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Santiago Urrutia believes he has the pace to win opening Spa contest

Team WRT’s Santiago Urrutia believes he has the pace to take victory from second on the grid in the opening TCR Europe contest at the Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps.

The Uruguayan racer qualified just over half a tenth adrift of polesitter Gilles Magnus to make it an Audi 1-2 for race one at the Belgian circuit.

Urrutia told TouringCars.Net that he felt he had the pace for pole, but lost out on receiving the draft from team-mate Maxime Potty after he spun his Volkswagen on his fast lap.

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“It was good, Magnus put it on pole. We had the pace for pole, we worked with the team for a tow but Max [Potty] spun on his quick lap so I lost all the tow for sector three,” said Urrutia.

“Otherwise we were strong, we put all three cars in the top five so the Audi is looking good.

Let’s see what we can do in the race, with the tow and everything it’s going to be a close one.”

The Indy Lights winner has admitted adapting from his ample single-seater experience to front-wheel drive touring cars has been challenging, but feels he is improving each weekend, hoping for a podium in the pair of races at Spa.

“I’ll be happy with a podium, we’ve been strong, I’m learning about this new series and the front traction and everything,” he said.

“It’s going pretty well, every weekend is getting better. If we get a podium today I’ll be happy.”

He also feels he has had to adapt to the change of approach to racing, describing the need to be aggressive to be successful in TCR Europe.

“Races are so aggressive here, there’s a lot of contact. But it’s fair enough, that’s the way to do it,” Urrutia explains.

“I learnt in Hockenheim that if you don’t race like that then you don’t go fast, so that’s the way to do it.

“Of course from my point of view, qualifying is like 80 or 90 per cent of the weekend so getting four points already from qualifying is great.

“We have to manage the start because I made mistakes there in Hockenheim in both races. I tested the start at the shop a week ago so if I get a good start then it’s going to be a good race.

“I have the pace to win so let’s see what we can do.”

The opening race of the weekend is scheduled to get underway at 12:50 CEST [11:50 BST].

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