
Muller will return to the track late on Friday afternoon when he takes part in the second qualifying session to decide the grid for Saturday’s second and third races.