ETCC: Magny-Cours: SEAT Sport race notes

Saturday's warm sunshine and clear blue skies made a welcome re-appearance on Sunday morning, although rain was forecast. Despite increasing cloud cover, the weather remained dry for the first race but it began to rain as the grid formed for race...

Saturday's warm sunshine and clear blue skies made a welcome re-appearance on Sunday morning, although rain was forecast. Despite increasing cloud cover, the weather remained dry for the first race but it began to rain as the grid formed for race 2. Race 1 Starting from 3rd place on the grid, Frank Diefenbacher dropped a place at the first corner but then collided with Andy Priaux's BMW which forced the SEAT to drop to 12th place.

The steering had been damaged as a result of the collision and broke completely on lap 7, causng the German driver to retire. The SEAT Sport mechanics were able to replace the steering rack and repair the bodywork damage, enabling Diefenbacher to start race 2.

Jordi Gene began the race from 15th position and steadily picked his way through the field to score valuable points by finishing in 7th place, which meant he'd start race 2 from 2nd on the grid. Not so lucky was Rickard Rydell. The former British Touring Car Champion started from 9th on the grid and had worked his way up to 6th place by the end of lap 5. On the following lap, his engine failed and the Swede was forced to park up.

Jordi Gene: "My start wasn't as good as normal, but the race itself was great! I was quietly making my way up the field and was putting pressure on one of the Alfas when he spun, which lifted me to 7th. I was thinking about trying to move up another place, but I didn't want to risk a non-finish so I stayed where I was. I'll start race 2 from 2nd on the grid behind Priaux; I know he'll make a good start, but I'm confident of a good result."

Rickard Rydell: "I knew the car was good after yesterday and I passed Giovanardi's Alfa under braking quite easily. I then closed the gap to Tarquini and could have passed him too, but the engine just stopped on lap 6. I'm obviously disappointed, since a top 4 finish was more than possible, especially when you see what happened to Jordi. I reckon we had the most consistent car today and I know we can win soon." Frank Diefenbacher: "My start was okay, but Priaux got ahead of me. Coming up to the 2nd corner, I was just behind him when I saw him make a mistake. I got alongside him and he just turned into me. I drove five or six laps with damaged steering, but then the rack broke and that was that. I'm quite disappointed, because when you look at my start and what Jordi did, I could have done really well. Still, there's still another race to come and so I'm going to do all I can to get some points."

Race 2

Jordi Gene started race 2 strongly. As he'd predicted, Priaux made a good start, but the SEAT Sport Toledo Cupra was 2nd at the end of the first lap and looking threatening. The threat was to be short-lived when an electrical problem slowed the car on lap 2 and Jordi finally pulled up on lap 3. Starting from the back of the grid after his non-finish in race 1, Frank Diefenbacher had made his way up to 16th place after the opening lap.

The young German driver snatched another three places on lap 2 and, with ten more laps remaining, the points finish he'd forecast looked more than likely. However, the third lap also saw the end of Frank's race when mechanical failure forced him to retire while challenging for 12th place.

Jaime Puig, SEAT Sport Motorsport & Technical Director: "It's a real shame, because the whole weekend up to the races was so good for us; we showed that we are clearly much closer to the others. The next step for us is very simple – we must finish the races! Once we get back to Barcelona, we'll strip and check everything to find out exactly what happened, but with only two weeks until Hockenheim and then another two weeks before Brno, we don't have a great deal of time on our hands."

-seat-

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About this article
Series General
Drivers Frank Diefenbacher , Rickard Rydell , Jordi Gene , Jaime Puig