bamboo team fight back from qualifying woes at the Hungaroring
THE bamboo engineering team felt the pain from a tough qualifying session at Round Five of the FIA World Touring Car Championship in Hungary.
But drivers Alex MacDowall and Pasquale Di Sabatino fought on in the sunshine at the Hungaroring, MacDowall scoring a ninth and an 11th and Di Sabatino bringing home a 12th and a 15th in their Chevrolet Cruze machines.
At a track where a good qualifying result is vital for a decent race position, MacDowall got off to a good start when he made it into Qualifying Two on Saturday afternoon. But in the second 10 minute session he made a mistake in the final sector of his fast lap, dropping half a second. As a result he lined up 11th on the grid for both races, and had been chasing two top six finishes when Sunday’s races got underway.
Di Sabatino meanwhile was paying the price for a mistake in the first session, and lined up in 17th spot for the races. As a driver who is stronger under race conditions, he was confident he too could make up a number of places when the flag dropped.
As Race One got underway, both drivers managed to avoid the various dramas at the first corner to make it through cleanly. Alex had got a solid start and was up to eighth, while Pasquale had seared through to ninth.
The pair remained together for the first three laps before Pasquale dropped a few places, and fell back to 12th. From here they kept the same places all the way to the chequered flag.
But Race Two wasn’t quite so good for the pair. Alex dropped one place in the opening lap but made a move on Darryl O’Young a lap later to move back to 11th. He held the place from here all the way to the end.
And it was a similar story for Pasquale, who got another good start and had been up to 15th at the start of Lap Two. Despite falling back a place to 16th which he held for most of the race, a move on Aleksei Dudukalo’s SEAT in the final lap saw him cross the line 15th.
MacDowall admitted he was disappointed with the results, but vowed to move on. “It was one of those things, had I not made that mistake in qualifying it would’ve been very different. I lost 0.5secs and if that hadn’t happened I would’ve been seventh and third on the grid for today’s races.
“We also struggled with the tyres in the races, they were dropping off in the final five laps. We did the best job we could and now we just need to look forward to Austria in a fortnight.”
Di Sabatino meanwhile, was happy with his Race One pace. “The first race was good, I had a great start and I think the improvements are showing now,” he said. “Each time I go out I learn more about the car and I hope we can build on what we have learnt here to move further forward next time.”
Team Principal Richard Coleman believes the team were on the back foot after qualifying. “We paid the price of a poor qualifying session,” he said. “Both drivers know they could’ve done better had they qualified higher up.
“Alex rues his mistake in Q2 because he could’ve been seventh and third, and Pasquale knows it wasn’t his best performance. We come home learning from these mistakes and we know where we need to focus our efforts when we get to Austria in two weeks’ time.”