A confident start to the season for SEAT Sport The 2005 FIA World Touring Car Championship got underway this afternoon with a 30 minute qualifying session at a damp, overcast Monza circuit in Italy. The session was ended prematurely when the...
A confident start to the season for SEAT Sport The 2005 FIA World Touring Car Championship got underway this afternoon with a 30 minute qualifying session at a damp, overcast Monza circuit in Italy.
The session was ended prematurely when the Chevrolet of Alain Menu crashed heavily, bringing out the red flags, but by then the three SEAT Sport drivers had succeeded in qualifying their Toledo Cupras in 7th, 8th and 11th places in preparation for tomorrow's opening race of the season.
Best of the three was Jordi Gene, who praised the extensive development work the team had carried out at the recent two-day test at the circuit. Brake balance problems slowed the Spaniard slightly, although he declared himself to be more than satisfied with his performance.
Alongside Gene on the grid for Round 1 will be his Swedish teammate Rickard Rydell, who set his quickest lap despite being held up briefly by one of the Alfa Romeo drivers.
Peter Terting, meanwhile, qualified 11th for his first race for the SEAT Sport team but the young German driver is confident that a finish in the top 8 points-scoring places is more than possible.
Jordi Gene (7th): "The chassis set-up is fantastic; I'm very happy with the work we did here two weeks ago, although I had some slight problems with the brakes which obviously cost me a little time. I have to say, however, that I'm very happy with 7th place and I'm very confident for the races. I won't say I'm over-optimistic, but I thought the best we could hope for from Monza would be to score some points. Maybe I can get even more than that tomorrow."
Rickard Rydell (8th): "I was getting a good tow from two of the Alfas, but Farfus let Tarquini through and blocked me slightly, which cost me a few tenths. It was still my best lap, though, so I'm happy with 8th position - I know I can be quicker in the races. If I'm completely honest, that's actually a little better than I expected, particularly since we've opted for a slightly conservative set-up for the first two race meetings."
Peter Terting (11th): "The session wasn't so bad for me; I had a good couple of tows from other cars. My last lap was really good, but I came up behind Dirk Muller's BMW and he forced me to go a little off-line at one point and so there was no chance for me to improve on my time. I'm not really happy about it, but 11th position in my first race for SEAT Sport isn't bad and so I'm confident about the races tomorrow."
Round 1 begins at 15.10 local time on Sunday, with Round 2 at 16.15. The finishing positions for Round 1 will dictate the grid for Round 2, with the top 8 run in reverse order.