Yann Ehrlacher only believed he could win for five corners at Vallelunga

A lighting start allowed Yann Ehrlacher to launch his Lynk & Co 03 FL TCR into the lead from second place in the first FIA TCR World Tour race of the season opener at Vallelunga.

The Frenchman was however overtaken by Norbert Michelisz at the exit of the last corner on the second lap, and after that it was more a question of keeping Esteban Guerrieri at bay behind him rather than looking ahead to a potential win.

“I only believed in the win for five corners, then I stopped believing when I saw he was controlling his pace”, said the Cyan Racing driver to TouringCarTimes.

“He played a little bit with me and when he saw the opportunity he went for it. He quickly opened a gap that I knew I couldn’t close. To be honest, no regrets, we did a great start and we showed good pace, it was already tough to keep the Honda behind me and the Hyundai was out of reach.”

When asked if he believes the Hyundais will disappear into the distance in today’s Race 2, he simply replied: “If they drive to their full potential they will.”

Asked if he thought Hyundai were hiding their true pace for Balance Of Performance (BoP) purposes, Ehrlacher was cautious:

“I can’t say they hide, they just use what they need to use,” said Ehrlacher.

“I’m sure they have quite a lot of potential, which they showed today when Norbi opened the gap from me and then he just backed off. He was very confident in his pace.

“Well done to them, at the moment with the package we have no chance to fight against them. They came in with a new car using the same BoP as last year, when they were flying when they put the throttle down, like in Macau.”

While Ehrlacher is adamant he is not criticising BoP in general, he thinks the system could be revised so that it is more relevant to the actual performances seen in the FIA TCR World Tour.

“It’s part of racing nowadays and it’s clever play from them, I hope everything will be looked at in a fair way,” said Ehrlacher.

“I’m not saying it’s not fair, just everything needs to be taken into consideration, performance, power, speed, if people lift off… The whole thing to get back to a base BoP.

“It’s good to have balance of performance, because then smaller teams or manufacturers with a little less budget can compete, which is very nice. That’s how we get a good championship and more manufacturers in, and I agree to not win all the time.

“I just think that when we did the base BoP was based on the car potential, but if a team or a driver does a better job maximising the potential of the car then you lose balance. If we could go back to a base BoP would be amazing, I think it’s fair.”