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James Nash expecting ‘hard races’ to keep pace with Volkswagens

James Nash is predicting that keeping up with the Volkswagen cars in Sunday’s TCR International Series races in China will be a challenge, with the Brit citing their lower weight and lower ride height as key reasons.

Nash qualified his Craft-Bamboo Racing SEAT in eighth place for the first race at the Zhejiang International Circuit, although he was the slowest of all three of the Anglo-Hong Kong team’s cars.

Despite that, Nash was positive about the qualifying result, admitting that it was more down to circumstance rather than outright pace that he wasn’t further up the starting grid.

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“I’m quite positive – the car felt really good,” said Nash to TouringCars.Net. “I just got held up by one of the Hondas slightly on my first flying lap, which meant I couldn’t maximise the grip on the second or third flying lap.

“I just couldn’t hook it together, which was a bit disappointing, but P8 is good. I’m quite happy with that considering where we were in free practice where we were struggling a bit.”

Nash is predicting that his team-mate Pepe Oriola will struggle to keep up with the pace-setting Leopard Racing Volkswagen Golfs, which are running with 10 kg less weight and 10 mm lower ride height as part of the Balance of Performance [BoP] measures.

“I think Pepe’s going to have a hard time tomorrow in the first race to race against those [Volkswagens]; to be honest I don’t think we’re going to be able to compete, they’re far too quick. They’re lighter and lower. They’re just far too good for us.

“We’ll see what Pepe can do and it will be interesting to watch – hopefully I can get up somewhere near him to be able to watch the VWs and see where they go.”

With none of the Craft-Bamboo drivers in the title fight, the only trophy for the team to lift is the teams’ title, which Nash also admits will be a long shot, given that they are 93 points adrift of leaders M1RA.

“It’s all quite hard, but it’s all still positive so we’ll try to keep positive and see what we can get out of it, but it will be a hard weekend.”

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