MAY 16th - Gene claims first ETCC pole for SEAT Sport Following the qualifying session for round 7 of the FIA European Touring Car Championship, SEAT Sport Toledo Cupras will occupy two of the top five positions on the grid for Sunday's opening ...
MAY 16th - Gene claims first ETCC pole for SEAT Sport Following the qualifying session for round 7 of the FIA European Touring Car Championship, SEAT Sport Toledo Cupras will occupy two of the top five positions on the grid for Sunday's opening race.
The undoubted star of the 30 minute session was Jordi Gene, who scored SEAT Sport's first qualified pole position in the ETCC, while Frank Diefenbacher was fifth quickest. Earlier in the day, the two free practice sessions had seen the three Toledos consistently towards the top of the timesheets, with Gene setting the quickest time in the second session. Despite setting the 13th quickest time in qualifying, Rickard Rydell will start race 1 from the back of the grid following his engine change after the Magny Cours race weekend.
Under Championship regulations, an engine must be used for a minimum of two consecutive events and so Rickard decided to use the session as a final test to prepare for Sunday's two races.
Jordi Gene: "The car felt brilliant, to be honest. We made some changes to the set-up between the 1st and 2nd free practice sessions and we knew immediately that those changes were absolutely correct. I started the qualifying session on old tyres and went 3rd fastest straight away, so I knew I could go much quicker on new tyres. Sure enough, once I changed them, I claimed pole position. I feel really happy, because this year we should be looking for some pole positions and some wins. We know we're not fighting for the Championship, but we have to take every opportunity when it arises. This might be SEAT Sport's first pole, but it definitely won't be the last!"
Frank Diefenbacher: "My last stint could have been better, but I got caught up in a pack of cars and even though my lap was clean, it wasn't quick enough to improve on fifth. I'm more than happy with my performance, though, and I'm delighted for Jordi. The first corner could be quite interesting tomorrow, so I plan to keep out of trouble and see what I can do after that."
Rickard Rydell: "I knew about starting from the back of the grid before the session, so we decided to treat it as a test. I went off on my 1st timed lap; that put paid to any chance of a decent time, but I know from this morning's two practice sessions that the car is quick here and so I'm happy with my set-up for tomorrow. I'm also really pleased for Jordi and the fact that we've claimed our first pole." Jaime Puig, SEAT Sport's Motorsport & Technical Director: "I am very happy tonight, because we've been making progress steadily all season; 5th in Valencia, 3rd in Magny Cours and now 1st in Hockenheim. As for tomorrow, I just hope we can avoid the kind of bad luck we've been having recently - you can be sure that I'll be keeping everything crossed tomorrow afternoon!"
Round 7 begins at 14.45 on Sunday, with round 8 at 15.45. The finishing positions for round 7 will dictate the grid for round 8, with the top 8 run in reverse order.