Photo: TCR Europe

Lynk & Co team-mates discuss lap one crash in TCR World Tour opener

It was not a great start to the TCR World Tour for Lynk & Co Cyan Racing team-mates Santiago Urrutia and Yann Ehrlacher, as they collided on lap one of Race 1.

The pair had qualified tenth and eleventh respectively at Algarve, with Erhlacher ruing how he had missed out on qualifying in the top ten and therefore benefitting from the reversal of that ten to set the grid for Race 2 on Sunday.

He vowed he would “provide some show” from eleventh on the grid in both races, but was also wary of being stuck in the midfield of a grid that also included TCR Europe drivers. In the end he was right to be “a bit worried” about his starting position.

Ehrlacher went for the inside at Turn 1 on the opening lap, making contact with his team-mate Urrutia and Comtoyou Racing’s Tom Coronel, as the trio ran side-by-side.

The contact then sent Urrutia into Coronel who went into a half-spin in his Audi RS 3 LMS II TCR but managed to straighten up the car before he was facing backwards.

While he then went on to finish eleventh and Ehrlacher made his way up to seventh place, Urrutia had to retire at the end of the lap.

“We had a problem with the start, I don’t know what really happened but I had a damage in the car so I couldn’t finish the race,” said Urrutia after talking out the incident with his team-mate.

“Which was a shame because I wanted to score us points. But focus on tomorrow where we will be starting from pole position, so let’s see if we can maintain and then win the race.”

Ehrlacher commented: “First race of the season, started in P11 in the middle of the pack. It’s quite a difficult thing, and maybe it was a bit messy in Turn 1, some cars a bit all over the place. And I felt the momentum to dive, and unfortunately it was Santiago next to me.

“The Audi next to him like squeezed him between us, and we had quite a hard contact side-by-side together between Turn 1 and Turn 2. And it damaged a bit my car for the race, and I think it cost him to DNF. So I feel a bit bad for the team. I mean it would have been a good move if it was someone else, but I don’t like when it ends up like this between team-mates.

“The race for us, starting eleventh and finishing P7, it’s okay. We knew it would be difficult, we missed some pace, but we will fight back for Race 2.”

Ehrlacher finished between his other two team-mates Ma Qing Hua and Thed Björk, the latter who will start directly behind Urrutia in third place on the reversed grid of Race 2. The race is scheduled to start at 11:30 local time tomorrow.