TEAM FORD HOTFIEL SPORT PRODUCES BEST PERFORMANCE OF YEAR IN QUALIFYING FOR HOME RACE OSCHERSLEBEN, August 27th, 2005. Team Ford Hotfiel Sport made a big leap forward in qualifying with its Ford Focus WTCC cars prior to Sunday's seventh round of...
TEAM FORD HOTFIEL SPORT PRODUCES BEST PERFORMANCE OF YEAR IN QUALIFYING FOR HOME RACE
OSCHERSLEBEN, August 27th, 2005. Team Ford Hotfiel Sport made a big leap forward in qualifying with its Ford Focus WTCC cars prior to Sunday's seventh round of the FIA World Touring Car Championship in Oschersleben, Germany. Thomas Klenke sped to 10th on the grid, while his team-mate Michael Funke was 16th despite having to abandon his last attempt on fresh tyres.
Funke had already topped the overall leaderboard in both free practice sessions in the morning. "That was a very welcome boost for the spirit in our team," noted team principal Hans Hotfiel.
Klenke wasn't too happy in the free sessions. "The rear of the car was a little loose. We had to change the springs for the second session. But in order to save tyres, we did as little running as possible in the second free practice," he said.
In qualifying, both drivers improved as the session went on. Klenke climbed up to 11th with his third and last set of fresh tyres. "That's quite a good result but I could have done even better," the 38-year-old from Lemgo insisted. "On my second run, I had a big slide in the 'Shell-Esses' after I braked too late. There was no way I could have made up that huge a loss over the rest of the lap. And on my last set of tyres, the grip at the front axle wasn't as good as on my previous outings."
Funke, too, felt there was more in the car than he achieved. "I had a big moment in the 'Shell-Esses' where I nearly went off the road in what would become my quickest lap. I'm sure I lost more than four tenths in that corner alone." Funke couldn't complete his last qualifying attempt because data revealed the oil pressure went down. The team called him in after his warm-up lap in order to check the engine.
Because BMW driver Joerg Mueller was penalised ten grid positions after an infringement at the recent round in Spa, Klenke will move up to tenth on the grid -- an all-time best ever since Team Ford Hotfiel Sport entered the FIA WTCC. Funke's 16th place remains unchanged from Mueller's penalty.
Team principal Hans Hotfiel was delighted after his team's best performance so far: "Of course it's a big help that we know this track very well. But I wouldn't call it home advantage -- I'd rather say that we are on even terms with all the other teams for the first time this season. We know the track, we know how the car is working on this track -- and we proved that the improvements me made during this summer's testing are indeed paying off as we expected. With a little bit of luck, we could be in for a good result in the races. So far, this weekend is exactly what we've been aiming for."