The World Touring Car Championship heads to PortimÃ£o in Portugal this weekend for Rounds 9&10, Norbert Michelisz heads in to this leading the Rookies Challenge. Today saw him suffer a disappointing test session, finishing seventeenth, almost 2 and a half seconds off the pace.
“It was terrifying how understeered the car was with the first set of tyres, it was like I had used these tyres all season long. I couldn’t properly turn into the corners and accelerate out of them, the first wheels always blocked. I think this was also due this bad state of my tyres” he said, when asked about the lack of grip.
“Then I came back into the pits to adjust the car, we put on another set of tyres and unfortunately one of the mechanics eased off a tube and the turbo pressure fell down. It was a bit like a 1.6 Golf with an atmospheric engine. The car was still going on but I could feel that reaching 5th and 6th wasn’t that easy. I tried to slow down and do another timed lap but I felt that it is pointless so I opted to come back into the pits. I’m sorry for that because the car was seeming to be much better with the 2nd set of tyres.”
Unfortunately it would seem as though this session was wasted, something Michelisz agreed on, “I think yes, sadly. I couldn’t drive the car under circumstances that would show how competitive we are or how far we are from the top but seeing that such a main component was not working properly on the car, this 2.5 seconds is not that much.
With an easy fix required, the Zengo-Denison Team driver has every right to look forward to tomorrow, however with vital setup time wasted, it could be difficult to make up ground “I’m optimistic for tomorrow but we couldn’t step forward in terms of car setup. We adjusted the differential that I think cost a little bit too much time, maybe it would have been better to get a bit more mileage. I felt that the car’s behavior changed completely with the 2nd set of tyres, I thought that it would have been faster by 2 seconds but there was a lack of power after Sector 1.”
With temperatures expected to be in the high 20’s early 30’s, car and driver performance could be affected. “think it was even hotter in Marrakech, here it wasn’t feeling that hot because there is wind. The slipstream is extremely important, I felt that there was a headwind in the main straight and it was a huge help when I was behind somebody. I hope I won’t need to find a train of cars on qualifying because it would ruin our strategy. The other drivers made several mistakes and didn’t look after each other as they should have done. The qualifying will be interesting.”