A podium finish and more points for SEAT Sport Saturday and Sunday saw central France basking in glorious weather, with both days witnessing air temperatures of around 30 degrees Celcius and clear blue skies. Race 1 Rickard Rydell scored the...
A podium finish and more points for SEAT Sport
Saturday and Sunday saw central France basking in glorious weather, with both days witnessing air temperatures of around 30 degrees Celcius and clear blue skies.
Rickard Rydell scored the first podium finish of the season for SEAT Sport when he finished in 3rd position.
A good start by Andy Priaulx saw the BMW driver snatch Rydell's 2nd place going into the opening corner and the remainder of the 12 laps saw Rickard successfully defend his position from repeated, determined attacks by the Alfa Romeo of Gabriele Tarquini.
Also in the points was Jordi Gené, who battled with both Augusto Farfus and Dirk Müller throughout the race before finishing 7th; tyre wear in the second half of the race meant Gené was content to allow Müller to pass and settle for the 2 points.
Less happy was Peter Terting, who finished just outside the points. The young German driver had battled with the Alfa of Fabrizio Giovanardi throughout the race, finally claiming 9th position on the very last corner.
Rickard Rydell (3rd): "I'm happy with my performance, although naturally I'd have liked to finish one or two steps higher on the podium! I had a little wheelspin off the line, which allowed Priaulx through; after that, I just concentrated on keeping Tarquini behind me. My tyres went off a little around a third of the way through the race, which meant my wheels were locking up slightly, but that was my only problem. I really don't have the pace to get onto the podium in Race 2, so I'm aiming to score as many points as I can."
Jordi Gené (7th): "The race was okay -- I made a good start and I got involved in a few good fights! At one point, I got up to sixth place, but my tyres started to go and so I let Dirk past. My aim was to finish in the top eight and I wasn't going to risk that by fighting for an extra point. My target now is to finish on the podium in Race 2, but it'll be tough. I've got Farfus and Dirk around me on the grid, so I might have to take a few risks!"
Peter Terting (9th): "For me, the race wasn't so bad. I lost one or two places at the start when I tried to stay out of trouble, but I soon caught Giovanardi again and I fought with him for most of the race. It was almost impossible for me to overtake him -- he had really good speed on the straights -- but I got alongside him going into the final chicane and I was on the inside. He tried to shut the door, but I had the line and he had to go over the kerb. My aim is to overtake a few people and get at least a point in Race 2."
Jordi Gené's hopes of equaling Rickard's podium finish were short-lived. The Spaniard had dropped to 6th place by the end of the opening lap and was then embroiled in a series of battles before finally finishing 6th and securing two valuable Championship points.
Both Peter Terting and Rickard Rydell finished outside the points; Terting in 10th place and Rydell one position behind his colleague. Peter was particularly unhappy at being hit by the Alfa Romeo of Giovanardi on the opening lap and then having to fight his way back through the field, while Rickard was concerned at a lack of straight-line speed which saw him lose time compared to his two team-mates.
In the Michelin Independents' Cup, the SEAT Toledo Cupra of Holland's Tom Coronel won the category by finishing 12th. Afterwards, Coronel was quick to praise the SEAT Sport mechanics and engineers, who helped to rebuild the rear of his car after it was extensively damaged in an accident during the morning warm-up session.
Jordi Gené (6th): "The race in general was quite good for me. My only mistake was at the start, when I lost two places, but I had some great fights with the Alfas after that. The BMWs were in a different category; I'm happy with my speed compared to Tarquini and James Thompson, but I'm just amazed at the performance of the BMWs. This wasn't a good circuit for them last year, but their speed this year was incredible."
Peter Terting (10th): "I made a good start and moved up a place, but Giovanardi bumped me off the track and I dropped to fifteenth. It was really hard fighting back from so far down -- I had so many contacts, my steering wheel was knocked off-line at the finish! I easily had the same speed as Tarquini and Farfus, which made what Giovanardi did all the more annoying. At the moment, the BMWs are just too fast, not only for us, but for the Alfas as well."
Rickard Rydell (11th): "I have to say that I'm disappointed with the second race. To score six points from Race 1 was great, but I was really hoping for a few more! I was just too slow on the straights compared to the other two; when I was in the tow from Peter's car I was losing maybe two car lengths, so it's clear that we have to make some changes before the next races in two weeks time."
Jaime Puig, SEAT Sport Motorsport & Technical Director: "I must say that we are happy with our performance and the fact that we were fighting with the Alfas this weekend, but it's clear that the BMWs are in a different championship. The organisers will have to look at the rules regarding engines and transmissions in order to make this a more even series for everyone. My congratulations to Tom Coronel for his win; I'm very pleased for him, especially after what happened this morning."