Yvan, congratulations on winning your fourth FIA WTCC Drivers’ championship – a new record. What does this one mean to you?
YM: This is probably the title I am most proud of. The conditions behind this year were very different to my other three. A month before Monza we didn’t even know if we could make the grid this year, we didn’t have a manufacturer to support the project, which makes things very difficult. But with huge effort from RML, myself and our partners, we managed to get things in place and have built a successful program.
Has this year been more difficult without the backing of a major manufacturer?
YM: Yes, in some ways of course. It has meant we haven’t been able to develop the car since last year and we had very limited running before the start of the year. So for Tom, as an example, he has had to learn the car at the races. Of course I have been with the team for four years now so I have good knowledge of the Cruze. But with Honda and Lada coming in as works outfits, we were going into this year a little on the back foot.
You’ve been with RML for four years now – one of the most successful pairings in touring cars. This year marks your last. What have you found most about rewarding about working with them?
YM: Their motivation and professionalism. Everybody at RML is dedicated to their work and it shows. The atmosphere amongst the team is great and it gives me huge pleasure to work with them. We share every emotion, be it the highs or the lows. There is a real team spirit. I dedicate this victory to all at RML – they have all participated in this victory.
Your fourth title is a new record. What keeps you motivated for more?
I’ve been competing for 35 years. It is the experiences like today, like this year that keep me in this job. The team work and the relationships I build with my team, like I have with RML, this keeps me motivated.
We’ve still four races to go in China and Macau. What do you focus on now?
This season has been perfect so far, but it is definitely not over yet for me! We are still fighting for the Teams’ trophy, which perhaps we can settle as early as Shanghai and Tom is targeting second in the Drivers’ standings – we all want to end with an RML 1-2 so we’ll keep working together to do our best, for ourselves, for RML and all our partners and sponsors who have been a huge support throughout.
We couldn’t have such achievements without our backers, so I want to say a big thank you to Lukoil and Aon for their important support in realising this project and standing by us throughout the year.