ETCC: Michael Rossi Braga summary

A rough baptism for Michael Rossi! Michael Rossi had his first taste of the rough and tumble of the FIA European Touring Car Cup on the Braga circuit in Portugal. A bit of pushing and shoving at the start of the two races prevented him from...

A rough baptism for Michael Rossi!

Michael Rossi had his first taste of the rough and tumble of the FIA European Touring Car Cup on the Braga circuit in Portugal. A bit of pushing and shoving at the start of the two races prevented him from making the most of his excellent fourth-fastest time in practice, the best of the three Seat drivers.

His promising performance in practice is the positive aspect to be drawn from this low-key first round of the ETCC on a layout that did not favour the Seats, penalised in terms of top speed in relation to the Hondas and BMWs. Rossi again showed his excellent capacities of adaptation. He was on the pace in the free practice session in the rain, and in qualifying he set the fourth-quickest time on his first run on fresh slicks at the wheel of the Leon TFSI, only a few tenths of a second behind the more experienced James Thompson, Kristian Poulsen and Cesar Campanico.

After that, Lady Luck did not smile on the SUNRED driver. Shortly after the start of race 1, Rossi's Seat and Swede Engstrom's BMW touched at the entry to a corner. This destroyed the handling of the Frenchman's car and he had to make do with sixth place, although he still finished in front of the other two Seat drivers.

The places were reversed to form the grid for race 2, which had a standing start. This suited the traction of the rear-wheel drive cars better. The three quickest BMWs used their advantage to the full and arrived in the first series of corners at a higher speed than their rivals with Thomas Engstrom in his Honda hot on their heels. Michael made a good start and tried to profit from a mistake by Colak from Croatia to retake the lead in the Seat clan. In the melee, he did not see Engstrom's attack coming and the ensuing collision led to his retirement.

"We didn't score good results today; it's a pity but we're not giving up. The aim's also to build on a medium-term basis. The Seat I was racing this weekend is the version that competed in the world championship before the arrival of the diesel-powered models, and driving it on the limit was an enriching experience. I'm hoping I'll be able to take the fight to the quickest BMWs and Hondas at the next event on the Salzburgring in July."

Michael didn't really have time to unpack his suitcases! Hardly had he got back from Portugal when it was time to set off for the Nogaro circuit in the Gers department. The first collective test session for the Seat Leon Super Copa France is starting this Wednesday before the first event in the 'Coupes de Pâques' meeting on 3rd - 5th April.

-source: michael rossi

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Series General
Drivers James Thompson , Cesar Campanico , Kristian Poulsen , Michael Rossi