N.TECHNOLOGY AIMS FOR POINTS AT PORTO None of the FIA World Touring Car Championship (WTCC) drivers have driven at next weekend's street circuit, Porto, so N.Technology Alfa Romeo knows the race to learn the circuit is anyone's game. The...
N.TECHNOLOGY AIMS FOR POINTS AT PORTO
None of the FIA World Touring Car Championship (WTCC) drivers have driven at next weekend's street circuit, Porto, so N.Technology Alfa Romeo knows the race to learn the circuit is anyone's game.
The Italian team is looking to build on its street circuit performance at the Portuguese track, which has not been used for a world championship in around 50 years.
Both N.Technology Alfa Romeo's drivers achieved respectable positions through the streets of Pau, France and the following round in the Czech Republic, but with two race wins already this year the Alfa Romeo 156 racers know their car is capable of much more.
James Thompson will have to overcome the 30kg success ballast he will carry thanks to his superb Spanish performance, whilst 23-year-old Olivier Tielemans aims to continue his improving form.
Having had to learn four different tracks already this year, the Dutchman has had plenty of practice and is confident he can score some crucial points in Portugal.
"Obviously having everyone in the same situation helps," said Tielemans. "But a good driver will only need two or three laps before knowing the track. I think I'm pretty quick at learning new circuit though, I was second fastest in free practice two for Valencia and that was only my second time out on track!
"Street circuits are pretty hard but I did well in qualifying for Pau so I know I can do it and I'm really looking forward to a second go! I've got a really good feeling about this race; every time I get in the car it feels better and better.
"Each time we race or do a shakedown, I come away feeling more comfortable in the car, which is such a positive thing. I spent quite a bit of time analysing my races in Brno to see what I could improve on and where I can be quicker. It's the best way to deal with a disappointing race and can be a lot more useful than having a quick race and simply being happy with the result -- although that's nice too!"
Team-mate Thompson is equally optimistic, putting his faith in the car's continuous development and the team's determination to score more points.
"I think there are more overtaking opportunities than in Pau so we should be in for a good weekend," said the 33-year-old. "Porto has no big curves or bumps like Pau which should help but it's hard to know what our performance will be like beforehand.
"The car is definitely better than in France but we did suffer a failure during qualifying there, which was very unlucky. Otherwise, the straights aren't very long which will stop any real aerodynamic advantage, but I don't think that will stop us from doing well. We are definitely bringing a point-scoring car to Porto!"
Eurosport's live WTCC coverage begins Saturday 7 July with qualifying at 16:00 (CET) followed by race one on Sunday at 10:55 (CET) and race two at 17:00 (CET).
Live streaming will also be available for both races on www.eurosport.com and www.fiawtcc.com.