Rydell claims Czech pole for SEAT Sport
In the thirty minute qualifying session for Round 9 of the FIA European Touring Car Championship, Rickard Rydell claimed his first qualified pole position for SEAT Sport; the team's second qualified pole in as many race weekends.
Adding to the team's delight, Jordi Gene - carrying 10kg of ballast after his successes in Hockenheim - will start the race from 4th place on the grid, while a frustrated Frank Diefenbacher qualified 9th.
The top three drivers were separated by just four thousandths of a second when, with around two minutes of the session remaining, Rydell stormed around the Brno circuit a full half a second faster than the pack. Throughout the day, the pace of the SEAT Sport Toledo Cupras had been clear to see, with Gene quickest during the 2nd practice session.
Rickard Rydell: "The first couple of laps weren't fantastic. I had some understeer, but when I came in for new tyres, we also changed the set-up slightly. That really improved the balance and I made up a lot of time in the second half of the lap. We've done a lot of work on our qualifying performance, but now we have to concentrate on our race pace. The rear-wheel drive cars may well be quicker off the line, but you can be sure that I'm going to try my best to lead into the opening corner and take the first win for SEAT Sport."
Jordi Gene: "I made some changes after the second practice and the car worked well. The 10kg ballast I'm carrying normally means losing about a tenth of a second per lap, so without it I would have been second behind Rickard. Anyway, that's how it is but I'm very happy for Rickard and the team; two poles in two weekends is fantastic news!"
Frank Diefenbacher: "My congratulations to Rickard and Jordi for a great job. I don't actually have much to say about my performance. I thought I'd done a good lap time, but it wasn't so quick after all. When you don't test, you don't perform and I haven't tested much recently, but I have a test after this weekend and then we'll see." Round 9 begins at 14.45 on Sunday, with Round 10 at 15.45. The finishing positions for Round 9 will dictate the grid for Round 10, with the top 8 run in reverse order.