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Gabriele Tarquini pleased to emerge from scuffle with points

Gabriele Tarquini admits that he is pleased to have emerged with important championship points from the opening FIA World Touring Car Cup (WTCR) race in Hungary, after a first-lap skirmish with team-mate Norbert Michelisz and Münnich Motorsport’s Esteban Guerrieri.

The experienced Italian, who started the race in fourth, was looking to pass the battling lead duo around the outside at Turn 2 on the opening lap when contact was made.

Guerrieri tried to pass Michelisz up the inside, and when contact was made they in turn bumped into Tarquini, dropping the BRC Racing driver down to fifth.

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That in turn bent part of Tarquini’s steering, leaving the 56-year-old to fight with his car for the rest of the race and he ultimately finished in sixth behind Rob Huff.

“To be honest I don’t know what happened on the inside – I didn’t watch the video,” explained Tarquini to TouringCars.Net of the incident. “I don’t know if Guerrieri was pushed by somebody or if he forced Norbi to the outside. I cannot judge the action of somebody I didn’t see, so I will have to see the video again. There are stewards who can decide if it’s OK.

“To be honest after that I had something wrong on the front, but I don’t know what because we didn’t receive the car back yet. My car wasn’t really straight; the steering wheel was not straight after that.

“In the end the positive thing is that I scored points, I didn’t score a zero and I didn’t break the suspension. We have another two races and we will see what will happen.”

Tarquini added that he expected Michelisz to be faster at his home circuit, in part due to additional pre-season testing, and that he did not expect the Hyundais to have as much pace as they did in the season-opener in Morocco.

“Here Norbi is faster – I didn’t test here before, but Norbi tested here previously as well as ALL-INKL [Münnich Motorsport], so for sure our performance is not as good as in Marrakech.

“I expected this; Marrakech is not a normal track, and everybody was crying about the Hyundai performance. It’s still a good car, but at the moment we are not very good on the straight, because our top speed is not fantastic. We are at the bottom of the top speeds.

“We don’t need it here, but this is needed for the future with the next race at the Nürburgring Nordschleife.”

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