Team Craft-Bamboo Lukoil claimed provisional pole with the fastest time in the first of two qualifying sessions for the Macau Guia races on Sunday but couldn’t capitalize in the wet during Q2. James Nash managed the fastest time of the three drivers in Q2 despite his 30kg success ballast, recording a 3:05.033, which will see him start race one from P7. Sergey Afanasyev was P8 just behind his teammate with a 3:05.264, followed by Pepe Oriola who will start P10 thanks to a lap time of 3:05.396.
All three Team Craft-Bamboo Lukoil cars breezed into Q2 during the dry first session, with Pepe Oriola taking P1 and showing off some incredible pace. Unfortunately, during the short break between sessions the weather turned and the rain began to pour down. After changing all three SEAT Leons to a wet setup, the trio headed out to decide their starting positions for the first Guia race tomorrow. All three pushed their cars but weren’t confident enough with the setup to be able to maximize their performance. Not wanting to risk anything on the soaking track, the team fought the conditions as best as possible before finishing the session and focusing on a strategy for Sunday, which will be to claim the drivers’ championship.
James Nash, Driver #54
“Q1 was dry and fairly simple as we knew we could comfortably get into Q2. It started to rain and things got complicated. The guys did a great job to put a wet setup on the car but it was quite clear that we just didn’t have the grip, braking or traction to be confident. Being fastest in my team with the extra weight is a positive and being P7 is not a negative so I am happy. Just very disappointed to see how quick the VWs were and I think that comes down to BOP.”
Pepe Oriola, Driver #74
“Q1 we had the best pace and I was very confident going into Q2 but then it started to rain and the bad luck struck again. This just isn’t my year and I have had a lot of bad luck. I feel with P10 it is really over now, but of course anything can happen. I am just going to enjoy my race and I am hoping for a podium if I can overtake. We just didn’t have the best setup in the wet, but the 4 second gap to the VWs is ridiculous. I hope everything can be ok for us in the end but we now really have to work together.”
Sergey Afanasyev, Driver #77
“Today was the time to put all our experience together to gain the best position possible. Q1 went really well and I did a good lap straight away and my times just kept improving. By the time we went for Q2 it was raining and we changed to wets. It was incredibly slippery out there and we had to push very hard. The main thing was keeping the car in one piece for tomorrow, so thanks to the team for everything so far. Hopefully we can get a good result tomorrow.”
Richard Coleman, CEO of Craft-Bamboo Racing
“Disappointing session for us. Obviously, everything went very well in the dry taking provisional pole but then with the rain in Q2 we just didn’t have the pace. The drivers struggled with confidence and with the lacking tyre temperature they couldn’t push as hard as they would have liked. We are not out of the fight yet and there is still everything to play for tomorrow and anything can happen in Macau.”
The pursuit of the 2016 TCR International Series title would not be possible without the support of LUKOIL, SEAT Sport, Aspec, Gravity, Orangebus, Team Dynamics and Tunewear.