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Muller pleased with podium as Ehrlacher plays down title chances

The opening World Touring Car Cup (WTCR) race at the Nürburgring turned out to be yet another successful venture for the Cyan Racing Lynk & Co team, with Yvan Muller and Yann Ehrlacher both finishing on the podium. 

Yvan Muller started the reversed-grid race from pole position after being classified tenth in qualifying, but come race day he had no defence against the Münnich Motorsport Honda of Esteban Guerrieri which would go on to claim victory.

Nevertheless, second position was an unexpectedly positive result for the veteran Frenchman. After all, Muller had initially only been eleventh quickest in qualifying, but was promoted to that all-important tenth spot following the disqualification of his Cyan Racing stablemate, Santiago Urrutia.

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“I did a pretty good start and my lap on the GP track was OK,” Muller reflected, when asked about how his race went. “But I had to be cautious on the Nordschleife because it was the first time on a wet track this year, so I wanted to be cautious.

“He [Guerrieri] used the opportunity to brake a bit later than me. I was a bit too cautious, but anyway he was a bit faster than me so there was nothing I could do.

“But I am pleased with the second place. It was a bit unexpected after yesterday.”

Muller was honest and upfront when explaining the reasons for his sub-par performance in the previous day’s running, saying: “Unfortunately I was not good enough. I was not in it and that was my fault.

“The second lap I had an expectation to improve my lap, but it was far too dark and my lights were not good enough. I had to lift off at one stage because it was impossible.”

But while Muller cast a cautious figure on the circuit, Yann Ehrlacher cast himself as such when in the press room instead.

With another significant points haul to his name, Ehrlacher currently stands as the championship points leader with an 11-point margin over Néstor Girolami in second.

His early season form has marked him out as a potential favourite for the title, but as far as Ehrlacher’s concerned, there’s no point even considering championship outcomes just yet.

“It’s race three out of sixteen,” he said. “It’s still a long way. I will take the races as they come and I will not look at the championship yet, it’s far too early.

“It was a really good race [today], we had some nice fights, not easy in those conditions and I had a really fair battle with Tom [Coronel], side by side for a few corners and [it was] really fair.

“And then at the end I was closing the gap on Thed [Björk] and he let me by, so thanks to him I got the third place and we are on the podium from P6, so that’s a good result and a good day.”

However they wish to play their cards, the team will have an early start tomorrow as the final race at the Nürburgring gets underway at 09:00 BST (10:00 CEST).

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