ETCC: Dubai: SEAT Sport qualifying notes

SEAT Sport well placed for season's final races Qualifying for Round 19 of the 2004 FIA European Touring Car Championship, at the magnificent setting of Dubai's brand new Autodrome, witnessed some of the closest performances of the season, ...

SEAT Sport well placed for season's final races

Qualifying for Round 19 of the 2004 FIA European Touring Car Championship, at the magnificent setting of Dubai's brand new Autodrome, witnessed some of the closest performances of the season, with all three SEAT Sport drivers qualifying within 1.23 seconds of the pole-setting time.

Qualifying was so close, in fact, that Rickard Rydell will start the race in 7th place on the grid, with Jordi Gene 11th and Frank Diefenbacher 12th. All three of the SEAT Sport Toledo Cupras had their fair share of dramas during the thirty-minute session and all three drivers predict that the dry desert sand, being blown across the track surface, will cause problems for the year's final pair of races. Air temperatures of around 41 degrees Celcius will also make driving conditions unpleasant.

Rickard Rydell: "I have to say that I'm happier now than I was a little earlier. I've been struggling with understeer in the slower corners all day, but we think we know where the problem is and we should be able to fix it before the races. I also came across traffic on one of my quick laps, so I'm actually quite happy with seventh. Grip is going to be a big problem tomorrow - one lap is good and then the next one is not. My aim is to take points in both races, which I know will be very exciting!"

Jordi Gene: "It was a very bad session for me and I have to say that it was totally my fault; I went off twice on exactly the same corner. I was pushing really hard, got two wheels onto the grass and lost about half a second. When I came in for tyres, I said to the guys that I knew where I'd lost the time and then went and did exactly the same thing again! I know I can do better tomorrow, but tonight I'm not very happy. We have a saying in Spain - 'a man is the only animal which kicks the same stone twice!'"

Frank Diefenbacher: "I can't believe it; another qualifying just like so many others this year! I was quick in practice this morning, but looking at the data I look to have lost about three tenths of a second per lap. I was very happy with my driving, but now I'm worried about the performance of the engine. After all the problems I've had this year, I really want to end the season with a good result."

Round 19 begins at 12.30 local time on Friday, with Round 20 at 14.00. The finishing positions for Round 19 will dictate the grid for Round 20, with the top 8 run in reverse order.

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Series General
Drivers Frank Diefenbacher , Rickard Rydell , Jordi Gene