Moments that make WTCR great: #10 Muller back on top following a race to remember
Some of the many moments that make the WTCR − FIA World Touring Car Cup great are being revisited at FIAWTCR.com ahead of the 2021 season.
Today, there’s a look back on Yvan Muller’s return to top of the podium during an emotional weekend at MotorLand Aragón last November.
Muller, the four-time FIA World Touring Car champion, was never headed from his DHL Pole Position at the wheel of his Goodyear-equipped Cyan Racing Lynk & Co 03 TCR.
But in a race that ended with his 24-year-old team-mate and nephew Yann Ehrlacher crowned as the youngest FIA World Touring Car title winner, Muller had other priorities.
“Winning was not my priority, I could have won one at Budapest, but I gave that to Yann,” Muller said afterwards. “My target was to help make Yann the world champion and he is now. I made a good start, then I pushed hard for five laps, then I said OK, keep cool a bit. Then there was the safety car so I lost everything. But I had some tyre left so it was OK. When I came to see François Ribeiro [WTCR promoter] when Yann was 17 years old I said you should put some money on him because he will be world champion, and now he is.”
With his closest rival, Esteban Guerrieri, retiring his ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport Honda Civic Type R TCR with damage, sixth place was enough for Ehrlacher to become King of WTCR.
“I have been waking up every morning and going to be every night thinking about this day,” said Ehrlacher. “I’m super-thankful to everyone who has supported me. It’s amazing, I cannot believe it.”
Muller made a clean start from the DHL Pole Position, but fellow front-row starter Norbert Michelisz was beaten into Turn 1 by Gilles Magnus from third on the grid.
Behind them, there was drama and frenetic action as Guerrieri, who’d heroically won Race 1, found himself caught up in the thick of a battle from his P18 slot on the grid. When Bence Boldizs’ Zengő Motorsport CUPRA Leon Competición slowed suddenly, Guerrieri was unable to avoid making heavy contact and Guerrieri was forced to pit into retirement.
Ehrlacher started ninth and began cautiously, but picked up places and was running in sixth by lap four – which was enough to clinch the title.
On lap eight, Guerrieri’s team-mate Néstor Girolami retired in a cloud of smoke from his Honda, which led to a safety car interruption.
Muller made a good break once the racing action resumed with two laps to go, chased by Jean-Karl Vernay’s Team Mulsanne Alfa Romeo Giulietta Veloce TCR by Romeo Ferraris, which had moved up from sixth on the grid to claim second place.
CUPRA-powered local hero Mikel Azcona dramatically passed Magnus for third on the final lap to land a podium for Zengő Motorsport.