2016 Salzburgring, TCR Preview. The battle goes on and Alfa is back
For more info: www.tcr-series.com
Rounds 9 & 10 – Salzburgring, Austria – 4 / 5 June 2016
TCR drivers return to superfast track on the Austrian Alps
The fifth event of the TCR International Series will take place this weekend at the Salzburgring, the high-speed track that lies in the superb setting of the Austrian Alps.
This is one the most demanding circuit for Touring Car drivers, because its combination of long straights with fast corners and a tricky chicane always results in the fastest average speed of the season and significant wear of the front left tyres.
The circuit was built in 1968 inside a narrow valley and its layout underwent very few changes since, although the pit building and paddock were rebuilt a few years ago. For many years (1971/1994) it was home of the Motorcycling Austrian GP and hosts the TCR International Series for the second time.
Actually this is the first time so far in the current season that TCR drivers return on a track they visited last year.
The event kicks off on Saturday, with two 30-minute Practice sessions and the Qualifying, split in Q1 (20 minutes) and Q2 (10 minutes, for the twelve fastest in Q1).
A ten-minute shakedown will take place on Sunday morning, followed by the two back-to-back races.
TCR in Salzburgring – the event at a glance
Lap distance: 4.24 km
Race distance: 15 laps
Grids: determined by Qualifying results (Q1+Q2) with top-10 reversed for Race 2
Timetable: Saturday, 10:00/10:30 Free Practice 1
Saturday, 12:00/12:30 Free Practice 2
Saturday, 15:00/15:35 Qualifying (Q1 + Q2)
Sunday, 09:00/09:10 Shakedown
Sunday, 12:35 Race 1 (15 laps)
Sunday, 14:05 Race 2 (15 laps)
all times: GMT +2
Stefano Comini to carry the maximum ballast
For the first time so far this season, 2015 TCR champion Stefano Comini will have to carry the maximum Success Ballast on board his Leopard Racing Volkswagen Golf Gti.
The Swiss was the best scorer in Imola, with a victory and a third place that, added to fourth in qualifying, brougth him 42 points that will result in 30 extra kilos for the Austrian event at the Salzburgring.
The current championship leader Pepe Oriola of Craft-Bamboo Lukoil, will keep on with the same 20-kilo ballast he had carried at Imola, while the 10 kilos for the third best scorer in Italy will be laden on Mikhail Grachev’s WestCoast Racing Honda Civic.
With these Success Ballasts added to the BoP, the running weights of the three cars will be: 1315 kg for Comini’s Volkswagen Golf, 1345 kg for Oriola’s SEAT León and 1335 kg for Grachev’s Honda Civic.
Cerruti and Fulín will drive two Alfa Romeo cars
After skipping the two previous events in Spa and Imola, Mulsanne Racing will rejoin the TCR International Series this weekend in Austria. At the Salzburgring, the Italian team doubles its commitment and fields two Alfa Romeo Giulietta TCR cars, with Petr Fulín joining the team’s regular driver Michela Cerruti.
During the latest month the Romeo Ferraris engineering company has worked flat out to both develop the Giulietta TCR and build a second car. This phase was completed by a successful test yesterday at Cervesina’s Tazio Nuvolari circuit, where Cerruti and Fulín took the wheel of the two cars that have been significantly upgraded since the latest appearance at Estoril and painted in a bright red.
Said Cerruti: “The team has worked a lot to improve performance, aerodynamics and handling. The most important changes are about the front suspension and the front part of the bodywork, with a new splitter and larger cooling intakes. During yesterday’s test the car proved to be faster and reliable. We will see how much we have improved only when we face the competitors on the track, but I am moderately optimist.”
Twice winner of the FIA European Touring Car Cup (2013 and 2014), Fulín drove the Alfa for the first time. The Czech driver has built himself a solid reputation in Touring Car competitions, and over the last two seasons has switched to front-wheel drive, racing a SEAT León TCR in the ETCC; he was runner up last year and is currently leading the standings.
“Running a second car was one of our goals, and I believe that having an experienced driver like Petr will help the team to make a further step ahead,” Cerruti added.