WestCoast Racing was positive about its results in the TCR International Series in Bahrain, despite saying the team was ‘lacking speed’ after Gianni Morbidelli took home a best finish of ninth in race one.
The team entered only their second weekend with new Volkswagen Golf GTi machinery, and after qualifying drivers Morbidelli and team-mate Giacomo Altoè found themselves in 11th and 13th respectively, having struggled for pace at the desert circuit.
High air temperatures of 40 degrees Celsius made life difficult for the team, and although Morbidelli just about managed two top ten finishes, Altoè could only make the points once after retiring from race two following contact from Pepe Oriola.
Team Manager James Nixon believes that the team will continue to make progress with the car at the next round in Belgium, blaming a lack of pre-season testing time with the car for the slow start to the season so far.
“I thought we raced well, the cars had good pace in the races and both drivers were in good battles and showed strong race craft,” said Nixon. “We are having to all learn the cars at the racetracks during a race weekend.
“Engineers, mechanics and drivers as we have had such limited testing time pre-season with the new VW Golf, but we are making progress and getting to grips with the machinery and we will continue the upward curve in Spa at the next round.”
Morbidelli has confidence in the team to address the ‘lack of speed’ and pointed to some strong battles with competitors as reasons to remain upbeat.
“For sure we want to go quicker,” added Morbidelli. “We are lacking some speed and are all working to find it, and we will, hopefully in time to maintain a title challenge this year.
“The car is very solid and I know the team can do a good job. I had some good racing with [Stefano] Comini and made a lot of places in race two, so there are some things to be positive about.”
The third meeting of the TCR International Series season takes place at Spa-Francorchamps on the 5th and 6h May.