With the World Touring Car Cup (WTCR) heading into the European leg of its calendar, a busy few weeks lie ahead for Lynk & Co Cyan Racing. However, after a very positive beginning to the year in Morocco, the Swedish-Chinese outfit will relish the challenge.
This weekend, the first of three events within a month will kick off, this time at the Hungaroring. The second round of the 2019 WTCR season is a significant one for Chinese marque, Lynk & Co, who will be making their European motor racing debut.
Thed Bjork heads into the event as the championship leader, following two podium finishes in Morocco, including victory in the third race. Evidently, it was a strong start to the year for the Swede, but he’s not taking the competition lightly by any means:
“We had a great season start, well above our expectations.” he said. “But we are in no way relaxing, I am leading now but this season will no doubt be a very hard fight to the last lap of the last race.”
Along with Bjork’s personal success, the team also find themselves second in the teams’ championship standings. Christian Dahl, owner and co-founder of Cyan Racing, wanted to praise his team for the work they’ve done over the Winter with a brand new car:
“The result in Marrakech was a strong receipt on the hard work throughout the winter by everyone involved in this project. Our competitors are however not resting but neither are we. Hungaroring will be a challenge and we will have to fight hard there as well throughout the season to remain in the top,” he said.
Cyan Racing’s other three drivers didn’t quite have such straight-forward opening races, however. Despite impressing in qualifying, mechanical woes hampered Yvan Muller all weekend. Likewise, Yann Ehrlacher and Andy Priaulx also looked quite quick, but contact with other cars limited their points haul in Marrakech.
22 year-old Ehrlacher was keen to highlight this need for consistency. The Frenchman said: “Marrakech was both frustrating and rewarding. We had the speed to fight for the top and my podium in the second race was an awesome feeling. But I did not get as many points as I felt we had the potential for. The Hungaroring is obviously completely different to Marrakech, but we will continue keeping our heads down and work hard. This season is a marathon and we need to keep scoring consistently.”
Despite having never raced at the circuit before during his illustrious career, Priaulx knows the scale of the challenge that the Budapest circuit will present:
“I do know the track very well from testing there over the years and so I know exactly what to expect.” he said. “It is tight and twisty and challenging, and I have always enjoyed driving there. I am feeling pretty confident ahead of the race, we are well prepared, I feel we can do well, and I have my sights on a podium.”
Yvan Muller will probably be the most disappointed of the Lynk & Co quartet after Marrakech. An engine change ensured he would half to give up a front-row start in Race One, while further mechanical issues snatched a potential race victory away from him in Race Three.
Nevertheless, Muller isn’t planning to dwell on missed opportunities, and instead is eagerly looking ahead to the races in Hungary: “I’m not thinking about what could have been in Marrakech.” he said. “We know what caused the retirement and the speed is there to fight for victories. We still have a long way to go in developing our brand new race cars, but I am never racing for anything else than to win.”