Gianni Morbidelli has praised his WestCoast Racing team after qualifying for the TCR International Series in Thailand, despite missing out on pole by the tiniest of margins.
The Italian was denied his second pole position of the season by a mere 0.001 seconds in the all-important Q2 segment of the session, with championship rival Pepe Oriola beating him to the top position.
Despite that, Morbidelli remained upbeat, especially as the qualifying result proved that he still has the pace to challenge for the title, even though he is 37 points adrift of the battle at the top.
“I did my best and it was a great effort by the entire team to work on the set-up of the car during these two days,” explained Morbidelli. “It worked well. I missed the pole by one thousandth of a second, which is nothing, some millimetres, but the most important is that the car goes well.
“When I did my fastest time, I had already three laps in my tyres, which showed that the balance was good.
“Tomorrow, the biggest problem will be managing the effects of extreme heat… The temperature is very high and it makes the car very difficult to drive, so it will not be an easy race.”
Whilst Morbidelli must start race two from ninth on the grid, his team-mate Mikhail Grachev has once again secured a plum position for the reverse-grid race by taking pole position – with the Russian racer having won last time out in Sochi from third on the grid.
“On one side, I’m not so happy, as I’d like to be further in front,” said Grachev. “But from the other side I’ll be on pole position for the reversed grid, so for this I’m happy.
“I’m lucky as I have a strong team-mate, and they have a good set-up for hot conditions. It’s good as everything is open here at WestCoast Racing; nobody hides anything.”