TCR International Series - Salzburgring Preview
Just a week after racing at Monza, TCR International Series will continue a championship chase at Salzburgring in Austria, where Round 6 will be held with two Sunday races.
All the drivers who have raced at the Salzburgring have a lot of respect for this old-fashioned circuit that lies at the bottom of a narrow Alpine valley surrounded by spectacular peaks. The combination of long straights with fast corners and a tricky chicane always results in the fastest average speed for any kind of racing cars. And this also means that mistakes are both easily made and cost dearly.
The programme at Salzburgring will follow the usual pattern: Saturday will feature two thirty-minute Free Practice sessions and one thirty-minute Qualifying, split into Q1 (20 minutes for all drivers) and Q2 (10 minutes for the fastest twelve in Q1). The two 15-laps races will then take place on Sunday, at 12.35 and 14.05 (CET).
There are 16 cars on entry list. All standard drivers are on it, plus Dutch Bas Schouten who will rejoin the championship at the wheel of a Seat Leon run by the Bas Koeten Racing in cooperation with ST Motorsport. Beside 10 Seat Leons there are three Honda Civic of West Coast Racing, two Opel Astras of Campos Racing and one Ford Focus ST of Proteam Racing.
Leading driver in championship standings are Gianni Morbidelli. He scored maximum points at Monza by claiming pole position and winning both races, so this weekend his Honda Civic will be laden by 30 kgs of Success Ballast. Craft-Bamboo Lukoil Seat Leon of Jordi Gené will be laden by 20 kilos of ballast, while the 10 kilos of extra weight for the third best scorer will be allocated to another Seat driver Andrea Belicchi.
Russian driver Sergey Afanasyev (Team Craft-Bamboo Lukoil) will be dropped five places on the grid of the first race because an investigations conducted after races at Monza concluded that the he was guilty of causing a pile-up at the Roggia Chicane that eliminated Michel Nykjær and Mikhail Grachev in the later stages of the first race.
Another enquiry following the Monza races resulted in the Stewards imposing two reprimands to Gianni Morbidelli for two separate incidents involving Stefano Comini in laps 7 and 11 of the second race. Comini was very angry because Morbidelli wasn’t punished and announced that he will revenge at the track.
“I may well not finish the championship due to the budget and one of the last races I will do is probably Salzburg. Morbidelli will really have to be careful there. If I am around him then I will do my own private justice, because this just isn’t right. I wish I didn’t have to do this, but this is unfair. I’m not sure he will finish the races”, said Comini in an interview.