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Hugo Valente expecting Spa to be ‘tougher than usual’

Craft-Bamboo Racing’s Hugo Valente is expecting this weekend’s TCR International Series races at Spa-Francorchamps to be ‘tougher than usual’ for the team, due to a number of their rivals having recent experience at the track.

A number of Valente’s TCR rivals took to the track in the opening round of the TCR Benelux championship two weeks’ ago, including reigning champion Stefano Comini and Leopard Racing’s Jean-Karl Vernay.

As a result, the Frenchman believes that it will have given his competitors a slight advantage ahead of this week’s FIA world Endurance Championship-supporting event.

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“I’m aware it will be tougher than usual,” said Valente. “A lot of our main competitors have raced in the TCR Benelux in Spa last weekend and that’s a big plus for them, not only in terms of track knowledge but also in terms of setup. They will have a big advantage from the start, so we will have to work twice as hard to catch them.

“There will also be more drivers on the grid, so, taking all that into consideration, the aim is to get into the top ten in qualifying, and once that’s done anything can happen from there.

“This track offers a lot of overtaking spots and a lot of slipstream, so I expect very close racing during both races.”

Valente last raced around the Belgian circuit in a touring car at the 2014 World Touring Car Championship meeting at the circuit, but still cites it as one of his top tracks.

“I’m very excited to go to Spa, it’s one of my favourite tracks along with Suzuka and the Nordschleife, so going back there will be awesome,” added the 24-year-old. “I hope to keep our momentum going.

“We’ve finished on the podium during the last three races so the aim is to at least get another one this weekend.”

Thursday will see the TCR cars take to the track for two practice sessions at 11:00 and 16:00 CEST respectively, with qualifying and race one following on Friday.

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