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WTCR Vallelunga

Cyan Racing pulls entries from WTCR Vallelunga race over tyre safety fears

Cyan Racing has withdrawn its five Lynk & Cos from racing in the World Touring Car Cup rounds at Vallelunga due to safety fears over the series’ Goodyear tyres.

Yvan Muller, Cyan Racing Lynk & Co, Lynk & Co 03 TCR, Yann Ehrlacher, Cyan Performance Lynk & Co, Lynk & Co 03 TCR

The reigning champion team has struggled all weekend and elected to pull in all five cars on the warm-up lap for race one on Sunday morning. It has stated it will also not take the start in race two. Other teams suffered multiple punctures during the race.

Cyan’s decision follows the team’s inability to complete a race distance on the spec tyre, during a test session on Friday and through the two free practices on Saturday.

Cyan has blamed the level of compensation weight it has been forced to run as part of the WTCR’s Balance of Performance rules, which has made the Lynk & Cos by far the heaviest of the five makes of car on the grid.

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At a total weight of 1355kg, the 03 TCR is 80kg heavier this weekend than the Hyundai Elantra N TCR driven by points leader Mikel Azcona, running in track temperatures that in qualifying were said to have exceeded 60 degrees celsius.

In the first free practice session on Saturday, Yvan Muller crashed at high speed at the fast Turn 2 right-hander because of a front-left puncture. The team chose to only attempt short runs in the second session and in qualifying were off the pace – although thanks to the partially reversed-grid rule for race two, reigning double champion Yann Ehrlacher and his title rival Santiago Urrutia were due to start from the front row for this afternoon’s encounter.

Cyan had warned on Saturday that “immediate and necessary actions” were required from the WTCR stakeholders to allow its drivers “to take part in the WTCR races in a safe manner.”

Santiago Urrutia, Cyan Performance Lynk & Co, Lynk & Co 03 TCR

Santiago Urrutia, Cyan Performance Lynk & Co, Lynk & Co 03 TCR

Photo by: WTCR

Then on Sunday morning as the rest of the WTCR grid took the start of race one, the five Lynk & Cos pulled into the pitlane and the team released a statement on its “tyre safety concerns because of the current weight levels”.

“The drivers of the team experienced tyre failures whilst running within the recommended operating window from the official tyre supplier during practice at Vallelunga – including a resulting crash at over 220 km/h for Yvan Muller at Turn 2.

“The Lynk & Co 03 TCR of Cyan Racing is by far the heaviest car of the WTCR, for example currently running 80 kilos heavier than the Hyundai Elantra N TCR of points leader Mikel Azcona.

“This means that the tyre issues affect the Lynk & Co cars earlier, more frequently and severely compared to the other cars. The team called for actions from the WTCR stakeholders prior to qualifying.

“No solution has been found by the stakeholders of the WTCR since then, thus meaning that Lynk & Co Cyan Racing cannot take part in the Vallelunga races.”

“Our decision has been taken as I don't believe that we can complete a full distance in a safe way,” added Fredrik Wahlen, team manager of Cyan Racing.

“We have provided information to all WTCR stakeholders that the combined weight and tyre situation makes for an impossible equation. It is not the decision we wanted to take, but a suitable solution to this issue has not been found since the start of the Vallelunga weekend until now.”

Neither the FIA nor Goodyear have yet to respond to the decision.

Nestor Girolami, ALL-INKL.COM Munnich Motorsport, Honda Civic Type R TCR

Nestor Girolami, ALL-INKL.COM Munnich Motorsport, Honda Civic Type R TCR

Photo by: WTCR

The race was won by pole position starter Néstor Girolami from points leader Mikel Azcona, but a number of cars suffered punctures during the race, including Nathanael Berthon’s Audi, which cost him a third place finish.

Tiago Monteiro’s Honda and Mehdi Bennani also picked up punctures around 10 minutes into the race, while Rob Huff was also forced to pit for fresh Goodyears for his Zengo Motorsport Cupra.

The episode follows in the wake of Goodyear tyre safety concerns that forced the races on the Nurburgring Nordschleife in May to be cancelled just 15 minutes before the start of the first.

On that occasion, more than one team reported concerns that it could not complete a race distance safely, but this time only Lynk & Co has made such a claim – although in the Friday test Hyundai had initial concerns too.

After qualifying on Saturday, BRC Hyundai N Squadra Corse team manager Gabriele Tarquini said: “Yesterday we had some small trouble with the tyres. Today we changed something. We spent the first free practice just testing the long run [pace] and we finished with both drivers doing long distances. So we are happy, we are confident.

“It’s for sure an advantage to carry zero kilos compared to the others carrying 40 or 20 like the Honda” – which took pole position for race one in the hands of Nestor Girolami.

But Tarquini did admit the safety concerns are not limited to Cyan’s Lynk & Cos.

“We saw some trouble on another car so for the races there is a big question mark for everybody, not only for some manufacturers,” he said. “Everything can happen, we must focus on the race distance and we must be very, very clever.”

An added complication for Goodyear is that race distances have been extended this season to 30 minutes plus one lap. But the tyre manufacturer believes teams’ choice of car set-up is crucial to tyre life and that trading speed for safety is always an option.

At the Nordschleife, it was decided the WTCR teams were incapable of completing three-lap races of the 15.769-mile track safely, and yet TCR cars racing in the Nurburgring 24 Hours that seem weekend managed stints of 10 laps.

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