Gilles Magnus says that he ‘could not have imagined such a good weekend’ at Vallelunga, after the Comtoyou Racing driver claimed a podium in race one followed by a win in race two.
Although Magnus undoubtedly benefitted from the withdrawal of the five Lynk & Co cars due to tyre safety fears, the Belgian still kept a cool head under intense pressure from his rivals.
In race one, Magnus came from seventh on the grid up to fourth on the opening lap, making three places in just a matter of corners.
Then, when team-mate Nathanaël Berthon suffered from a tyre failure, the Audi driver moved into a podium position, his second visit to the rostrum this season.
With the aforementioned Lynk & Co cars, which should have started on the front row for race two, not present, Magnus effectively became the pole-sitter.
Thereafter he withstood pressure from Honda’s Attila Tassi and latterly team-mate Berthon to take his second win of the year, having managed his tyres carefully and opened up a margin in the second half of the race.
“Even though it was shorter than the race before it felt even tougher,” said Magnus after his win. “I don’t know why. For sure the heat and being tired from race one.
“I don’t know what this guy [Azcona] is eating in the morning because he’s doing a double programme! But big respect because I am dead and this guy must be even more dead.
“It was really tough. We all had in our minds front-left tyre, front-left tyre. It’s maybe not a nice way to win like this, it would have been even better to win in a normal way, but we would have been capable of it – we had good speed.
“But OK, that’s how it is, it’s big points. It’s the second time for us on the podium today, so it’s a perfect weekend. I could not have imagined it better.
“The race was tough, although I always had the big gap with Nat, but still I always heard the tyres screaming, I could feel these small vibrations.
“Maybe it is only in my head, but you are always thinking about it and that makes it even more tough. But we made it, big points, really happy.”
Magnus has moved up to fourth overall in the drivers’ championship standings after his ‘unexpected’ strong weekend.
“Starting seventh this morning and finishing third I never expected, or to win this race either. OK, I hoped, but to win it in the end is really nice.
“I could not have imagined such a good weekend, to be honest. I thought we would struggle here. But with all that has happened it has been a good weekend for us.
“Now let’s focus on the three or who knows how many rounds of the season.”