The Fab French Four up for home WTCR glory
Four French drivers will hope to be in the victory battle when the WTCR – FIA World Touring Car Cup visits the country for the first time this week.
Nathanaël Berthon, Yann Ehrlacher, Yvan Muller and Jean-Karl Vernay are all in contention for honours at Circuit Pau-Arnos. Here’s what they had to say.
Nathanaël Berthon (FRA) Comtoyou DHL Team Audi Sport / Audi RS 3 LMS: “I know the track is in France and I know it’s going to take six or seven hours by car to get there but that’s all I know! It’s really good for the circuit to have the WTCR coming and it’s good to race in France. We have prepared well but we also need to adapt quickly. But that’s actually one of my strengths I would say. I can adapt really quickly to new tracks, which I think comes from the Andros Trophy that I am doing in the winter. When you are racing on ice the track is changing all the time so you have to adapt really quickly. But the other drivers will pick up quickly as well because all the drivers are super-talented in WTCR. Of course, I want to do well in France and be the best of the French drivers. We are working hard and the car should suit the track. It has really short corners and actually we have quite a good rotation with the car on the short corners. I’ll be sharing all the information I have with my team-mates and we’ll be doing the maximum to get a good result.”
Yann Ehrlacher (FRA) Cyan Racing Lynk & Co / Lynk & Co 03 TCR: “The last time the WTCC was in Pau I was in the kindergarten, I was still really young! We did a few laps a few weeks ago in a Mijet to learn the track but that’s the only real knowledge I have and from what I have seen on the internet because it’s 900 kilometres from my home. But even when a track is completely new, in 10 laps we should be at our full potential. Like always we will do one even two laps walking to see all the kerbs and all the things we need to know before starting the weekend. The laps we did in the rear-wheel drive Mijet was just to learn the track and feel familiar with the atmosphere there, with all the landscape. The track is not well known, it’s small but it’s interesting and it will be nice to do a proper Qualifying lap there and with no long straight it will be good for our car. Since I entered World Touring Cars I never got to race at home so it will be nice to meet the French fans and promote our sport in France. Winning means everything everywhere but it will be a special meaning if we hear the French national anthem on our home soil, it’s a tick in our career.”
Yvan Muller (FRA) Cyan Racing Lynk & Co / Lynk & Co 03 TCR: “Somebody told me I raced F3 there in 1991 but I really don’t remember and I certainly have no home advantage! It’s an old-shape circuit, quite fun to drive from what I experienced when I was there two weeks ago driving a Mijet car. It’s quite an up and down circuit, quite narrow in places with one or two places to overtake, which will make qualifying super-important. It will be good to welcome some more friends to the track and it will be nice to hear more French accents in the paddock. I also like the southwest region of France where they have a lot of heavy food like they do in the east part where I am from!”
Jean-Karl Vernay (FRA) Engstler Hyundai N Liqui Moly Racing Team / Hyundai Elantra N TCR: “I’ve never raced at Circuit Pau Arnos but I was there 14 years ago to bed-in brake pads for the F3 Euroseries race in Pau city and I went there a few weeks ago, like many drivers, to know a bit about where it goes. I don’t remember the last time I raced in France so I’m super-happy to be back. I love the region around Pau and hopefully I will see some of the fans I met when I won races in Pau city in Formula 4, Formula Renault and the Porsche Cup. It’s seven hours from Lyon, my city, but definitely it’s cool to be going there.”