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Mixed Brazilian weekend for STR

Special Tuning Racing saw their drivers; Darryl O’Young and Tom Boardman have mixed fortunes during the Brazilian round of the 2012 World Touring Car Championship.

For O’Young, he finished the Qualifying session as the second best SEAT on the grid in seventh overall, a result which would leave him fourth on the grid for the second race of the weekend.

The Hong Kong racer held his position off the rolling start and had an uneventful race out on the track; he however had issues with the gearbox inside the #20 SEAT Leon but was able to bring the car home seventh overall and third Independent.

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Having brought the car home, the team then had to change his gearbox within the 15 minute repair time between the two races to allow him to take up his second row starting position.

The team just missed the 15 minute mark and O’Young had to start from the pitlane. O’Young then retired from the second race as the gearbox issue hadn’t gone away.

“It was not a fitting finish to the weekend we’ve had here in Brazil,” explained O’Young, who is eighth in the Yokohama Independents’ with 34 Championship points. “STR had done a fantastic job all weekend and we’ve had very strong pace throughout.  The car performed extremely well during the qualifying and races, unfortunately the gearbox let us down today.”

“The problem already came mid way through race 1, with the problem being our 3rd gear.  It gradually became worse throughout the race so I took the car a step back to get it to the finish line.  Although it is our best finish of the season, it isn’t a good mood since we know we could’ve achieved more this weekend.”

“With that being said, we’ve made fantastic progress and most importantly, we have the pace to compete.  Although the USA race is 2 months away, I’m already thinking about it and I hope to carry the form we had here in Brazil over to Sonoma,” concluded O’Young.

For Boardman, the Brazilian race weekend marked his second race with the new 1.6T engine and he used the practice sessions to get more mileage under his belt. Qualifying saw the British driver miss out on the second part of qualifying and started 16th.

Having made up three places at the start of round 15, Boardman was then under pressure from the Proteam BMW of Mehdi Bennani and the Moroccan made his move on lap five, before Boardman retook the position.

Once ahead of Bennani, the #22 Special Tuning Racing driver was under pressure from four BMW’s plus the two Team Aon Ford Focuses, with Bennani and Stefano d’Aste in the Wiechers-Sport BMW taking turns to nudge the Briton at the Chicane.

Boardman then saw his race interrupted with a harsh drive through penalty for spinning Bennani, while trying to defend the racing line.

Round 16 saw Boardman climb up to 13th by the fourth lap and once the Safety Car had been withdrawn due to Charles Kaki Ng retiring, Boardman found sandwiched between Dudukalo and d’Aste. He finished 12th overall and sixth in the Independents.

“I am still learning about the car and I feel this weekend I made good progress,” added Boardman, who is 13th in the Yokohama Independents with 11 points.

“After the frustration of Portugal, and then the break, I haven’t had any quality time to make the necessary adjustments to my driving in order to get the best out of the car. I could also have done with a little more luck in qualification, and we do need to improve in how we qualify. I am now looking forward to the next round in Sonoma where I can capitalise of the progress I have made.”

The team have a nine week break before rounds 17 and 18 of the season, which will take place at Sonoma in California over the 22/23 September.

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