Team Ford Hotfiel Sport Claim tenth Place on the Streets of Macau
Team Ford Hotfiel Sport equaled it's best result of the season at the final round of the FIA World Touring Car Championship on the streets of Macau. New driver Patrick Bernhardt finished tenth in the second heat on the spectacular street course in the heart of the Chinese city.
The race lived up to it's full reputation and provided a lot of drama and accidents. "We knew that we first and foremost had to make sure we stayed out of trouble," recalls team principal Hans Hotfiel. After both Ford Focus RS WTCC avoided a first-lap incident involving five cars in race one, Bernhardt held 12th place until his left driveshaft broke on lap 6. He drove the car back to the pits where the mechanics send the car back out after a quick repair. Bernhardt finished the first heat on 21st position. Team-mate Michael Funke drove a safe race and stayed in 17th right till the end. But on the way to that position, his engine overheating. He wasn't able to take part in the second race. "The engine temperature rose steadily during the last couple of laps," he sighed.
Bernhardt had to start heat 2 from the back but quickly made up for lost ground. He fought himself up to 15th position. Then, a number of cars ahead of him fell by the wayside. Bernhardt climbed up to tenth. "I was able to push right from the beginning without taking too much risk on a track as tough as this one. In the downtown section, our car was as fast as almost anybody out there."
After another mass collision behind Bernhardt, the Safety-Car had to come out. "But suddenly, the car started to behave strangely in left-hand turns. I asked the team for a quick check-up in the pits. The last thing I wanted was to risk an accident."
The mechanics took a look and sent Bernhardt back out. He only lost one position and finished tenth. "On the one hand, I'm glad that I equaled the team's best-ever result in what was only my first race with them," said Bernhardt. "But on the other hand, I felt that I could easily have finished in the points. Our car was a rocket today.." Hans Hotfiel added: "We are very pleased with the pace of both our cars were capable of doing today. It was a tough weekend -- it always is in Macau -- but we got the best out of it by sticking to our gameplan. It's good to end the season with such an encouraging performance. We always knew our first year in the championship would be difficult. We learned a lot -- and we got a good reward by scoring one of our best-ever results in the hardest race of the year."
-team ford hotfiel