More vital points for SEAT Sport in Istanbul Run in brilliant sunshine and air temperatures of around 27 degrees, the two rounds of the FIA World Touring Car Championship at Istanbul's brand new Otodrom saw Rickard Rydell increase the points ...
More vital points for SEAT Sport in Istanbul
Run in brilliant sunshine and air temperatures of around 27 degrees, the two rounds of the FIA World Touring Car Championship at Istanbul's brand new Otodrom saw Rickard Rydell increase the points totals of both himself and the SEAT Sport team by finishing in the top 8 in both races.
Starting from 9th on the grid, Rickard Rydell had improved to lie in 6th place after lap 1, which is where he ran for a further 3 laps. Thinking tactically, Rickard then allowed the BMW of Antonio Garcia to pass, which meant that he and Jordi Gené were running in 7th and 8th places and so on course to form an all-SEAT Sport front row for race 2.
The tactics didn't pay off for the pair, however. A bizarre last lap, that saw two of the Alfa Romeos suffer from punctures and so allow Rydell to climb two places, also saw Gené's front right tyre explode, dropping the Leon to 17th position.
Peter Terting's race lasted less than a lap. The young German driver started well, but his Toledo Cupra was hit by Stéphane Ortelli's identical car on the exit to the first corner. The impact pushed Peter into Dirk Müller's BMW and the SEAT limped into the pits at the end of lap 1, too badly damaged to continue.
Rickard Rydell (5th): "I had a good race, I must say; the car was very well- balanced. I went from 9th to 6th on the first lap and I didn't touch another car all race. I let Garcia past, because I thought it would be better for us to finish 7th and 8th and so be on the front row for Race 2, but the last lap meant our plan was gone. I'm happy with 5th, though, and if I can score a few more points in race 2 I'll be even happier."
Jordi Gené (17th): "What can I say? The set-up was not quite as good as we thought it would be, but even so I was really quick in the corners and I was easily able to follow Rickard. When the tyre exploded, I could not believe it. We could have done really well in Race 2, but now it's just going to be a test for me; I have no chance to score points."
Peter Terting (DNF): "I'm furious! I made a good start -- better than Ortelli -- but at the first corner, he made a mistake and went off the track briefly. He kept his foot down and, when he rejoined the track, he drove into the side of my car and pushed me into Dirk. At the moment my car is like a banana and I think I have absolutely no chance of getting a good result in Race 2."
With the top 8 reversed, Rydell started from 4th on the grid, was overtaken into the first corner but then re-passed Garcia's BMW to lie in 4th place at the end of the opening lap. The challenge from the Alfa Romeos -- running with less "success ballast" than Rickard -- then meant the Swede dropped back to finish the race in 7th place, enabling him to pick up another 2 valuable points.
Despite Peter Terting's prediction that a good result was all but impossible, he steadily carved his way through the field, improving a place on virtually every lap. Starting from near the back of the grid, Peter had moved up to 17th place after lap 1, was 14th after lap 3 and lay in 12th position after lap 5. Slowed slightly by battling with competitors in the Michelin Independents' Cup over the final few laps, Terting eventually finished 10th and was unlucky not to get into the points-scoring positions.
Jordi Gené's frustrating day continued when an electrical alarm went off around halfway through the race and the SEAT Sport engineers told him on the radio to come into the pits, rather than risk causing any damage. It had been a useful performance by the new León, however, since the team had changed the set-up prior to Race 2 and so were able to glean valuable information from only the car's fourth competitive appearance.
Rickard Rydell (7th): "I lost one place at the start, but overtook Garcia when I out- braked him into Turn 8. It started out as a good race for me, but with all the weight I was carrying, I couldn't fight with the Alfas and so seventh place was about the best I could do. It's nice to finish both my last two races in the Toledo by scoring points, but I have to kiss the car goodbye now and look forward to competing with the León in Valencia."
Peter Terting (10th): "The race itself wasn't so bad, but the accident meant the car was very difficult to drive; the reactions were very different and the steering wheel wasn't quite straight. I also lost so much time having to overtake half the field, but to finish in the top ten shows the speed was there. I really like the Toledo, but I think the León will be even quicker -- we'll see in Valencia!"
Jordi Gené (DNF): "I was unlucky again -- it really hasn't been a good weekend for me or the car. We changed the set-up between the races and the chassis felt very much better in Race 2, but I had an electrical alarm go off on lap five and the team said to come in. The car felt good and I was starting to have some fun fighting with the others, even if the position wasn't so good. Still, we have to move on and it's my home event -- and the team's -- in two weeks' time."
Jaime Puig, SEAT Sport Director: "It was a difficult weekend for us; we'd certainly hoped for a lot more from Turkey. What should have been a good result for Jordi in Race 1 was ended by a puncture and we don't yet know what was the cause of the electrical alarm coming on in Race 2. For Peter, it should also have been so much better, but at least Rickard was able to score points in both races. What we have to do now is concentrate on preparing for Valencia in just a fortnight's time. All three SEAT Sport cars will be Leóns there, which sets us a completely new challenge."