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Hugo Valente surprised to make it into Q3

Campos Racing’s Hugo Valente says he is surprised to have made it into Q3 in qualifying for the World Touring Car Championship (WTCC) at Vila Real, where he put his Chevrolet in third on the grid for race one.

Valente made his third Q3 appearance of the season with an impressive lap on the streets of Vila Real in Portugal. Despite being consistently one of the strongest Chevrolet qualifiers, Valente admitted that he surprised even himself to make it through to the final qualifying segment.

“It’s been a really difficult day,” said Valente. “We were P12 in Q1 and P3 in Q3 so it’s just unbelievable and I’m very surprised to be here to be honest. It’s great after the performance in Budapest and the Nordschleife to be able to be in Q3 again and P3 is a great achievement for all the team.

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“We’ve been working really hard on the car and I’ve been trying to build up confidence on this track, which wasn’t easy. The car was moving a lot this morning but I am building confidence lap-by-lap and I was very happy I could make a good lap in Q2 and Q3 so I’m very happy to be here, and be first of the independents, and to be the first Chevrolet as well because the second one is P14.

“I know Norbi [Michelisz] will be starting alongside me tomorrow and it’s going to be a tricky start. It’s going to be very dirty with a lot of wheel-spin and we know the Hondas start very well so we will see tomorrow after the first corner. But the job has been done today and I will try to do the job tomorrow as well.”

Valente added that having crashed on the streets of Macau in 2014, he felt the need to boost his confidence lapping the high-speed street circuit in Vila Real.

“It’s so easy to make a mistake in this track,” added the 23-year-old. “I made a mistake last year in Macau, in practice and had a lack of laps on the track. So for me, here, the objective was not to crash the car to be honest and get confidence.

“Then in qualifying I knew how to do the job and switch off the brain for one lap and go for it. We’ve been working on the car, there was oversteer this year depending on the set-up we’re working on, but [I’m working on] me as well.”

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