Yann Ehrlacher was left ‘extremely disappointed’ after taking home just two points in the FIA World Touring Car Cup (WTCR) races in Japan, following contact from rivals and a mechanical failure.
Ehrlacher was knocked out of the first race of the weekend by Gordon Shedden at the fast 130R corner, with the Münnich Motorsport driver ending up in the gravel and out of the race.
No action was taken by the stewards, other than an investigation into the incident, leaving Ehrlacher frustrated with a non-score.
“That was a hugely frustrating race,” said Ehrlacher of his opening encounter. “I started on old tyres so I could keep my new rubber for my second-row start tomorrow, and lost a place on the first lap.
“Then [Frédéric] Vervisch cut the chicane completely and pushed me straight off into the gravel on the exit. It’s not the first time he’s done that kind of thing and it cost me more time and damaged my tyres.
“Then I lost six places with contact from another car and eventually my race ended after the first safety-car period when I had more contact from behind.”
Race two saw the Frenchman claim ninth, having been handed a five-place grid penalty before the race for rejoning the circuit in Saturday’s first race in an unsafe manner.
He was then running in a strong fourth place in the final race of the weekend before being forced into retirement when his Honda Civic picked up an issue.
It means that the erstwhile points leader has slipped to 11th overall in the drivers’ standings, 109 points from the top of the table having once been the leader after the 12th race of the year at Zandvoort.
“The handling of the Honda was very good and after I went up from fourth to second at the start of race three, I was confident of finishing on the podium for the first time since Zandvoort.
“Unfortunately, I lost the power and had to stop, but that’s motorsport and that can happen.
“It was especially disappointing because the guys have worked so hard to improve the car from FP1, but unfortunately the results just didn’t come our way this weekend.”