Benjamin Leuchter was ‘over the moon’ to claim his first win in the FIA World Touring Car Cup on the Nürburgring Nordschleife on Saturday, after he had ‘almost grown up’ at the legendary circuit.
Leuchter is one of the most experienced drivers on the 25.4 km infamous circuit, having clocked up more than 1,000 laps of the circuit by 2013.
The Volkswagen driver had on Thursday claimed pole position for the main race of the day on Saturday, and at the start he momentarily lost the lead to the Honda of Esteban Guerrieri.
But Leuchter re-took first a few corners later and despite a second attempt by Guerrieri to take the lead at the end of the lap, he did not have to defend beyond that to take a first win.
“I am so happy, over the moon,” said Leuchter. “This is the racing I love and what I was searching for, with the world’s best touring car drivers on this track.
“To be honest, the race was one of the best of my life. It was on the edge with Esteban twice on the first lap, after the start first and then at the very last corner second.
“It was awesome, I really wanted to win, so I pushed really hard.”
Leuchter has been racing on the circuit for over a decade and says that taking his first win on a circuit which he can so easily connect with is especially important to him.
“I’ve connected my whole life to this track. To be honest, I almost grew up here. When I was first racing in 2008 I won my first ever race on this track.
“To be here now racing against the best touring car drivers in the world and to win the main race here means so much to me.
“Thanks to all the guys who made this happen to put me into this World Touring Car Cup, thanks to my whole family and everybody who has supported me through my whole life.
“I’m just so, so happy.”
Victory for the 31-year-old moves him up to 13th in the drivers’ championship standings and also makes Leuchter the best-placed Volkswagen driver.