WTCR – WTCR Race of Spain Race 2 press conference

Mikel Azcona, Rob Huff and Santiago Urrutia attended the press conference following Race 2 at WTCR Race of Spain. A transcript follows.

WTCR Race of Spain, MotorLand Aragón, June 25-26, 2022WTCR − FIA World Touring Car Cup, Rounds 7 and 8 of 20

Press Conference Room, MotorLand Aragón, June 26, 2022

In attendance:
Mikel Azcona (BRC Hyundai N Squadra Corse), winner
Rob Huff (Zengő Motorsport), second position
Santiago Urrutia (Cyan Performance Lynk & Co), third position

Q:
Mikel, what a way to celebrate your 26th birthday, which was on Saturday! Talk us through what happened at the start today, because we’re not sure!

MA:
Yes, very good. It was a crazy start, I have to say. On the first lap there were a lot of cars in front of me and I tried to keep the car in one piece, I didn’t want to make any crashes. By Ma [Qing Hua] was very defensive and at this point something happened to Norbi. I don’t know what but I’m very sorry for him because he did a very good start. After the safety car I was able to overtake Daniel [Nagy] who was very fast at the beginning. From this point I was comfortable because I had some margin to Rob. When Rob was second I felt not so comfortable because I could feel it in my neck, especially on the back straight, he was braking so hard into T16. In the first and second sector I felt I was stronger than him. I was matching and trying not to lose the position.

Q:
Your advantage as the Goodyear #FollowTheLeader is amazing now…

MA:
Yes, very happy because we took so many points. It’s incredible to take a victory here in Spain with fans, family, friends and everybody. I must say thank you very much to my team, Hyundai Motorsport and BRC, they are giving me a fantastic car to fight for top positions. Third victory of the season and I’m very happy. Just keep working on this line for Vila Real.

Q:
Talk us through your thoughts ahead of Vila Real.

MA:
I have very good memories from the last time I was there in 2019 when I took a victory. But when you go into a street track every time it is very difficult. So I don’t know, let’s see in free practice. But aways when you go to the next weekend with a win it’s a very good feeling. It’s better to go like this and now it looks like we will have an OK weekend.

Q:
And tonight you can really celebrate your birthday.

MA:
Yes, now we can celebrate all together as a team, with family, girlfriend and everybody. Now it is time to celebrate, I have to say.

Q:
Rob, you are making a bit of a habit of P2.

RH:
Yes, first of all I just want to say hello to Bella, Fran, Matt, mum, dad and everyone watching. They will all be going crazy. What a weekend, probably my best WTCR weekend ever. Absolutely mega to come away with two second places. I’ve heard we’re up to third in the championship from starting this weekend in 11th, which shows how close it is and what one weekend can really do. Absolute hats off and credit to the team. They worked so hard. This weekend I arrived quite late on the Friday lunchtime and everything was totally calm, relaxed, everything was prepared and this is just the way the team has been working this year. Everything is super organised and it just gives us drivers massive confidence to go out there knowing the cars are ready and everything is perfect and we can do what we do. The engineers are working hard on the set-ups, giving me the best car I’ve ever had this weekend. Last weekend in Budapest was amazing, this weekend it was better again. I’m really excited for the rest of the season.

Q:
I bet you are. The ambience and the glue keeping this team together is really clear.

RH:
Yeah, very much so. This year we are two cars, it’s much easier to just focus on two cars. Hyundai and ALL-INKL have done the same and it definitely allows that extra focus and preparation, and it transpires on to the track. If someone had said we were going to come here and get a double podium, or even on podium once… Last year we are really struggling and this year we have come with a car that is easy to drive, fast to drive and it’s great to be on the podium again. I want to get that win. It’s three times I’ve had second places this year and that win can’t be far away. Hopefully Vila Real is beckoning for us.

Q:
Vila Real must throw up some good and bad memories… what are your thoughts going in?

RH:
I’m excited, I love the street circuits. What happened in 2018 I don’t even think about any more. It’s only when people remind me about it that it comes back. Ultimately it’s a street circuit, I love street circuits, that was a complete freak accident. I know the car I’ve got now is going to be super-fast there and I will make sure I use it to the best of my ability to get it up the front.

Q:
Santi, what are you up to?

SU:
I’m just talking to Mikel, telling him to slow down because he’s winning races every weekend!

Q:
We saw pace in your car but not as much as these guys in a straight line. Talk us through the race from your perspective.

SU:
We had a really tough race one, so I knew that to have a good race in race two we had to improve the car and we spent a lot of time in front of the computer with the engineer. I give him my idea, he has his idea, we watched the videos and everything, and I knew the race started from the start. I needed to get a good start and I did a really good start, I got by Nagy and I was already P4. Then I was right behind Mikel, then up there it was like a mess so I kind of got stuck and Mikel was stuck there as well so I hit him a little bit and I had to brake. I had cars everywhere coming from behind, so I went from P4 to P6 or 7. At that point I said OK, I need to wait now. Then came the safety car and I said to myself if I want to move forward I need to go by them one by one. I felt I had good speed. Yvan did a mistake, he ran wide and I overtook him, then I overtook Ma. Then Nagy did a mistake and I thought Ok this is the time and I overtook him. I had the pace to be on the podium, not as much as these guys, but at least better than race one. I didn’t expect to be on the podium to be honest, because the race track is so tough to be on the podium today feels really good.

Q:
What are your thought ahead of Vila Real?

SU:
I’ve never been there, it will be my second time on a street circuit. The first one was in Pau and that was OK. We got a podium there so I hope at Vila Real even if it’s a completely different track, we will have a good car and to adapt myself quick and be in the top 10 again to score points. I think we have been doing a great job his year, but there are people doing an even better job than us. So we need to keep working and try to improve to get the pace the guys in front have. Vila Real is a straight circuit so that will be different to what we had in the past. You need to have a good car to make a good qualifying otherwise if you start behind there’s no way to overtake. I hope I have a good weekend.

Source : Fia