Corner speed the key to success for SEAT Sport in Brno Brno is a racing circuit well liked by the SEAT Sport drivers and, despite its 13 straights (five of which are long) and uphill sections that don't ideally suit the SEAT Leon, the team...
Corner speed the key to success for SEAT Sport in Brno
Brno is a racing circuit well liked by the SEAT Sport drivers and, despite its 13 straights (five of which are long) and uphill sections that don't ideally suit the SEAT Leon, the team hopes that it can repeat its 2006 performance in the Czech Republic by qualifying on pole and finishing on the podium in both races.
Last year Gabriele Tarquini qualified on pole and Yvan Muller finished 3rd in each WTCC race, and together with Jordi Gene, Tiago Monteiro and Michel Jourdain Jr all five of the official SEAT Sport drivers will face the same challenge -- having to exploit the superb chassis of the SEAT Leon and push extra hard in the 15 corners to ensure a good lap time. But with tyre wear to consider, it will be a delicate mixture of speed, late braking, aggression and finesse.
Tom Coronel, the SEAT Netherlands powered by SEAT Sport official driver, will be hoping to get back to his Brazilian form (where he finished 6th and 8th) at Brno and score more points in the main Drivers' category, while four more SEAT Leons will continue to race in the Independents' Trophy -- including two more cars from the GR Asia stable, driven by Emmet O'Brien (Ireland) and Maurizio Ceresoli (Italian). An injured Roberto Colciago will miss Brno, as the SEAT Sport Italia driver hasn't recovered from dislocating his shoulder after slipping on a wet floor in Pau. Massimiliano Pedalà (below) will drive Roberto's car at Brno instead. No such worried for Pierre-Yves Corthals, who will race his SEAT Belgium Leon.
Xavier Serra, SEAT Sport Race Engineer: "After three years of competing at Brno, together with the winter test, we know the track and we know the pros and cons. I have to say that it's not really a SEAT track, but on the other hand we have some parts where the Leon is very fast; lots of long corners where the Leon chassis is a definite advantage. The uphill sections are the biggest negative for us -- long stretches where other cars are stronger. Having said that, we were on pole position last year and so anything's possible. The most important thing for us at Brno is suspension; it's a long circuit with plenty of changes in direction and so the race engineers will all have to get the set-ups absolutely right."
Yvan Muller: (SEAT Leon nº12): "I had a good result in Brno last year, but I think we need more power there more than any other circuit that we go to. On paper, it looks good for the BMWs - I think it will be tough but we'll all do our best. As for ballast, I'm not the heaviest but I'm not the lightest either, so I don't really think that'll be a handicap or an advantage -- we'll just have to wait and see."
Gabriele Tarquini (SEAT Leon nº 11): "To be honest, Brno isn't my favourite track but in qualifying we can be very strong there. Tyre wear is very high there and so BMW will be very strong in the races. I hope it will be cool or a little wet -- that'll help us for sure. Also, weight will be an issue at Brno; it definitely matters more than at a lot of the other tracks, but I'd be happy if we're heavy because that means we're doing well!"
Tiago Monteiro (SEAT Leon nº 18): "I'd never been to Brno before the winter test, and it went very well. I got used to the track very quickly; it actually reminds me of my favourite track which is Spa-Francorchamps and it's very nice and demanding for a driver. With more experience of the car and some good results behind me now, I hope it'll be a good track for me. It's a long lap, but it's the same for everyone. I still have a lot to learn about the WTCC but it's very equal between us and every driver enjoys this kind of good fight."
Jordi Gene (SEAT Leon nº 9): "Normally, I get quite good results at Brno over the past few years. It's a circuit where you need good medium speed, which is exactly what the Leon has. The chassis works really well there, but the biggest problem is the ups and downs of the landscape. You need a lot of power in the engine not to lose time, but it's a reasonable track for us, I think. BMW has the advantage of rear-wheel drive, so they use their tyres better, but something like cool temperatures could make all the difference."
Michel Jourdain Jr (SEAT Leon nº10): "I think Brno is a fantastic track; I like it a lot. It's very fast with a lot of nice corners. The test wasn't that great for me because I was still learning the car, as I still am, but I really hope that I can be competitive there. I will be the lightest SEAT driver there, which should help me a little, but I'd actually be happier if I was as heavy as the others."
Yvan Muller: +40kgs
Gabriele Tarquini: +25kgs
Tiago Monteiro: +30kgs
Jordi Gene: +15kgs
Michel Jourdain: +0kgs
-credit: seat sport