After a tricky start to the year, Santiago Urrutia has blossomed into one of the most exciting drivers on the FIA World Touring Car Cup (WTCR) grid. However, this latest chapter of his career very nearly didn’t materialise at all…
In 2019, Urrutia transitioned from the open-wheel Indy Lights series to TCR Europe, campaigning an Audi RS3 with Team WRT which he took all the way to third in the overall standings.
But when the Belgian outfit pulled out of touring car racing for 2020, Urrutia was left with nowhere else to go, that is, until Andy Priaulx announced that he would be leaving Cyan Racing.
Having impressed in the European series, Urrutia was invited to Sweden to face-off against a handful of other potential new recruits in the hope of sealing a drive.
Nearly a year down the line, the young Uruguayan ends the weekend as a WTCR race winner, finishing 2020 as the sixth-best placed driver in the overall championship standings.
“Yeah, to be honest, to finish the season with a win is awesome,” Urrutia said. “But I have to look back a little bit.
“I was in America with nothing when I received a call from the team. Then we had a test at Anderstorp and they decided finally to sign me, so I became a professional driver for the first time. They gave me the chance and believed in me, even if they didn’t really know who I was.
“They trusted in my talent and we win the championship with Yann [Ehrlacher] and we win the championship with Cyan, so it was not just a good year for me but for the whole team.
“First of all I have to say thank you to Cyan, without them I wouldn’t be here taking this win today. And about today, all I can say is I got a good start, then I knew I had Yann behind and he was already champion. He was probably a little bit quicker than me, but he stayed behind me so thank you to Yann.
“For me this was a season to learn, to understand the championship. To race with the best drivers in the world is not easy, sometimes it is very hard, you need to be really 100% on every weekend if you want to fight and win races.
“This is just the first season I hope of many, now we go to Uruguay tomorrow to enjoy a bit of time and the summer holidays, and I hope I can come back next year to fight with my team for more.”