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Gilles Magnus ‘really needed’ final WTCR victory in Saudi Arabia

Gilles Magnus was delighted to win the final FIA World Touring Car Cup race in Saudi Arabia, with the Comtoyou Racing driver saying that he ‘really needed’ the victory to boost his morale.

Magnus had gone into the final two events of the season in the Middle East in with a chance of second overall in the drivers’ standings, but after crashing out in Bahrain and scoring no points – his first-ever points-less weekend in WTCR, the Belgian dropped to sixth.

He responded in convincing style in Jeddah, qualifying in fifth, which could have been higher but for a small mistake on his Q3 lap.

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In race one, the 23-year-old fought past new champion Mikel Azcona and his team-mate Nicky Catsburg on the opening lap, going on to finish in fifth.

Race two saw him benefit when Esteban Guerrieri spun out of second on lap two and then when Franco Girolami drove into Attila Tassi and Catsburg on lap three, promoting Magnus into the lead.

He stayed there for the rest of the race, opening up a five-second lead before the safety car came out late on, with the race – the last-ever in WTCR – ultimately finishing behind the safety car.

“I really needed this,” said Magnus. “We have been through tough times – Bahrain was tough and even here in Q3 I made a mistake – it was a little disappointing.

“This is exactly what I needed to end the season and to have some self confidence for the rest of the year.

“This is the way I want to thank Comtoyou. I’m really [gutted] about  [team-mate]Nath [Berthon]. I would have liked to see him in P2 in the championship.

“But this is the way to thank Comtoyou, and I’m so, so happy I cannot describe it. It was a really emotional moment when I crossed the line.

“When I knew we were going to finish behind the safety car it was really emotional. Although I’ve had bigger victories than this one, this is really emotional because of everything that has happened before.

“Really happy to end this way, thanks to Comtoyou, thanks for all the long night they have done in Bahrain and I’m very happy.

“I was suffering, even more in race one than in race two. Maybe this was the toughest race this season.

“Really happy it was by night because if it was by day, I’m not really sure I would have made it to the end. It was really tough.

“I was sorry for Franco that he made the mistake. We all make mistakes, I made one myself in Bahrain, so I was sorry for him. At the same time it really opened the field up for me, so these kind of things happen. It’s racing.”

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