Yann Ehrlacher wound up third fastest in the afternoon test session at Monza in only his second time behind the wheel of the Lada Vesta, and his first time at Monza.
The 20-year-old Nephew of four-time champion Yvan Muller was running in the car for only the second time, after a day’s test last week at Magny-Cours.
“I was not expecting this, but I was learning the car and the track too as I’d never driven on this track,” said Ehrlacher. “There is still a lot of work to do, as I was not sure if the other cars were at 100%, so there’s a lot of work to do now to be ready for Marrakech.”
Ehrlacher will race this year for RC Motorsport, which has risen from the ashes of the Lada Sport team, with much of the same team responsible for running the car from their Magny-Cours base, with Ehrlacher working with Nicky Catsburg’s engineer from last season.
Ehrlacher had already tested a TC1 car earlier in the winter with the hope of landing a drive, before the new opportunity with the resurrected Lada team emerged.
“I (tested) a TC1 car with another manufacturer, I can’t tell you the name, and it went quite well,” he said. “But they didn’t take me for some political issue, so a few weeks ago the project from Lada came up again. They’re based in Magny-Cours and work with ORECA, and I’ve worked with ORECA before, so everything came together.”
“It was quite a hard decision for Lada to take the risk to take me as I have no experience in front-wheel drive or don’t know any of the tracks in the championship. They’ve taken the risk, so I’ll have to work hard to prove to them that I can do it.”
The young driver says he won’t be able to rely on too much assistance from his famous uncle, with Muller’s new role as development and senior adviser to Polestar Cyan Racing this season.
“I followed Yvan’s races from since I was born,” said Ehrlacher.
“I’m using Yvan as an adviser for me, as for sure he knows everything in racing and even more in front-wheel drive; but now he’s at Volvo, it’s a bit hard to have him with me. That’s also a good thing as I have to do this on my own and it’s better to improve myself in my career.”