Craft-Bamboo Racing’s Pepe Oriola says he is focussed on the championship battle, not winning the race, after being beaten to pole position in qualifying for the TCR International Series in Sepang by guest driver Roberto Colciago.
Oriola had been on top of the times throughout much of the half-hour session, but the SEAT racer was pipped at the very end by Target Competition’s Colciago.
With Oriola also having non-title protagonist Mikhail Grachev behind him in third on the grid, he knows that staying out of trouble and avoiding unnecessary battles will be key to gaining the advantage over his championship rivals.
“If I’m honest, I expected someone to be faster than me because I made a slight mistake when I went out on my last set of tyres,” said Oriola. “I’m happy with the result, even if you always want to be on pole position.
“My focus is on the championship, not winning the race, but I will try to do a good start. Let’s see what happens in the first corner – I expect to push on the first lap because I have really good experience in the car and I know the track so I am very positive about getting a good result.”
The un-ballasted Oriola adds that he is looking for consistency in the races this weekend, as he seeks to close the 16-point gap to points leader and team-mate James Nash which opened up after the previous event.
“The most important thing is to be consistent in Sepang and score the maximum points to allow me to remain hopeful until the last round of Macau.
“In Singapore and Buriram I did not score in the second race. If I achieved better results would possibly ahead of my rivals in the standings.
“It is a crazy championship and in Sepang there will be no excuses to help me keep my options for Macau. In addition, I will not carry any ballast in my car that allow me to be competitive this weekend.”