Numb3rs: 21, 23 and 48

Why that number? That is the question we asked the cast of the WTCR Oscaro. Superstition, tributes, or completely random, each week, and until the end of 2018, we will bring you the story behind each driver’s number.

After the Team Oscaro members, after Comte, Ehrlacher and Vernay, and the three Belgians in the championship, for the fourth episode of the “numb3rs” series, here are the remaining Frenchmen in the WTCR Oscaro:

21 like Aurélien Panis

“Why 21?

To be honest, i wasn’t left with much choice. My team asked if i wanted 21 and i accepted. I don’t think much about numbers. All of them are fine with me. I have never had 21 in my career, but for a first, it’s not too bad.

First time with 21?

At the Race of Morocco in April. It didn’t go very well, neither for me nor my teammates. I retired after a lap in the first race of the weekend, and for the others, i was fighting for fifteenth. It wasn’t a good memory.

And if you had to choose another one? 

Je choisirai le numéro 4. C’est avec ce numéro que j’ai fait mes débuts en monoplace, en Formule 4, en 2011, que j’ai fait mes premiers podiums et connu mes premières victoires en formule Renault dans le championnat européen, en 2014. Le 4 me plaît beaucoup. I’d choose number 4, it’s with this number that i did my debuts in single-seaters, in Formula 4, in 2011, where i had my first podiums and my first victories in Formula Renault in 2014, on the European Championship.”

23 like Nathanael Berthon

“Why 23?

Like all Comtoyou drivers, i had the choice between four numbers, and without much conviction, i took 23. It’s a number which i have already used. I had it for my first career pole position. It was last year in Portugal, for the 4 Hours of Portimao, in a LMP 2 Car. At the time i drove for Panis-Barthez Competition.

First time with 23?

It was in 2017, during the Le Mans 24 Hours. Result? We had to retire (laughs)… 23 hasn’t been particularily lucky for me this year either, so if i can choose something else next year, i’d do it in a heartbeat.

If you could choose something else? 

I think it’s good to drive with one’s own number… If i had the choice, i’d take 111. No particular reason, but i find 1 to be a symbolic number. It’s a number that speaks to me.”

48 like Yvan Muller

“Why le 48?

From the beginning, my number is 68, in reference to my département, the Haut-Rhin. It’s also Yann Ehrlacher’s number since the start of his career. As long as we didn’t race in the same category, it was fine. But this year, we are both in the WTCR Oscaro and we both wanted 68… Since he is starting out in his career and i am towards the end, i decided to let him have it, because i am not superstitious  at all. But i also asked him to find me another number.

He proposed to me number 48. And for several reasons, this number fits me perfectly. First, i am 48 years old, then, if we add up 4 and 8, we get 12, the number for my first WTCC title. Then, if we remove 4 from 8, we get 4, like the number of World Championship titles i have. I don’t know if it’s by chance, but the story was beautiful, so i accepted.

First time with 48?

It was on the Moulay Al Hassan circuit in Marrakech, for the first leg of the 2018 championship. It also marked my return to the World Cup. It went rather well. I finished 11th in Race 1, 9th in Race 2, and 2nd in Race 3.

And if you had to choose another one? 

Today, i’d like to keep 48. But if i am still on the WTCR Oscaro next year and i can’t have it, i’ll take 49, for my age. But really, i don’t know, i don’t have a preference.»

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