Tough Valencia for Team Ford Hotfiel Sport VALENCIA, October 2nd, 2005 -- Team Ford Hotfiel Sport experienced a tough penultimate round of the FIA World Touring Car Championship in Valencia. After both Thomas Klenke and Michael Funke...
Tough Valencia for Team Ford Hotfiel Sport
VALENCIA, October 2nd, 2005 -- Team Ford Hotfiel Sport experienced a tough penultimate round of the FIA World Touring Car Championship in Valencia. After both Thomas Klenke and Michael Funke qualified for starting positions in the lower midfield, both drivers found themselves in the thick of the action -- and suffered from a lot of incidents around them.
Funke joined forces with BMW driver Marc Hennerici in the opening stages of the first heat and made up a couple of places when suddenly the front right brake disc on Hennerici's car exploded, causing the suspension to break and Hennerici to swerve straight into the left door of Funke's Ford Focus RS WTCC. Funke had to come back to the pits for bodywork repairs.
In the meantime, Klenke gained a lot of positions and improved up to 12th position. Then he, too, fell victim to a collision. Klenke said: "I was driving all the way round the outside to make sure I had enough room for the turn and still somebody ran into the back of me. There was nothing I could do to avoid the crash. I was pushed straight into the Alfa of James Thompson, effectively ending the race for both of us."
While Klenke's Ford could not be repaired for the second heat, Funke started race 2 and quickly engaged in a battle with Rickard Rydell and Thompson. The three of them traded paint a couple of times; on one occasion, Thompson hit the left front wheel of Funke. "After that, my steering was out of alignment," said Funke. "I had my work cut out to keep the car on the road and couldn't finish higher than 18th."
Team principal Hans Hotfiel added: "In both free practice sessions, our cars were pretty high up the order, with Funke finishing the second session in second position. That alone shows that the car has got the potential. But as long as we don't manage to make as big a step in qualifying as the others, we are bound to start in the middle of the pack, where an accident is always waiting just around the corner. The key to obtaining better results are better qualifying positions. That's what we all have to work on for the future."
The FIA World Touring Car Championship comes to a close on the infamous street circuit of Macau on November 2nd.