Nicky Catsburg says that the insight from LADA’s new signing Gabriele Tarquini ‘will be vital’ in the 2016 World Touring Car Championship season, as the Russian team look to move further up the grid.
Like Hugo Valente in the pre-season, Catsburg believes that the wealth of experience that Tarquini has will be crucial to moving the team forward on the WTCC grid.
“LADA SPORT has clocked up quite a few miles over the winter,” said Catsburg. “The off-season has been very positive and Gabriele Tarquini’s input has been immensely useful.
“There seem to have been a few improvements and the notable ones relate to the Vesta’s power delivery and its ability to keep the front tyres alive, so I expect to gain a lot of pace over last year.
“Gabriele’s insight will also be vital for me personally. I’ve done a lot of endurance racing, but I expect to learn a few things about going door handle-to-door handle with other drivers.
“On the whole, the 2016 WTCC season is going to be very interesting. There are lots of changes to the rules and the format of the weekend that require some strategy. We’ve spoken about it and shared opinions. It’s intriguing, how everything will work out at the very first race of the season!”
Tarquini himself is looking forward to taking on the challenge of Circuit Paul Ricard, where he scored a podium finish on the WTCC’s first visit in 2014.
“Circuit Paul Ricard is very modern and safe with a lot of asphalt run-off areas,” explained the Italian. “The most exciting corner is the very fast right called ‘Signes’ – I think one of the fastest corner on the WTCC calendar! I like Paul Ricard, because I have tested there many times since my period in Formula 1 at the end of Eighties!
“I hope to score some good points this year and I hope the change we have made during the winter will move us closer to the Citroens. Traction, acceleration and braking are very important at this track!”