Mexican wave for SEAT Sport at Puebla The 2005 FIA World Touring Car Championship's first event outside Europe will see the SEAT Sport Toledo Cupras start in strong positions after today's 30-minute qualifying session. The team's best...
Mexican wave for SEAT Sport at Puebla
The 2005 FIA World Touring Car Championship's first event outside Europe will see the SEAT Sport Toledo Cupras start in strong positions after today's 30-minute qualifying session. The team's best performance came from Peter Terting; the young German driver missing out on setting the fastest time by just under 0.03 of a second. Unfortunately, the team changed Peter's engine after the second practice session, and so he will drop 10 places on the grid for Race 1 as a result. Also dropping 10 places will be Jason Plato, who struggled with a throttle problem and qualified 10th, but a penalty imposed after the Imola rounds mean he'll start Race 1 from 20th place.
As a result, SEAT Sport honours in Mexico will rest squarely on the shoulders of Jordi Gene and Rickard Rydell. Jordi's qualifying session was nearly brought to a premature end after a collision with the Alfa Romeo of Gabrielle Tarquini while Gene was on a fast lap. An amazing performance by the SEAT Sport mechanics saw them rebuild the front end of the Toledo and so enabled Jordi to qualify 7th. He will, however, start Race 1 from 4th on the grid due to penalties being applied to three of the drivers ahead of him. Similarly, Rickard Rydell will start from 5th place, despite carrying 35kgs of "success ballast".
Jordi Gene (4th): "The session was not very good for me, although at least I'll be starting from fourth place tomorrow. The guys did a fantastic job in getting me back out after the accident with Tarquini, but I can't understand how such an experienced driver wasn't keeping an eye on his mirrors. I should have qualified second -- I was second fastest right up to the last corner, but I'd pushed so hard my tyres were gone and I lost a tenth of a second in the last corner."
Rickard Rydell (5th): "I'm not too disappointed with my qualifying position; after all, I'm running with a lot of ballast. My aim was to qualify in the top eight and I did just that, but I'll be starting from fifth place because of penalties applied to people ahead of me. I think the races will be tough with the safety car out a lot; I'll try to stay out of trouble and score some points, but it will be difficult. I'm really pleased for Peter and his performance -- he's the star of SEAT Sport so far this weekend!"
Peter Terting (12th): "I'm really, really, really happy! After my engine problem, I never thought I'd be second fastest. My first quick lap was spoiled because of the yellow flags for Jordi and my second was spoiled by traffic. I put on a used set of tyres for the third stint and that's when I set the quick time, so I'm really pleased. I've also managed to save a set of tyres for the race, which I'll need if I'm to make a good start from twelfth on the grid."
Jason Plato (20th): "I'm really worried about my engine, and I just hope the engineers can sort it out at this evening. When I open the throttle, the engine cuts out and it's impossible to drive like that. I was left-foot braking everywhere and keeping the throttle open with my right foot. It's going to be very difficult to get a good result tomorrow; it's almost impossible to overtake here because if you go off-line, you lose all grip and crash. It's very frustrating."
In the Michelin Cup for Independent Drivers, Holland's Tom Coronel, driving a SEAT Sport Holland Toledo Cupra, set the fastest time and will start Race 1 from 9th on the grid. Round 9 begins at 13.10 on Sunday, with Round 10 at 14.15 (local time). The finishing positions for Round 9 will dictate the grid for Round 10, with the top 8 run in reverse order.