Team WRT’s Santiago Urrutia believes he is “improving every weekend” after securing his maiden TCR Europe podium in the opening race at the Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps.
The Uruguayan racer qualified second for the first contest, with fellow Audi runner and eventual race-winner Gilles Magnus on pole.
Urrutia followed Magnus at the start, and pressurised the Belgian at his home race, with Urrutia’s biggest challenge coming on lap five when he made a late dive down the inside at La Source.
He went in deep, locked both front tyres and Magnus was able to cut back and regain the position on the exit of the corner.
Urrutia was unable to challenge for the win thereafter, but was pleased to finish second, telling TouringCars.Net he was happy to feel improvements having jumped to fourth in the championship standings.
“The team has done a really good job, we’ve been quick all weekend, and Maxime [Potty] finished on the podium in his home race weekend,” said Urrutia.
“We finished second and I thought the only place I could pass him was in turn one, other than that I was quicker than him on the straights because of the tow but other than that getting off the corners pretty much everywhere he was a bit better than me.
“But I’m very happy because we gained a lot of points in the championship, and it’s my first podium so it makes me happy. For me and for the team they have been working really hard.
“We’re going in the right way, we’re working and we improve every weekend which is great for me, and I’m really happy about my first podium.”
Urrutia admitted his attempted move into La Source was overambitious, but was glad he tried to overtake Magnus, who he credited for driving a strong race with zero errors.
“Honestly it was just somewhere where I thought ‘OK, I’m going to try it.’ I saw he braked a little bit early so I just said let’s do it and definitely it was too much,” he explained.
“But I tried and as I said it was the only place that I could try to pass him.
“The tyres were OK, but at least I tried it didn’t happen. Honestly he did a really good race, no mistakes from the start to the end.
“From the start to the chequer he was really quick, no mistakes for him, he deserved it. And it’s his home race so good for him.”
With Urrutia’s plentiful single-seater success, he admitted he was not expecting to be in the podium in TCR Europe so soon because making the switch to heavier, front-wheel drive machinery has taken some adaptation.
“I didn’t expect to be in the podium so soon, but that’s exactly why I came here, it’s my job and I have no excuses,” he said.
“In the end nobody cares if I have won races in different Formulas or in GTs, I need to do well, I need to win races and bring good results to the team.
“That’s what I’m here for so I’m very happy about the way I’m getting better and better, and the team has helped me a lot. It will be good if we continue in this way and we keep having podiums and everything. Let’s see what we can do tomorrow.”
The second race for TCR Europe at Spa-Francorchamps is set to get underway tomorrow at 12:00 CEST [11:00 BST].