Thed Björk and Yann Ehrlacher have clarified the situation regarding their lead swaps in the final FIA World Touring Car Cup race at Zandvoort, with Björk putting it down to an erroneous belief in Ehrlacher having a penalty.
At the start Ehrlacher immediately moved to cover Björk, but the Swede was already alongside and light contact was made between the Cyan Racing pair.
Björk then led into turn one, but the team believed Ehrlacher was going to get a penalty and thus instructed the Swede to allow his team-mate past on lap three so that the Frenchman could build up a margin over the field.
When it was realised there was no penalty, the team instructed Ehrlacher to give the place back, prompting an impassioned radio call from the young Frenchman complaining about that decision.
In the end, Björk won the race, taking his third win of the year whilst Ehrlacher finished in second.
“The start was pretty clear – we race to the first corner and if I have the line and I am faster we have to race for it,” said Björk to TouringCars.Net. “Yann didn’t want to do that; he wanted to win.
“He’s young and he is a race driver. I am the same. You always have to think about the bigger picture. But you have to understand that I beat him off the line.
“The problem is that the team thought he got a drive-through, so they wanted him to get a gap, probably to get some positions.
“I don’t know how the field was looking and the team said to me ‘Yann has a drive-through, let him go’.
“When you’re leading a race, you want to win the race. You have to adapt to the situation and swap back. There was no drive-through – I think he got a warning for it.”
“He was so emotional – he wanted it.”
Ehrlacher thought carefully about his response when pressed by TouringCars.Net on the discussions he had with the team during the race.
“At the start I respected the [starting] procedure,” said Ehrlacher. “I don’t know what was wrong with my procedure, but I picked up a lot of wheelspin.
“I have had a bit of a lack of power since the beginning of the weekend; it was the case as well in Marrakech. It’s no-one’s fault – it’s just luck – but Thed had a better go than me at the start so he deserved the win.
“There was a lot of discussion during the race definitely, but when you are hot in the car you don’t think the same as when you step out.
“I’m really pleased that Thed won the race and that I scored another podium and that we scored another 1-2 for Lynk & Co.”
“I’m also pleased that I can climb back into the top ten in the championship. I will definitely look forward to getting a first victory this year.”