Yvan Muller SEAT León TDI no. 12
SEAT took the two front spots of the starting grid for the first of two races of the World Touring Car Championship to be staged tomorrow at the Cheste racetrack in Valencia. After three dry practice sessions the rain showed up a couple of minutes before the qualifying. Under especially complicated conditions for everyone, SEAT Sport drivers Yvan Muller and Gabriele Tarquini clocked the two quickest times of the session and will be starting tomorrow from the two top spots of the grid.
Yvan Muller and Jordi Gené went onto the track right after the lights turned green in anticipation of more rain and set the two fastest times. No one was able to push the French SEAT driver from the leading position for the rest of the session. A short red-flag interruption gave a break to the participants and during the last few minutes Gabriele Tarquini was able to clock a fast lap that moved him up to second. Under the chequered flag, one Chevrolet drivers was able to pass Gené, who finished fourth.
Rickard Rydell and Tiago Monteiro were victims of the state of the asphalt, and two off-tracks without major consequences sent them back to the 11th and 17th positions respectively. José Manuel Pérez Aicart, in his world championship debut as the winner of the 2007 Supercopa finished 18th behind Yves Corthals and ahead of Tom Coronel.
Yvan Muller: (SEAT León TDI no. 12), 1st: “I tried to be very fast in my first attempt because looking at the sky it was obvious that the track conditions were going to get worse so I made a fast time right away. It would be good for us if it rains during the race, since it would be much easier for us to defend our expectations”.
Gabriele Tarquini (SEAT León TDI no. 11), 2nd: “I set my best time towards the end because the conditions during qualifying were very difficult. My car’s settings were very good and to tell you the truth, the track conditions helped us because it would have been almost impossible to get a place on the front row on a dry track. The effectiveness of our chasses and the progressiveness of the TDI engine have allowed us to be fast even under the worst conditions.”
Jordi Gené (SEAT León TDI no. 9), 5th: “Better than expected. Too bad it stopped raining because I was doing quite well on the wet and I was second. The track dried during the last ten minutes and I wasn’t able to do a fast lap. The fifth fastest time is OK and it gives me good expectations for tomorrow’s races”.
Rickard Rydell (SEAT León TDI no. 10), 11th: “I’m not at all satisfied with my practice result. I hope to improve tomorrow and to be among the top eight in the first race”.
Tiago Monteiro (SEAT León TDI no. 18), 17th: “Things have gone very bad. We thought that despite the wet track we would be able to keep the set-up of the free practices. It’s been a mistake because I had no grip and the conditions were very difficult. I enjoy driving on a wet track but nothing worked out this time”.
1. Y. Muller (SEAT TDI), 1’58”816
2. G.Tarquini (SEAT TDI), 1’59”514
3. R.Huff (Chevrolet), 1’59”624
4. J. Gené (SEAT TDI), 1’59”902
5. A. Priaulx (BMW), 1’59”941
10 R.Rydell (SEAT TDI), 2’00”407
15. P.Y.Corthals (SEAT WTCC), 2’01”366
16. T. Monteiro (SEAT TDI), 2’01”743
17. J.M.Pérez Aicart (SEAT WTCC), 2’01”821
18. T.Coronel (SEAT), 2’02”332
Eurosport will be broadcasting both WTCC races tomorrow, the first race at 11.45 h in Eursport-2 and the second at 15.00 h in Eurosport.