ETCC: Magny-Cours: Eve of the battle

Eve of the Battle: Magny-Cours Three Questions For: Alessandro Balzan The third meeting of the FIA European Touring Car Championship has a special meaning for Alessandro Balzan, who switches from the Honda Civic Type-R he drove in Monza and ...

Eve of the Battle: Magny-Cours
Three Questions For: Alessandro Balzan

The third meeting of the FIA European Touring Car Championship has a special meaning for Alessandro Balzan, who switches from the Honda Civic Type-R he drove in Monza and Valencia, to a brand new Honda Accord 2.0i, built and run by JAS Motorsport.

Q: A debut in Magny-Cours was your goal since the beginning of the season. Was it difficult to respect the plan?

AB: "After Valencia, the team has worked 24 hours a day for one week. They didn't even go to sleep to finish the car and bring it here in Magny-Cours, as it was planned. They deserve a big hand, because when you build a brand new race car, it is not an easy task to respect the plans. I really hope I will be able to thank them with a good result on Sunday."

Q: What do you expect from the Accord's first outing?

AB: "For me is like starting a new championship. The new car might have the same engine and gearbox as the Civic, but it is totally different for the driving feelings. It is difficult to fix a goal for this first event, because we only have done a few laps in Adria on Tuesday. I don't want to make any predictions; I just want to see what we have, and try to cover more kms as possible. As a matter of fact this is our first real test."

Q: What do you expect from the following events of the season?

AB: "The car has everything to be competitive, and it was amazing that it did not suffer from any problems -- not even a lesser one -- during the first test. Now it's up to us to find a good feeling and a good set-up for the different tracks. What I can say is that I'm very pleased to be third in the Independents Trophy after the first two meetings with the Civic. Now, with the Accord, I expect to do a lot better."

Facts And Figures
- Cars which have passed scrutineering 25
- Manufacturers represented 6
- Driver nationalities 11
- Former ETCC champions racing 2
- Rookie drivers 11

Paulien Zwart: "I Want To Be Back in Donington"

Further to her accident, which happened on Monday while she was testing a BMW Compact Trophy car, Carly Motors' lady-driver Paulien Zwart is still lying in the trauma unit of the Nevers hospital. Paulien is suffering from a broken right ankle and a double fracture to her pelvis, and she will be moved on Monday to an hospital in Amsterdam.

Despite her injuries, she's in an excellent spirit: "I'm happy because we have Eurosport in the hospital, then I will be watching the ETCC races on Sunday." Today she has received a special gift: a poster of the Magny-Cours event signed by all the other ETCC drivers.

Paulien said that she wishes to be back as soon as possible: "The doctors told me I have to rest for three months, but my goal is to be back in two months. I will try my best to get back at the wheel in Donington, at the end of June."

The FIA Medical Delegate, Alain Chantegret commented: "It may be possible, because the fractures she suffered are not as bad."

In Magny-Cours, Paulien will be replaced by her father. 53 years old, Klaas Zwart is a very experienced driver; a former owner of the Ascari sportscar team and the reigning European champion in the Euro Boss series for old F1 cars with a 1997 Benetton-Judd. Klaas will skip the next event in Hockenheim, due to the clash with the historical Grand Prix in Monte Carlo, but he will be back in the ETCC following meeting in Brno.

-fia/etcc-

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