Gene gives SEAT Sport Leon its maiden victory After an overcast morning, the sun came out in time to witness Jordi Gene giving the new SEAT Sport Leon its first win in front of the team's home crowd, with Peter Terting also finishing on the...
Gene gives SEAT Sport Leon its maiden victory
After an overcast morning, the sun came out in time to witness Jordi Gene giving the new SEAT Sport Leon its first win in front of the team's home crowd, with Peter Terting also finishing on the podium in Race 1.
Jordi Gene drove a faultless race to record the SEAT Leon's first ever victory in the WTCC on only its third appearance in the series. Starting from pole position, Jordi successfully defended an aggressive move from Dirk Muller going into the first corner and then never looked like losing the race. He led from start to finish and crossed the line to the resounding cheers of one of the largest crowds of the season.
Peter Terting, making his debut in the Leon, finished 3rd after running in 2nd place until lap 6. Still learning the new car, Peter's set-up wasn't quite to his liking and the SEAT Sport mechanics worked to change the handling in readiness for Race 2.
Rickard Rydell's race was effectively ended on the very first corner. Robert Huff's Chevrolet made contact with the rear of Rickard's car, pushing it into the BMW of Jorg Muller and breaking the Leon's steering. Rydell struggled on until lap 6, but had dropped to 18th place and so had no real option but to come into the pits.
Jordi Gene (1st): "It was great -- there's nothing more I can say! The key was the start; after that, everything went perfectly. I made a slight mistake on Lap 3, when I got a little bit sideways, but otherwise there were no problems. We've shown the car has real potential and the Championship is a possibility next year, that's for sure. Thanks to everyone at SEAT Sport for doing such a fantastic job."
Peter Terting (3rd): "For me, the race was not so bad. Okay, I finished third, but the set-up was far from perfect. The car was understeering badly after the second lap, which is why I lost the position. I'm pleased to finish on the podium in my first race with the Leon, and we've shown that the car has a very bright future. I have very little experience in the car and so things can only improve still further."
Rickard Rydell (DNF): "Going into the first corner, Robert Huff pushed me into Jorg Muller and something broke, so my race was over after only one corner. The steering and something in the front suspension were broken; the guys have fixed them, but from twenty-something on the grid I don't know what I can do. I'm disappointed not to score any points, but delighted that the team got a first and third in their home race."
The twisty Valencia circuit provides very few overtaking opportunities and all three of the SEAT Sport drivers discovered that fact to their costs in Race 2. Starting from the back of the grid, a frustrated Rickard Rydell slowly worked his way through the field to finish in 11th place, but failed to take any Championship points away from the Spanish rounds of the WTCC despite demonstrating the new car's undoubted pace.
Peter Terting was on course to score points for the second time in the afternoon until lap 12, when he was hit by the Honda of Adriano de Micheli going into Turn 1 -- a move that earned the Italian a drive-through penalty. Jordi Gene was also involved in an incident with de Micheli, with the SEAT's steering rack being bent when the pair touched. Peter eventually finished 12th, with Jordi in 14th position. Marc Carol, the 20-year-old winner of last year's SEAT Supercopa, finished 8th and so picked up a single Drivers' point. His drive, in a SEAT Sport Toledo Cupra, had been part of his prize for winning the 2004 Leon championship and his successful WTCC debut was yet another high point in a weekend that belonged to the SEAT Sport team, to the delight of an estimated 41,000 Spanish fans.
Rickard Rydell (11th): "I had a good start and I then had to fight hard all the way up to eleventh place. I passed a lot of cars -- that's the positive side to the weekend -- but on the other hand, I didn't score any points. I'm happy that we obviously have the pace, so the potential is there, but I'm unhappy that my weekend really ended on corner one of lap one."
Peter Terting (12th): "I changed the set-up quite a bit and the car was much quicker. Unfortunately, I had exactly the same problem as Jordi -- it was almost impossible to overtake anywhere on the circuit. I was in seventh place when the Honda hit me in turn 1. He got a drive-through penalty for that, but that doesn't matter to me; I finished twelfth, but it should have been sixth or better."
Jordi Gene (14th): "It was quite a good race, especially at first. I could lap quicker than the group in front of me, but there was nowhere for me to overtake any of them. The first time I tried to pass, I lost a place and then I touched de Micheli and bent the steering rack when I tried again. We've shown the car can win, but we clearly need more power to be faster in the straights."
Marc Carol (8th): "I'm very happy to have scored a point in the WTCC. I want to thank the SEAT Sport team, the RACC and the Circuit de Catalunya for allowing me this experience. It's been fantastic to have been a part of the team this weekend." Jaime Puig, SEAT Sport Director: "A very, very good weekend -- probably our best ever! I'm very happy that our Supercopa winner has scored a point in the World Championship and we're all very proud of Marc. On behalf of all of us at SEAT Sport, I would like to dedicate this weekend to everyone at SEAT for doing such a great job with the Leon."