Before the weekend began, questions had been raised over how the latest compensation weight changes would affect the FIA World Touring Car Cup’s leading manufacturers. Well, despite being made heavier, Lynk & Co appear to be even more competitive than they were before.
The Chinese marque’s cars had been subject to a 10kg ballast increase, while main rivals Honda were permitted to shed 30kg of weight instead. It had been expected that this would narrow the gap between the two, however if Saturday’s track action is anything to go by, the gulf in pace since the last event has only increased.
Worryingly for Honda, their main title contender Esteban Guerrieri ended qualifying around 1.7 seconds off the pace of eventual pole-sitter, Santiago Urrutia of Lynk & Co.
As such, the Cyan Racing team who run the Lynk & Co fleet will surely be feeling ultra confident as they seek to assist Yann Ehrlacher in his bid to become an FIA World Champion for the first time.
However, while Ehrlacher may be the one with a championship to play for, it was Urrutia who stole the show on Saturday – just as he had done so at the penultimate round as well.
The latter part of the season has seen a marked upturn in form for the Uruguayan. Arguably, you could say that this Aragón circuit – which has been visited twice now – simply appeals to his driving style, but instead it may be more realistic to suggest that this is just a glimpse of what is to come from him.
South America has produced some of the best touring car talents in recent times, and Urrutia would appear to be the next in line. Last year, he took to the TCR Europe Series like a duck to water having arrived from the vastly different Indy Lights series, and although there has been shaky moments for him this season, he’s now really beginning to establish his authority at the world level of touring car racing.
Naturally, Urrutia was delighted with how today went, having picked up a brace of pole positions.
“Everything went our way today, two pole positions for me and Yvan [Muller] on the reversed grid pole!” he said. “A huge thank you to everyone in the team.
“We’ve got a massive task ahead of ourselves tomorrow and now our focus is on getting ready for that.”
Indeed, the task that lies ahead is to secure not only the drivers’ championship title, but also the teams’ title as well. Cyan Racing are in good stead to achieve both of those goals as it stands, with Ehrlacher’s series lead having been extended to 31 points, while the teams’ advantage over Münnich Motorsport has grown to 62.
“We had a much better qualifying than two weeks ago!” said a relieved Ehrlacher. “We finished P5 for race one and P2 for the main race, so I’m really happy about that.
“The team is on pole in every ‘quali’ so I’m super pleased, and now I’m just looking forward for the races.”
The first race of Ehrlacher’s potential title-winning day is set to begin at 09:15 CEST (08:15 GMT) on Sunday morning.