Crash.Net WTCC News
Oriola delighted to open account
8 April 2013
Pepe Oriola admitted he was delighted to open his account in the World Touring Car Championship after becoming the youngest winner in series history in Morocco.
The Tuenti Racing Team driver had finished eighth in the opening race of the weekend at the wheel of his SEAT Leon but was starting race two from the front row of the grid having posted the ninth quickest time in qualifying – with the top ten reversed to form the starting order for the second race of the weekend.
Getting ahead of Fernando Monje at the start, Oriola found himself under pressure from triple champion Yvan Muller but managed to hold the Frenchman at bay until the Safety Car was deployed following Gabriele Tarquini and Alex MacDowall's collision.
Admitting he was surprised to see the race resume with a lap to go, Oriola was able to hold on out front to become the first non-Chevrolet winner of the season – moving him up into the top six in the championship standings.
“I knew I had a possibility to win this race if I overtook Monje at the start,” he said. “I did it, but then I saw the Chevrolet cars of Muller and Chilton behind me on the second lap. I thought it would be tough to keep them behind for the rest of the race.
“I was lucky, because the Safety Car helped me a bit, giving me the possibility to cool down my tyres and brakes. To be honest I was thinking that the race would have ended behind the Safety Car, but then I saw the lights went out and said to myself: you have to push as much as you can.
“Yvan was very close on the straight, but I managed to keep him behind. It is difficult to explain the way I feel. This has been my best race ever.”