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Santiago Urrutia ‘super happy’ to claim podium on Cyan Racing début

Santiago Urrutia was ‘super happy’ to claim a maiden podium on his début in the FIA World Touring Car Cup, after following home Cyan Racing team-mates Yann Ehrlacher and Yvan Muller in race two at Zolder.

Urrutia had already proven his potential in qualifying on Saturday, when the Uruguayan out-qualified four-time world champion Muller in the all-important Q3 session.

That gave Urrutia fourth on the grid for Sunday’s second race, and from there he immediately sought to attack at the start of the race.

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Urrutia attempted to pass Ehrlacher through the first few turns, but backed out and was passed by team-mate Muller at the first chicane.

From there, Urrutia held position and moved up into third when early race leader Nathanaël Berthon was given a drive-through penalty for a false start.

The WTCR rookie was pleased to be able to show he was able to challenge and keep pace with his more experienced team-mates.

“It was already [a good feeling] after qualifying when I made it to Q3,” said Urrutia. “You know, I would not be here if the people who believe in me had not put me in the car.

“It was a big opportunity, but at the same time it was like a big pressure to be with team-mates who have won world titles and Yann, who is super-quick and has been in the series for a few years. So I had to be right with them.

“We didn’t have proper pre-season testing; we only did a few tests. But from the first day I joined the team I have felt I am at home. It was easy to work with them, with the mechanics, the engineers.

“For me, I cannot be more happy than what I am. I just joined the team two months ago and we did a 1-2-3 and are leading the championship, so it’s great for me.

Urrutia also praised the support provided by team-mate Muller, who has helped him to set up his Lynk & Co 03 TCR car.

“It makes it easy when you have a four-time world champion next to you and you have a question, and you watch the data and video, and he can help you. That’s what we did in the pre-season.

“It’s just the first race. People say it’s a short season, but at the end of the day it’s still 18 races. We’ve got to be right there in all the races, the competition is super-tough.

“All the cars are pretty much on the same pace. We are probably a little bit better in qualifying but by the time we get to the race we don’t have the better pace.

“So we need to work on this and we have a long championship ahead. For the moment I’m super-happy.”

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