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Gianni Morbidelli ‘still green’ with new car

Münnich Motorsport driver Gianni Morbidelli admits that he is “still green” with his new TC1 Chevrolet Cruze, after the Italian scored a best result of ninth in the World Touring Car Championship in France at the weekend.

Morbidelli qualified inside the top ten in his first qualifying session of the year, originally posting the ninth fastest time which later became seventh with the exclusion of two of the Citroën’s. However the Italian’s weekend went downhill from there, with Morbidelli struggling with the car’;s handling in race one and dropping to 11th by the end of the race.

Race two started worse than race one for Morbidelli, who was turned around by fellow Chevrolet driver Tom Chilton on the opening lap. However the 46-year-old was able to take advantage to a safety car period to close the gap to the pack ahead and a string of five overtakes in the final six laps gave Morbidelli his second points finish of the year in ninth.

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Morbidelli left France disappointed with the overall results, which he feels could have been much stronger.

“There is no way to hide that this hasn’t been a good weekend for us in terms of results,” said Morbidelli. “But yet again the final spell of race two has offered me the opportunity to show that I’ve still got the skills needed in this industry.

“During my race two comeback I even managed to post the sixth fastest lap. The pace was there, even compared to other Chevy drivers and it is too bad that Chilton’s move robbed me of a chance to chase a P5 or P6 that would have been a lift for our confidence and offset [our] race one lackluster performance.”

Morbidelli explained that a late change to the set-up of his car ahead of the first race did not work, citing the lack of experience with the new car and regulations as the cause.

“On the grid of race one I called my crew to make an update to the car set up that triggered a lot of understeer,” explained Morbidelli. “It only got worse as the race went on – the move backfired. I am still green with this car and if you take chances you may end up doing bad bets. However, we know well where we have to improve.

“René Münnich is a clever guy and although Hungary is in just two weeks, he is determined to find quick fixes for our flaws.”

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