Andy Priaulx, Rob Huff, Jean-Karl Vernay and Billy Lo attended the Race 3 press conference at WTCR Race of Macau. A transcript follows.
FIA WTCR Race of Macau
WTCR – FIA World Touring Car Cup presented by OSCARO 2019
Rounds 25, 26 and 27 of 30, Circuito da Guia, 14-17 November
Andy Priaulx, Cyan Performance Lynk & Co, first position
Rob Huff, SLR VW Motorsport, second position
Jean-Karl Vernay, Leopard Racing Team Audi Sport, third position
Billy Lo, Tian Shi Zuver Team, Macau wildcard
Andy, finally a podium in WTCR / OSCARO – but not just a podium, a race victory here in Macau. What a feeling that must be.
Yeah, I’m really pleased to get that one out of the way. I had Rob behind me all the way and that guy is pretty special around here, so I was working hard the whole race. But I’m delighted to win my first race of the year. I had a big disappointment in Ningbo, led for nearly the whole race and lost in the last two laps, but anyway… Thanks to everybody and to the team for supporting me. It’s nice to get it. It’s a tough championship and I’m really happy to have manage to win a race.
You made a great start, but was there any concern about team orders being applied – you had to sacrifice a podium earlier in the weekend after all?
There’s always a concern, but I’m just very proud that the team supported me. Christian [Dahl, Cyan Racing head] is a racer and he wants to be number one. That’s what he wants most of all. To be leading here was special, with Rob pushing me all the way and JK just behind, so I had to push like hell and I didn’t think of anything else.
I understand there’s a story about a lucky charm you’ve brought back to Macau, which you bought here in Macau before you won your first FIA World Touring Car title?
I still have my Buddha with me in my wash bag. I can’t wear it any more for the races because you are not allowed to wear necklaces or anything, but today I have two lucky charms: I have the Buddha with me and it’s my daughter’s 16th birthday. Every year I miss her birthday. She was born when I was racing in Macau, she came a month early and today’s her 16th birthday, so that was a special win for her.
Rob, you got that ninth DHL Pole Position, but you’ll have wait another year for that 10th race victory. Please talk us through your race?
I’m just keeping you in suspense! I just fluffed the start
He’ll get it!
We knew we had a quick car. We know around here the start is all important. Even if I’d got the start, I wasn’t confident necessarily we’d be able to keep it from these guys. I needed the slipstream of Andy just to be able to keep ahead of JK and then do good laps in sectors three and four to get the gap to JK as well. Slightly disappointed, but it’s not the first time I’ve been a bridesmaid at Macau and I’m sure it won’t be the last either.
Was there anything you could have done to get ahead of Andy?
No, I tried everything. Andy never put a foot wrong, he drove superbly. Obviously huge congratulations to Andy to win that race. It’s difficult out there, you know. Macau is a place you really can’t describe, the feeling of what it’s like to drive to people who have never been around it, especially in a race car. To just survive this race is something, so to get on the podium or to win is very special so congratulations to Andy. I put him under all the pressure I could. But all three of us have been quick all weekend and the opportunities to overtake are far and few between and Andy didn’t make any [mistakes], so I just had to sit behind and hope we could stay there.
Jean-Karl, Rob has just said how difficult it is to get on the podium here. You have managed that. How satisfied are you with that achievement?
I’ve never finished third. I’ve always finished first or second here so that’s a new cup! I’m proud to be here with these guys with all the world championships they have won. This race was very difficult. Everything happened at the start. I made a good one and Andy made a good one. I was just stuck behind Rob and that was the key of the race, I would say. It’s hard to overtake someone. I had to hope for a safety car and a restart because as everybody knows, the Audi has pretty good top speed and that was my chance. They were obviously a bit quicker in sectors two and three, but I’m very proud of my guys. We had some issues in Race 2 and I was not sure we would be able to fix it for Race 3 and to make this podium, here it is very special. The pressure in the race, it’s difficult to make no mistakes to stay focused in front and also watch in the mirrors what they guy is doing. So I’m very, very happy and thanks Audi Sport and to my sponsors Leopard. They have been supporting me for 10 years now and I’m just smiling. Let’s see what we can do for the next race.
Finally, we come to Billy Lo, our top wildcard racer here representing Macau. Billy, could you describe your weekend?
I’m proud to be a wildcard entry here for the weekend and participate in my second WTCR race in Macau. I’ve had six months to prepare and I was well prepared. I’m proud to be the only Macau driver in the Macau Ghia race and my target was to get a better result than last year’s race. I did that and I’m really happy with the results. There were some issues with my car so I did not finish, but overall I’m really happy with the whole weekend. I’d like to thank the team and my fans.