"No one to blame" for Valente/Tarquini crash in Slovakia
Lada teammates Hugo Valente and Gabriele Tarquini have refrained from criticising each other after their clash in the opening race in Slovakia.
The Frenchman, having started from reverse-grid pole, was trying to recover from a difficult getaway when he made contact with the Italian.
Last year, when Valente was at Campos and Tarquni raced for Honda, the duo had a serious falling out after a collision during WTCC's Shanghai round.
However, there was much less drama this time around, as Valente explains: “It was a difficult situation to judge.
“I have my point of view and he has his own. We were side by side from Turn 3 to Turn 7 and then we got to the hairpin.
"This track is very large in some places but it’s very narrow there, so there was not enough space for both of us and we made contact."
Valente admitted he was initially upset with the collision, but after speaking to his teammate, the Frenchman understood Tarquini's point and agreed the accident was unavoidable.
“I was angry at him at first because I lost my race and he had no problems, but to be honest there’s no one to blame for that incident.
"It was always going to happen, nobody wanted to give up. It’s a shame because I had a lot of grass in my front bumper and the temperatures went sky high, so I lost a lot of speed on the straights."
Meanwhile, Tarquini, who went on to finish fourth, said the move was not intentional and only a racing incident.
“We were side by side for half the track, and we were in a place where we couldn’t both go through.
"He was unlucky because he had the outside line. Of course he is disappointed, but it’s only natural. There was no intention to take him out.
"He said I could have let him through, but this concept is not in my mind, I was on the grass and I couldn’t have gone more on the inside. These things happen."
Catsburg elated with best result
Lada's Nicky Catsburg showed strong pace during the weekend, which materialised in the main race, when the Dutchman was on course for his maiden WTCC win until the final lap.
Catsburg went from first to third on the last lap, having been passed by reigning champion jose Maria Lopez and current points leader Tiago Monteiro.
“I struggled with my tyres and when I saw Pechito [Lopez] closing in I hoped he would leave me in the lead because he has won enough!”, the Dutchman joked.
“I am still very happy with the podium, I would have loved to win but third was not bad for us,” said a smiling Catsburg.
The Lada driver is wary of success ballast coming into play in Hungary, but feels the Russian squad has made constructive progress.
“It’s difficult to say because the weight will play a role, but I think it’s clear we made a good step and everyone can see that.
"We probably should have scored more points in the first two races, but let’s see where we are in Budapest. Hopefully we will be able to do well."
Monteiro expects "different story" in Hungary as Honda picks up ballast
Lopez says Slovakia win was "a miracle"