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Gianni Morbidelli ‘unsure’ of ballast implications

WestCoast Racing’s Gianni Morbidelli says he is not sure what impact carrying 30 kg of success ballast will have on him as the TCR International Series heads to the Salzburgring in Austria this weekend.

As the most successful driver from last weekend’s races in Monza, as a result of taking pole position and two wins out of two, Morbidelli must carry 30 kg of success ballast this weekend. Although the high-speed Salzburgring is still expected to suit the Italian’s Honda, he admits he is himself not sure what impact carrying the additional weight will have.

“I think we will have good races at the Salzburgring,” said Morbidelli. “It’s another old-style circuit with long straights and a few fast turns, and it’s in those high-speed corners that the Honda Civic TCR performs really well.

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“However, the 30kg of success ballast will have a negative effect on performance and I’m not sure how much of an impact it will have and what will be achievable. Of course, this is normal and it’s the rules, so you need to accept it and do your best with what you have.”

Morbidelli insists that he and his Swedish team did not expect to exhibit the performance advantage which they had at Monza, in which he took a maximum haul of 55 points.

“We honestly didn’t expect so much from Monza, but we scored maximum points in what was a perfect weekend and I must thank WestCoast Racing’s mechanics and engineers for giving me a car that worked so well. The team always works hard and is made up of competent and focused individuals and I really appreciate what they do to bring results.”

American racer Kevin Gleason had the pace, demonstrated by posting two fastest laps in the races, but was twice hit by punctures over the course of the Monza weekend.

“I’m hoping for more luck at the Salzburgring following a challenging weekend in Italy, although I was able to take a lot of positives away from Monza having set the fastest laps in both races,” said Gleason. “WestCoast Racing did a great job fixing the car after my qualifying incident and we were quick, particularly through the high-speed stuff.

“I’m obviously hoping to fight at the front at the Salzburgring, as it has long straights and fast corners that should play to the Honda Civic TCR’s strengths. Of course, Gianni had to work really hard for his wins at Monza, but he’s strong wherever he goes and Igor [Skuz] had his best weekend to date, so they’re going to be tough to beat. I have no doubt that the rest of the competition will be right up there too and I’m expecting another hard-fought weekend.”

Team Principal Greger Petersson also expects Gleason to be in the mix this weekend.

“I do think Kevin will feature, as we have to remember that he recorded the fastest racing laps at Monza, only for punctures to deny him results, and Igor also performed in Italy, having developed well with WestCoast Racing, reaching a higher level through good cooperation with his engineer.

“I can see them being a hard gang to beat, but the opposition is very stiff and I expect the Salzburgring round to be a nail-biter.”

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