Team Ford Hotfiel Sport made a big step forward with the Ford Focus WTCC in the two heats of the second FIA World Touring Car Championship event in Magny-Cours today. Both Thomas Jaeger and Thomas Klenke improved their lap times by 1.5 seconds in...
Team Ford Hotfiel Sport made a big step forward with the Ford Focus WTCC in the two heats of the second FIA World Touring Car Championship event in Magny-Cours today. Both Thomas Jaeger and Thomas Klenke improved their lap times by 1.5 seconds in the second heat after adjustments to the cars' suspension settings.
Jaeger had to start the first heat from the back of the grid after the stewards clarified the new engine rules. Track temperatures of more than 40C caused his front tyres to wear rapidly, which meant Jaeger could only defend 24th position.
For the second race, the engineers hardened the front dampers and adjusted the air pressure on Jaeger's second set of tyres. "I was able to drive the car on the same level over a significantly longer period of time after this," reported Jaeger.
The 28-year-old from Munich got involved in a long fight with BMW factory driver Alessandro Zanardi, whom he eventually managed to leave behind. Jaeger finished 22nd. "It was pretty hard work in the closing stages because I had overridden my front tyres in the fight with Zanardi."
Klenke had to lift off a couple of times in the opening lap of race one to avoid collisions ahead of him, which cost him a few positions. He managed to move back up the order until he lost the car on an oil patch, sliding into the side of Stefano Valli's BMW and breaking the Ford's right front damper in the impact. The mechanics changed the part and adjusted the set-up of Klenke's front suspension, too. "Unfortunately, Marc Hennerici spun me around in the early stages of heat two, which again cost me a few spots. After that, the car ran faultlessly." Klenke finished 23rd.
Eberhard Braun, the German motorsport manager of Ford TeamRS, summed up: "We saw that our development work on the rear suspension really paid off here. The fact that we were suffering from understeer was mainly caused by the very hot track temperatures. All the front wheel drive cars had to make do with a certain amount of understeer today. The massive improvement in lap times from heat one to race two showed that we are working in the right direction. We just need time and kilometres to fully understand the car and the requirements of the WTCC format and to make full use of the car's potential."