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James Nash prepared for African adventure

James Nash heads to the streets of Marrakech for the fifth and six rounds of the 2012 World Touring Car Championship, looking to continue the development process of the Team Aon Ford Focus.

The 2011 British Touring Car Championship Independent’s Champion will still have the 30kgs of ballast on board the #14 Focus as will his team-mate at Team Aon, Tom Chilton.

“It has been a bit frustrating so far this season,” explains 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.”

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Despite the tough qualifying sessions, Nash has been able to work his way up the field in the races. He was running close to the top ten during the second weekend of the season at Valencia: “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,” added Nash.

The trip to Marrakech marks Nash’s first race weekend of African soil and he is confident that the Team Aon Ford Focus will be suited to the street circuit.

“Marrakech is a street track too which are always fun,” concludes the Milton Keynes-based driver. “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.”

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