Eve of The Battle
Three Questions To: Simon Harrison
Simon Harrison, 34 years old from Cambridge, has joined the FIA European Touring Car Championship this year. At the wheel of an independent Honda Civic Type-R car run by the Hong Kong-based GR Asia team, alongside Toni R. Ruokonen from Finland, Harrison is now facing his home race meeting.
Q: In the first part of the season you and the team struggled to be competitive; however in Hockenheim and Brno there was an evident progress. Do you expect to make another step forward in Donington?
SH: "The car has not been fast in the first part of the year, and it was a big problem for us to try and improve it when the races were so close together. We made a good step forward in Hockenheim, and now the car is much safer to drive. Donington is the first circuit on the calendar we've actually been round before. It's a big plus, one less problem to deal for. Hopefully it will represent a change up of gear for us, and I want to qualify in the high teens."
Q: After Brno the team managed to have a proper test in Brands Hatch, where you completed 40 laps, clocking good times. Were you happy with this test?
SH: "Yes, I was quite happy. Straight away, the pace of the car was very good if compared to a British Touring Car lap time. On our first run of the day the lap time would have been quick enough to qualify inside the top ten on the BTCC grid. The test enabled us to further pin-point the main areas on the car to be improved. And after the test we got back to the factory and worked to rectify as many of these problems."
Q: Then, what are your expectations for Donington and for the rest of the season?
SH: "In Donington I want to begin to look forward an Independent podium. Beginning to scrap with the front runners of the Trophy, maybe starting with some of the Oregon cars. I wish to make a clear improvement on the car, and I think this is achievable. But I'm already looking forward to Spa. We had a four week gap before Donington, we'll got another month before Spa. You may think I want to keep racing, but in fact I'm eagerly waiting for those gaps, which are precious for testing and improving the car. I want to cause a suprise in Spa, and start really challenging for an Independent podium. My goal is this: top three for Spa."
HOCKENHEIM AND BRNO RESULTS WERE DECLARED FINAL
After Brno, the FIA Technical Delegate Lionel Carre checked the engine of Dirk Müller's # 43 BMW Team Deutschland BMW 320i, and found it: "in conformity with its homologation form and with Article 263 of Appendix J". Between Hockenheim and Brno, Carre had already checked the engines of Gabriele Tarquini's # 1 AutoDelta Alfa Romeo 156 and Jordi Gené's # 9 SEAT Sport SEAT Toledo Cupra. Both had also been found to conform. As a consequence, the results of the FIA ETCC rounds 7 and 8, held in Hockenheim on May 16th, and the results of the FIA ETCC rounds 9 and 10, held in Brno on May 30th, were declared final by the Panel of the Stewards.
RS-LINE SKIP DONINGTON, BUT WILL BE BACK IN SPA
RS-Line Rotpunkt Sport decided to withdraw both their Ford Focus ST170 cars from the Donington Park meeting. The German team have met with a number of technical problems in the first half of the season, and entered only one car for Sebastian Grunert in the previous meeting at Brno. "We prefer to focus on testing, in order to develop the car and solve its reliability problems," team manager Rainer Stiefel explained. "We will rejoin the championship in Spa, and we will finish the season with both cars."
ZANARDI MEETS AMPUTEE MARSHAL
Tomorrow afternoon in the BMW hospitality, Alessandro Zanardi will meet Steve Tarrant, an amputee motorsport marshal. Four years ago, Tarrant lost his right leg when he was hit by a race car during the Goodwood Festival of Speed; an accident that cost the lives of the driver and another marshal. "He sent me a few messages right after my accident at Lausitzring, which were both moving and encouraging. And when he contacted me again a few months ago, saying that he wished to meet me personally at Donington, I was very pleased, and we arranged the meeting," Zanardi said.