Magny Cours - 20 April Race One Rickard Rydell No.60: Grid 8th Finish 4th James Hanson No.61 Grid 14th Finish 14th After starting 8th on the grid, Rydell was soon up to 4th place following an accident shortly after the start and then some...
Magny Cours - 20 April
Rickard Rydell No.60:
James Hanson No.61
After starting 8th on the grid, Rydell was soon up to 4th place following an accident shortly after the start and then some problems with the Nissan of Rustad and an Alfa. Rydell comfortably held on to fourth place for the whole race keeping the two BMWs of Muller and Ekblom at least a second behind.
Unfortunately for Hanson, his first race in the Volvo S60 was not so successful. In trying to make up for a poor start from 14th on the grid, he went off on the first lap, but managed to avoid any damage and to keep the car going and complete the race gaining valuable experience in the new car.
While Hanson experienced a couple of minor problems with his gearbox, Rydell's race was problem free with no sign of the problems which had affected him earlier in the week in practice and qualifying.
Rydell's fourth place means he will now start third on the grid for the second race while Hanson will start 14th.
"I thought before this race, that if I could take part in both races, then I would be happy. I had a good start and managed to keep the BMW, which was alongside me on the grid, behind me, which is good as the rear wheel drive BMW normally gets a very good start. I tried to stay with the Alfas but they were too fast and we are down a little bit on straight line speed. Otherwise, the car was good, very well balanced throughout the race. There was no problem with pick up which is normally a problem with a front wheel drive car, so we are not changing anything."
"I didn't get a good start off the line, I had too much wheel spin then I lifted off the throttle and engine died. The rest of the lap, up to the second chicane was fine. I tried to catch a BMW but took too much speed and oversteered through the chicane and ended up in the gravel. It was good to get some miles in the car. There were a couple of minor problems, but I'm looking forward to a better second race."
After starting third on the grid, with some faster cars behind him, Rickard Rydell drove a great race to finish in fourth place.
After dropping back to sixth place, Rydell first overtook the BMW of Ekblom on lap seven to take fifth place and then closed on the battle for third between the BMWs of Muller and Ekblom. In the second half of the final lap, Rydell managed to overhaul Muller as the two cars literally touched wing mirrors as they battled to hold their lines.
Starting near the back of the grid, Hanson's luck did not improve after he was taken out of the race by an Alfa on lap 2. Thankfully there was only minor damage to the car.
The team now has two weeks to prepare for the next round of the ETCC at Silverstone on May 6, a home race for the Prodrive-run Volvo S60 Racing Team.
"That is one of the most fun races I have had for a long time! From the start, the Alfas just drove around the outside of me, there was no way I could keep them behind me. They had more power and they can out accelerate you from the corners and down the straight.
"With the BMW of Ekblom, I was almost as fast on the straight. I stayed behind in his slipstream and got pulled along. The problem was that I was going faster than normal and hitting the limiter, so I couldn't really overtake. There was one lap when I dummied to go outside and then went inside and he didn't close the door, so I braked really late and if he had turned in we would have come together.
"With Muller, I stayed on the inside again so he thought that I was going to try and outbrake him, but I couldn't brake any later than he did and then we came around the corner side by side. I managed to get the inside line and battled to keep it for the next corner."
"On the second lap I got taken off at the third corner hairpin. I turned into the corner and was about to get back on the power when I got collected by one of the Alfas.
"I was losing a little to the BMWs and Nissans on the straights, but was making it up in the braking and was hopeful of getting in touch with the Bigazzi Alfas."
Dave Benbow, Volvo S60 Racing Team manager:
"Before this weekend we realistically thought that if we could get some top six finishes that it would be a reasonable start to the season.
"When we came here, we didn't really know where we would be in terms of performance as nobody had been together in their full Super 2000 specification. We did anticipate that Alfa would be quick and that has been the case; they clearly seem to have a lot more power and so does the BMW. We have some work to do and tomorrow is the first day of our efforts to get us up where we need to be."
Olle Odsell, Volvo motorsport director
"I think we did very well to score points in both races for Rickard. It was important for the first race that a number of manufacturers can be in the top six and that is what has happened. For Rickard to come fourth in the second race was a brilliant drive so it shows his and the car's capability.
"We now have some work to do to improve for the next race and the others will do the same, so it will be tough."