Yann Ehrlacher described the Autodrom Most circuit as a ‘difficult’ and ‘intense’ track after he qualified in third for the FIA World Touring Car Cup’s maiden appearance at the Czech venue.
Kick-starting the second half of the season in Most, reigning champion Ehrlacher sits atop the drivers’ championship standings by a slender two points from Santiago Urrutia.
The Cyan Racing driver eked out that advantage by a further three points on Friday, when he put his Lynk & Co in third on the grid for Sunday’s second race.
The Frenchman was just over a tenth of a second from the pole time set by Zengő Motorsport’s Mikel Azcona, and 0.041 seconds behind Hyundai’s Norbert Michelisz, and he admitted that it had been a challenge to learn the new circuit in a short space of time on the first day of the weekend.
“First of all, congratulations to Mikel and Norbi,” said Ehrlacher. “It’s a new track for the championship and it’s always challenging to come on a new circuit like this having two free practices to set up the car.
“It’s not easy to find a good compromise here. It’s a difficult track – short, but difficult, and we can see that the times are really close between each other, so it will make the races really intense.
“From our side, we just tried to maximise everything in qualifying. Practice was there to set up and learn the track, and then in qualifying, run after run, you start to get used a bit more to the track.
“My Q3 lap was good, almost nothing left even if it wasn’t the perfect lap. But I’m quite pleased to be starting P3, having a good position for both races and a good opportunity to score good points.
Ehrlacher is anticipating that the tight first corner chicane at Most could produce some first-corner dramas in Sunday’s races.
“Anything can happen. The first corner is quite tight, and we all want the same thing, so it can make some mess and a situation we can’t anticipate.
“I will focus on every element of my race car to optimise them and at the end of the weekend we will count the points and just see how it goes to keep that yellow cap [for leading the championship].”