Porto: WTCC news in brief
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ENGINE CHANGE FOR MONJE’S CAR
The Campos Racing team decided to change the engine on Fernando Monje’s SEAT León car.
This was a precautionary measure following an overheating that occurred during today’s qualifying session.
As a consequence, the Stewards have imposed to Monje a grid penalty that will drop him from 20th to the last spot of the grid for tomorrow’s Race 1.
TIMING MISTAKES RESHUFFLE POSITIONS
Following mistakes in timing, wrong (and slower) lap times were allocated to Gabriele Tarquini and Pepe Oriola during today’s Q2 qualifying.
Tarquini’s and Oriola’s actual times of 2:06.172 and 2:06.414 moved them up to fifth and sixth respectively in detriment of Thompson who slipped from fifth to seventh.
As a consequence of the reshuffle, Coronel slipped to 11th and lost the pole position on the reverse grid for Race 2 that was inherited by James Nash.
THOMPSON DELIGHTED WITH FIFTH PLACE
James Thompson’s fifth place in today’s session marked LADA’s best ever result in the WTCC qualifying.
The Briton was absolutely delighted and commented: “We’re all over the moon! We didn’t have the most auspicious of starts to the day – we were three seconds off the pace this morning and there was a lot of head scratching between the sessions. We couldn’t make the changes we wanted and so my engineer Marco Calovolo had to get his magic wand out and sprinkle a little bit of lucky dust on the car for Qualifying and away we went. We changed a massive amount between Free Practice 2 and Qualifying and we were really pleased with the job we did. I have to say a massive thanks to the team – they literally used every minute between the end of FP2 and the start of Q1 – and it’s really nice to reward them with a decent result. The very nature of this track means it’s very difficult to overtake and so I’d rather have track position. We were staring down the barrel of a gun after Free Practice and to find a lap like we did in Q2 was just fantastic. To finish fifth was brilliant and we’ll try to hold position for as long as we can.”
MONTEIRO’S HUGE DISAPPOINTMENT
Tiago Monteiro’s Saturday on his home racetrack ended in a huge disappointment for Porto’s local hero.
Betrayed by a technical failure, Monteiro missed the cut for Q2 and will start both tomorrow’s races from 17th position.
The Portuguese driver explained: “We had a turbo failure this morning in Free Practice 2 and the timeframe to change it was quite short unfortunately and so it was a little bit rushed. The turbo was changed but there were some other issues and I couldn’t make one single proper lap because I had to come in all the time with a loss of turbo pressure. It was very frustrating because this is my big event. I will have to try to overtake a few cars tomorrow and give a good show. When it happened in Free Practice, I thought ‘at least it’s not Qualifying’ and then everything went like it did. We knew things like this would happen in the first year; the car is only ten months old and the performance is there but we have to sort out some reliability issues. The team is doing a great job, as always, and we have to trust them to find a solution for tomorrow. There is lots of pressure on me this weekend; lots of demands, lots of public and lots of fans. It was a great feeling until then, I was very motivated because of that and focused on my Qualifying to fight at the front.”
NYKJÆR REMEMBERS SIMONSEN
The wording ‘In memory of Allan Simonsen’ accompanied by the Danish flag is sported on the windscreen of Michel Nykjær’s Chevrolet.
The Danish driver, who set the third fastest lap in today’s qualifying session, is paying homage to his fellow countryman who perished last week in a race incident occurred during the Le Mans 24 Hours.
“We were both the same age, we used to compete together in go-karts when we were young and we both had young daughters. It was very sad for me to see him die,” a touched Nykjær said.
THEY SAID, THEY SAID…
Quotes from the three fastest drivers after today’s qualifying at Porto Boavista.
Yvan Muller – pole position
“Driving on this type of city track is always more complicated – we lose more energy than anywhere else, plus the temperatures inside the car with the helmet, overalls and underwear is something like fifty or sixty degrees. We used our experience from two years ago, but the track has changed a little bit since then. Then, the part between Turns 10, 11, 12 and 13 was new but now the grip is much less. Also the second chicane is slightly different and the track – especially at Turn 2 – is more bumpy now. Compared to two years ago, in some places we are faster and in some we are slower. On my first attempt in Q2, I had huge oversteer at Turn 12 and probably got to within about one centimetre of the barrier. That’s why on my second attempt I lost a bit of time in that section because I was a bit more cautious. My best lap was still fast enough to be on pole position, so I am happy.”
Tom Chilton – 2nd
“Like Yvan, I also had a huge moment at Turn 12. We both changed the setup and we both held on for dear life and I’m just very happy I made it round. I took loads of risks and I was bouncing off barriers, so I couldn’t have used any more road if I’d have tried. As Yvan said, the circuit is a little different this year and there’s a massive bump on the apex to Turn 2. I really tried to hit it in the first Free Practice session and balance the car on the brake and throttle, but it just drifted further and further and I hit the wall quite hard. I saw Pepe (Oriola) try to do half of what I did in Q2 and he hit the wall; no-one can use that inside, it’s too bumpy.”
Michel Nykjær – 3rd and 1st in Yokohama Trophy
“This is a bumpy, technical track and if you push too much you are in the wall. The thing is, if you are going on the limit and you want to be P1 you have to be pushing hard. After Free Practice, we have made a major step up; we were very fast in Q2 on old tyres and so we then put new tyres on, but I was catching Gabriele Tarquini and that spoiled my lap a little bit. I have a good feeling for tomorrow. We are fast now and I thought I can make a better lap – I came into Turn 19 in Q1 sideways but my lap time was still quite fast, so I thought if I didn’t slide I could improve the time. It was a fun Qualifying for me and I’m very happy to be P3.”
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