Gilles Magnus has continued his run of success in the WTCR − FIA World Touring Car Cup by capturing his second title in as many seasons despite only turning 22 in the summer.
Supported by the RACB National Team initiative from the Belgian ASN, Magnus added the WTCR Trophy for independent racers competing without direct financial support from a manufacturer to the Junior title he won in 2020.
The Belgian talent was also one point away from winning the Junior award for a second season only for contact at WTCR VTB Race of Russia last month to put the Comtoyou Team Audi Sport driver out of the action and hand the crown to Luca Engstler instead.
Looking back on his 2021 campaign, which included a breakthrough outright race victory in his Goodyear-equipped Audi RS 3 LMS, Magnus said: “My performances have been good, the team and Audi Sport has seen that. I’ve helped my team-mate [Frédéric Vervisch] as much as I could in the last few races. That’s positive and I can be happy.
“We’ve had a lot of ups and downs, we’ve had quite a few DNFs or last-row starts due to technical issues or problems in Qualifying. This cost us the possibility to even fight for the [overall title] because at a certain point we were in the fight. Missing out on the Junior title by one point was painful but we should not focus too much on that. Obviously congrats to Luca. Consistency paid off so I can only congratulate him.”
Magnus secured the WTCR Trophy title one event ahead of schedule after he completed the WTCR Race of Italy weekend out of rival Tom Coronel’s reach. Coronel was also part of the Comtoyou Racing structure, competing under the Comtoyou DHL Team Audi Sport banner, and eventually finished second to Magnus after claiming seven category wins to the nine scored by Magnus. The Dutchman trailed his Belgian rival by 29 points in the final WTCR Trophy table.
For 2022, Magnus hopes to continue the impressive progress he’s made throughout his international touring career with team-mate Frédéric Vervisch, who placed runner-up to Yann Ehrlacher in the provisional overall WTCR standings, a major source of inspiration and motivation.
“I think a big part of that is experience,” Magnus said of taking the next step. “If you just look at the pace most of the time I’m there. Okay, I’ve had a little bit of bad luck, but it’s not only bad luck. I have to be honest about that, it’s experience and making the right decisions at the right moment. This is something Fred is doing very well due to his experience and I think I have improved a lot on that during this season. For sure I can learn a lot from Fred and this is good for the future. I will be as good as him one day.”
GILLES MAGNUS’S YEAR IN NUMBERS
WTCR wins: 1; WTCR laps led: 17; WTCR Trophy wins: 9; WTCR Trophy points: 143