Münnich Motorsport’s Gianni Morbidelli says that he expects the high-speed Salzburgring circuit to suit his RML Chevrolet Cruze well, as the Austrian venue gears up to play host to the World Touring Car Championship this weekend.
The Italian has never raced on the 4.241 km circuit before and has garnered his first impressions of the circuit from onboard camera video footage.
“Salzburg is one of the circuits that are new to me, this season,” says Morbidelli. “I haven’t taken part in previous meetings here neither in WTCC nor in other racing series. I got a first impression watching video footage and onboard cameras. From what I’ve been able to see, it does not look like a layout difficult to come to grips with.”
The circuit, located 15 km to the east of the old city, is notorious for its high-speed nature and the strain which it can put on the tyres. In 2012, on the WTCC’s first visit, Stefano D’Aste sensationally scored his first win in the series after all three leading Chevrolets suffered punctures.
Then in 2013, such is the desire for a slipstream around the fast track, the WTCC experienced one of the most controversial qualifying sessions in its history when numerous drivers drove slowly at the end of the session, each hoping to pick up a slipstream from the other.
“It certainly is a very fast track and, taking into account the assets of our RML Cruze, Salzburgring could suit our car pretty well,” explained 46-year-old Morbidelli. “However, the corners will put a lot of strain on the front left tyre. It’s an issue that we’ll focus on with the Münnich Motorsport staff to find the proper set-up to pare down tyre wear.”
Morbidelli and his German team stayed at the Slovakiaring after the previous event to carry out additional testing and the Italian hopes this will help him to get up to speed quicker at this weekend’s event.
“After the last race we stayed on Wednesday at Slovakia Ring to carry out some development work, looking for directions for the upcoming races,” added Morbidelli. “But we also stuck to basics, putting in laps to run brake pads and other stuff that you have to do but takes time.
“This time out, those little things will not chip away at car set-up work and this should help us in Austria.”