SEAT Sport sees red at Macau Today's 30 minute qualifying session for the final rounds of the FIA World Touring Car Championship was halted on no fewer than four occasions, with the SEAT Sport team particularly badly affected by the string of ...
SEAT Sport sees red at Macau Today's 30 minute qualifying session for the final rounds of the FIA World Touring Car Championship was halted on no fewer than four occasions, with the SEAT Sport team particularly badly affected by the string of accidents. Unluckiest of the three SEAT Sport drivers was Rickard Rydell, who was on a flying lap when he came around one of the Macau street circuit's slower corners to find the Alfa Romeo of Gabriele Tarquini across the road after bouncing off a barrier.
With nowhere to go, Rydell's SEAT Leon hit the Alfa and blocked the track, leaving Rickard with a headache and slight neck pain and the front of the car badly damaged. Both Jordi Gene and Peter Terting then fell victim to a string of other red flags. Jordi had driven the first few laps running ahead of Rickard, to give the Swede the benefit of an aerodynamic "tow", but when it came to Gene's turn to go for a quick lap, his tyres were past their best and he went off twice.
On fresh rubber, his chances of improving on 15th place were then continually frustrated by accidents, with the session finally being halted after the fourth red flag period. It was a similar story for Peter, whose first visit to Macau had been marred by a brush with a barrier during the second free practice session. A cautious start to qualifying then saw the young German set the 21st fastest time before the rash of red flags began to appear.
Rickard Rydell (7th): "I wasn't happy with my first few laps, because the car was oversteering and so we made a few changes. When I went back out, I was immediately half a second up and was about a hundred metres behind Tarquini, getting a tow from him, when I came around a second gear corner and he was across the track in front of me. There was nowhere to go; I hit him and I went from 85kph to zero in no time. I know the car is quicker than my qualifying time, but now it all depends on whether the guys will be able to fix it."
Jordi Gene (15th): "It's amazing - the situation was a circus! On the first few laps, we tried to help each other, but when it was my turn to get a tow from Rickard I went off twice because my tyres were fading. Then it was just like a race, with everyone fighting with each other because of the red flags every few minutes. We need a tow here; it's worth probably seven or eight tenths of a second per lap, but if the races are like qualifying it will be a complete lottery anyway."
Peter Terting (21st): "What can I say? It was completely crazy! After the damage in free practice, I went quite steady to check out the car during the first lap and then on my first quick lap, I was two seconds faster when the session was red-flagged. That's how it was until the end; come into the pits, go out, red flags, come in again. At least I know the circuit now, but it'll be impossible to do anything from 21st on the grid. This is Macau, though, and as today has shown, anything can happen here!"
Round 19 begins at 12.05 on Sunday, with Round 20 at 13.20 (local time). The finishing positions for Round 19 will dictate the grid for Round 20, with the top 8 run in reverse order.