Yann Ehrlacher promises to ‘go for it big time’ in WTCR finale

The penultimate round of the FIA World Touring Car Cup could hardly have gone any better for Yann Ehrlacher. The reigning champion successfully stayed out of trouble in race one, before converting pole position to victory in race two. 

Plus, with his nearest rival Jean-Karl Vernay enduring rotten luck, the Frenchman’s lead in the standings has now been extended to 35 points over Audi’s Frederic Vervisch, with just 60 up for grabs at the final round in Russia. 

As far as Ehrlacher is concerned, the stellar form which he and Cyan Racing showed this weekend at Adria Raceway couldn’t have come at a better time.

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“The weekend started well with the pole position. The lap was good in Q1, and the lap was very good in Q3, so I think the timing was quite alright to put that together now as we get closer to the end,” he said.

“I had a difficult race one, but starting at the back we could have expected that. To be honest I didn’t want to take any risks because it was a bit of a mess in the pack, so I didn’t want to risk anything there. My focus was on race two.”

But, in order to convert pole position to a lead in race two, Ehrlacher was reliant on a bit of ingenuity from his engineers. 

“We have been struggling for a few weekends with the start,” he explained. “But the team worked really late last night to provide us with a new system that we had to adapt to, after doing the same thing for two years. 

“That was definitely not easy, so a big thanks to them because they saved us today. The getaway was good, I managed to lead at the start into T1, and then I just had to create some distance in the first few laps and bring it home. 

“So I’m really pleased about that, and I can’t thank the team enough for providing me with such a good car. I’m really pleased with the work we are doing altogether.”

Indeed, Cyan Racing have been the class of the field when it has counted the most in the latter stages of this season. Even though the Lynk & Co 03 TCR is a proven car, Ehrlacher remains in awe of Cyan’s ability to tailor it perfectly for every circuit that they encounter.

“Despite the fact we know the car quite well, there are always things you need to adapt for each track,” he said. “We have to do it quick and with not a lot of information. So when you get a car like this and the chance to be in such a good team, you have to pay respect to everyone. 

“There are people back at the factory who are working on the project as well, so it was important [to thank everyone on the radio after winning race two].”

With Adria successfully dealt with, only Sochi and the WTCR Race of Russia remains on the 2021 FIA World Touring Car Cup calendar. Although Ehrlacher has minimal knowledge of the circuit, he is confident that his experience as reigning champion will serve him well heading into the finale.

“To be honest, I don’t know much [about Sochi],” he confessed. “But it’s a track which has a long straight and that’s the main topic of that track. 

“There are quick corners where our car is quite good, and then the straights are where we’re a bit behind the others. but yeah to be honest we will just go there and see.

“I have been in this position last year as well, so I know the feeling better than last year to deal with all the things going on around me. And like this weekend, I want to win races and do pole positions, so I will think of the title only in the last five laps of the last race. 

“It’s not really difficult [to put thoughts of the championship at bay] because I just want to do the best races as possible. Whatever it takes. I will not take all the risks, but my main target is to win races, so I will go for it big time and we will count [the points] at the end.”

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