RACE 1 PRESS CONFERENCE, FIA WTCR RACE OF
International Speedpark, 28-30 September 2018
WTCR – FIA World
Touring Car Cup presented by OSCARO, Rounds 19-21 of 30
Thed Björk, YMR, first position
Esteban Guerrieri, ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport, second position
Frédéric Vervisch, Audi Sport Team Comtoyou, third position
Ma Qing Hua, Boutsen Ginion Racing, leading local driver
Third victory of the season for you, Thed, and a dominant performance.
Just explain how that was possible.
It was a really nice race for me starting from pole. I did a good
start, otherwise I would have expected a really hard fight from both
Esteban and Frédéric. But I got away clean and built a small gap to
Esteban when they were fighting each other and could hold that, so it
was a really nice race for me. It’s not easy to lead as well, but I’d
rather be there than chasing. I could control the car and the set-up was
fantastic. Clearly my car was in the window from first practice all the
way through to the race. I’m really happy with the performance.
It’s obviously also good news for your championship prospects, with
many more races to come. You are now third in the table, what do you
make of your title chances?
That was my goal. When we have such a long summer break and still so
many points to fight for, the goal was to get it back as soon as
possible, be on the edge and see where I can go. Some of the tracks
that are coming are really nice.
Esteban, second today from fourth on the grid shows a lot of fighting
spirit. How was it for you?
Well, good afternoon everybody. Congratulations to Frédéric and better
luck for tomorrow. My day basically was progressive, getting better and
better with fifth in qualifying, then fourth on the grid eventually
because of [Gabriele] Tarquini’s penalty. I did a good start, not
better than the guy in front, but I managed to pass Norbi into Turn 3.
He was trying to make a move around Frédéric, so I just drove into Turn
3 and we were side by side. At the last second I decided to go on the
inside of Frédéric at the hairpin. It was on the limit, but he played
it very well, so it was a good move. That placed me second, then I had
similar pace in the beginning to Thed. I was supposed to save the
tyres, the same as him he told me, but then he was just quicker and he
pulled away. A good, positive result, but we want more for tomorrow, so
let’s try to make it a bit better.
Frédéric, a fifth podium this season having equalled your best
qualifying performance earlier. You couldn’t quite hold that second
place – what happened to you in the race?
Congratulations to Thed and Esteban for a great race. It’s my fifth
podium, so I’m very happy. We’ve found some consistency, so that’s
positive. My start was quite okay, but again not better than Thed. Then
there was some fighting behind me and I thought I was quite clear, but
then Esteban… there was a small traffic jam at the hairpin, maybe I was
a bit too careful and there was some small contact but normal things. I
lost my position, it was very close, and then one more and one more! So
I was quite happy that by the end I could recover a bit. I was quite
surprised we could keep a reasonable pace, because that’s a big
struggle. At the Slovakia Ring I was struggling very hard with the car
on race pace. So I think it’s quite positive for tomorrow so let’s see
what we can do again.
Turning to Ma Qing Hua, this is your debut in WTCR OSCARO. Explain your
It’s my first race here, so I’m working very hard to chase the balance
set-up. We were planning to do Race 1 as a big practice for me. Anyway,
I did a good start and I think I took one position in Turn 2. I continued,
but then after sector one I got several punches in the rear, one really
bad one, so I lost the car completely and went off the track, then came
back on with a damaged car and tried to finish the race. I understand
I’m not fighting for the championship and the other drivers try to get
as many positions as they can, but they should be doing it in a
professional way. So tomorrow is another day and I hope we can do a
better job to have a better race.
A quick final word from Thed Björk. What’s the plan now, celebration
time or focus on tomorrow?
I just focus on tomorrow. There are three races per weekend which is
fantastic, lots of points for the championship. I have to do something
clever or they will beat me tomorrow.