James Nash heads to race in Africa for the first time this weekend for round three of the WTCC, hoping that the unpredictable nature of the Marrakech street circuit will enable him to score a good result.
Nash and Team Aon have had a tricky baptism in the world championship so far, with non-homologated suspension parts meaning they are running with extra ballast to their rivals until a replacement part can be fitted.
“It has been a bit frustrating so far this season,” said Nash. “To date we've had to carry a lot of extra ballast and it has held us back from where we should be. Particularly so in qualifying, even taking into account the fact that the Ford Focus is brand new and we're only at the very early stage of its development.
“In the WTCC unless you can qualify in the top ten you can almost write your weekend off before a racing wheel has turned. The competition is that tight towards the front. Nevertheless, we have been making some real progress with the Ford Focus but you'd be forgiven for thinking we hadn't when we're qualifying P14 or P15 and finishing races 12th.
“The team has been working very hard and we have now made the new parts that would allow us to remove the extra ballast. Unfortunately Marrakech has come around a bit too soon and we haven't yet been able to track test them. It is essentially for reasons of safety therefore that we're not going to use the new parts this coming weekend, a decision made by the team that I fully respect. We should though be able to test after Marrakech so all being well we will have a lighter race car for the next event.
“Marrakech is a street track too which are always fun. Street tracks have a habit of throwing up one or two surprise results, probably because nobody can test there beforehand and I hope that I can be one of the surprises. Qualifying in the top ten would be a good start and will be my primary aim.”