Team Ford Hotfiel Sport Gained valuable Experience in Monza Team Ford Hotfiel Sport made the most out of its first appearance in a major international touring car race. The team entered two Ford Focus RS WTCC in the opening round of...
Team Ford Hotfiel Sport Gained valuable Experience in Monza
Team Ford Hotfiel Sport made the most out of its first appearance in a major international touring car race. The team entered two Ford Focus RS WTCC in the opening round of the World Touring Car Championship in Monza and managed to gather valuable information through the course of the weekend, guiding them the way to improve the cars which have only been developed since November.
Thomas Jaeger started the first race from 27th place on the grid. He got off to a flying start, passing five cars right away. "After a few more improvements on the dampers and the camber, the car felt very promising. I could keep up the cornering speed of the others," reported the 28-year-old. However, while trying to improve his position, Chevrolet driver Alain Menu hit him on the second lap, causing Jaeger to run out of road and plough through the gravel. "Once I'd gotten out of there again, I was too far behind to climb back up on the leaderboard." Jaeger finished the first heat in 28th position.
Thomas Klenke also managed a good start from one grid position behind Jaeger. But he had to lift off after two cars collided right in front of him in the first chicane. He dropped back to 31st but felt encouraged by the way his Ford Focus RS WTCC was behaving on the track.
The team had stiffened the rear anti-roll bar and softened the front suspension prior to the race, "and the car was better than it had been all week-end." However, while Klenke was hoping to claw back some positions, his engine suddenly died. "The car just stalled on me and I couldn't get it fired up again," he said. Team principal Hans Hotfiel reckons: "It's either the engine itself or an issue with the drivetrain. We'll only be able to track that down once we're back home."
While Klenke was unable to start the second heat, Jaeger made it to the grid of race two. But he got involved in a first-corner battle between Menu and the privateer Honda of Andriano de Micheli. The Italian spun around and swerved straight into Jaeger, damaging the car's front and ending Jaeger's race in the process.
Even though neither car made an impression in the overall results, Jost Capito, the head of Ford TeamRS, felt encouraged after the debut. "The first event of the WTCC proved that this is a fantastic and very competitive championship and it's good for a privateer Ford team to be involved. We knew we would experience a difficult start because of our tight development schedule. But we saw that almost every step we took with the car marked an improvement. We have gained some valuable experience through the course of the weekend, and I'm sure the team will be in much better shape come the next round in Magny-Cours."