Lynk & Co Cyan Racing had a very tough final FIA World Touring Car Cup qualifying session of the 2019 season at Sepang in Malaysia, facing a massive task to fight from the back of the grid in the final three races.
Yvan Muller, who is one of the four drivers in contention for the 2019 title, was fastest of the Cyan Racing drivers with 16th position in the first qualifying session and 13th in the second. The result has dropped him from eleven to 21 points from the lead, with 75 points left to fight for.
"We have struggled with the balance and speed since the beginning of the day, especially the speed. The car is not that bad, but we are 30kg heavier than the second heaviest car and 130kg heavier than the lightest car. That equals to at least six tenths on this circuit. It is a shame that we lost out on the Q2 session by just eight hundredths, that can cost us a lot this weekend. But we will never give up," said Yvan Muller.
The Sepang International Circuit is similar in character to Slovakiaring. This is where Lynk & Co Cyan Racing first noticed the issues of circuit characteristics with long straights out of slow corners.
This is due to carrying the most weight and having the least amount of power in the WTCR field, as per the Balance of Performance (BoP) regulations.
"What we witnessed today is an outmost bad combination of BoP and track character. A heavy car does not get slightly punished here, it gets completely wiped out. We saw this in Slovakia as well. It's the same team and the same drivers, with the same talent and pushing as hard as in Macau two weeks ago. The only thing they can do, and I am sure they will despite the circumstances, is to keep pushing until the race three chequered flag," said Alexander Murdzevski Schedvin, Head of Geely Group Motorsport.
Thed Björk, who is one of the four drivers in the title race, claimed positions 28 and 19 in the first and second qualifying sessions.
"We have fought so hard all day to catch up. The weight hurts us at Sepang with all of its long straights. But if it rains on Sunday, anything can happen. Everyone in the team will fight very hard until the flag drops in the final race of the year," said Thed Björk.
Team-mates Yann Ehrlacher and Andy Priaulx had two equally tough qualifying sessions. The Frenchman finished 24th and 18th in the two sessions, with the Brit finishing 27th in both.
"It is a shame that Yvan missed Q2 with such a small margin, we had a really good strategy to put everything together. I am quite happy with my pace as I supported the others. Let's hope for some rain on Sunday so that we can grab some places back," said Yann Ehrlacher.
"Obviously a disappointing result for the team, we genuinely struggle on circuits like these. It's difficult for me to judge my performance as I towed my team-mates. We’ll be working hard behind the scenes to improve our pace for Sunday," said Andy Priaulx.
As the main title contenders from Hyundai and Honda were further up the field in qualifying, Lynk & Co Cyan Racing's lead in the team championship is down from 72 to 61 points, with 135 points left to fight for.
The first race of the season finale weekend in Malaysia starts at 15:15 local time / 08:15 CET on Sunday.
FIA WTCR Race of Malaysia
Results Qualifying 1
Results Qualifying 2
Times in CET (local time is +7h)
Sunday December 15th
08:15-08:45 – Race 1 (9 laps)
11:15-11:45 – Race 2 (9 laps)
13:10-13:45 – Race 3 (12 laps)
Points for drivers – Top 5
1 Norbert Michelisz Hyundai i30 326 points
2 Esteban Guerrieri Honda Civic 311 (-15)
3 Yvan Muller Lynk & Co 03 305 (-21)
4 Thed Björk Lynk & Co 03 288 (-38)
5 Yann Ehrlacher Lynk & Co 03 209 (-117)
17 Andy Priaulx Lynk & Co 03 112 (-214)
Points for teams – Top 5
1 Cyan Racing Lynk & Co 593 points
2 BRC Hyundai Squadra 532 (-61)
3 Münnich Motorsport 512 (-81)
4 Cyan Performance Lynk & Co 321 (-272)
5 BRC Hyundai Lukoil 302 (-291)
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About Cyan Racing
Cyan Racing was founded in 1996 and was formerly named Polestar until Volvo Cars acquired the performance section and trademark in 2015. Cyan Racing is privately owned and operated. The team has claimed multiple titles, most recently the 2018 FIA World Touring Car Cup team title and the double 2017 FIA World Touring Car Championship titles for driver and manufacturer – and participated in the development of the Polestar performance models of the Volvo S60 and V60 in the years 2013 to 2015.
About Lynk & Co
Lynk & Co is the new global urban mobility brand addressing the needs and preferences of the connected generation and challenging auto industry conventions. Its products are designed and engineered in Sweden and will be sold globally.