ETCC: Imola: SEAT Sport qualifying notes

SEAT Sport frustrated by red flags at Imola Following today's 30 minute qualifying session, round 15 of the 2004 FIA European Touring Car Championship will see the three SEAT Sport Toledo Cupras battling with the Alfa Romeo team for podium places.

SEAT Sport frustrated by red flags at Imola Following today's 30 minute qualifying session, round 15 of the 2004 FIA European Touring Car Championship will see the three SEAT Sport Toledo Cupras battling with the Alfa Romeo team for podium places. Jordi Gene will start the first of tomorrow's two races from 4th place on the grid, with Rickard Rydell 7th and Frank Diefenbacher 12th. The session was red-flagged with around 10 minutes remaining and the interruption caused problems for both Gene and Rydell, who were on quick laps when the incident occurred.

A mix-up then resulted in Rickard being sent out on the same tyres after the restart and so an unhappy Rydell was unable to improve on the time he set early in the session. Frank Diefenbacher fared even worse and ended the session in 12th place, complaining of varying levels of grip. Jordi Gene was more fortunate, focusing his energies into a single flying lap, and so will start Race 1 as the best non-Alfa driver.

Jordi Gene: "I feel very good - to be honest, it feels like I'm on pole position! I was on new tyres when the red flags came out; I was so angry when we restarted that I put all my efforts into the lap and I'm very happy with the result. All three of the Alfas are surprisingly fast here and, if they have no problems tomorrow, there's no way I can beat them. These races can sometimes be lotteries, though, so you can be sure I'll be trying!"

Rickard Rydell: "The team sent me out on the same tyres after the restart, so my best time is from very early in the session. Normally, you get quicker as the session goes on but, even though the car felt very good, I had no chance to improve my time because of the tyres. I'm naturally disappointed, but I have to focus on the races now. The car is easily good enough to get on the podium; it all depends on what the Alfas do."

Frank Diefenbacher: "It wasn't a good qualifying session for me and I'm not at all happy. I've been up with Rickard and Jordi all weekend, but the grip level changed and I was really struggling towards the end. The whole car was jumping around and even with new tyres, I couldn't improve on my time from lap 2; you know something's wrong if that happens! I think the best I can do now is to aim for 8th place in Race 1."

Round 15 begins at 14.45 on Sunday, with Round 16 at 15.45. The finishing positions for Round 15 will dictate the grid for Round 16, with the top 8 run in reverse order.

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Series General
Drivers Frank Diefenbacher , Rickard Rydell , Jordi Gene