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Dušan Borković ‘didn’t expect’ pole after injury and limited testing

Dušan Borković says pole position for the TCR Europe season opener at Circuit Paul Ricard comes as a surprise after breaking his leg two months ago, as well as adjusting to his new Hyundai i30 N TCR.

The Serbian pulled nearly half a second on closest rival Mikel Azcona’s CUPRA in the second part of qualifying, claiming pole position on a 2:13.781 for Target Competition.

The result becomes even more impressive, once factored in that Borković hadn’t driven the new machine in anger until arriving at the 3.6 mile circuit in southern France for practice yesterday.

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“I’m really happy. I didn’t expect that, considering that I haven’t had any testing with the car and also broke my leg two months ago, I was on crutches,” Borković told in Le Castellet.

“Two days ago I tried to drive the simulator and we decided to drive.

“Then yesterday we came here with the car completely new, so I had to do a couple of laps just to check everything is okay. I like the car very much, but I didn’t really know how to push. [Last night] I was thinking ‘What can I do? What can I improve?’, 

“For Q1, I just did some laps, I wasn’t confident and didn’t find the grip. For Q2 I changed my driving style a little bit and found some corners where I can improve.”

Borković was also completely unaware he had taken top spot until returning to the pit lane after the sessions due to an issue with his headphones in-car.

“I saw the lap time and thought ‘okay, well maybe everybody will improve’,” he added “But then I had some problems with the headphones so I didn’t actually know until I stopped that I was on pole position.”

Race starts remain an unknown for the TCR International Series race-winner, with only practice attempt under his belt.

“Everything is about the start, which is also an unknown as I’ve only practiced it once. I hope that the competitors will be racing, but friendly.” commented Borković.

Track limits could prove a hot topic at Paul Ricard this weekend, with Borković keen to ensure he stays within the circuit confines and avoids a penalty, particularly important during qualifying with the circuit length meaning, at best, drivers received four laps.

“I was really careful,” he explained.

“I saw that people were hitting the cones and I was trying to be on the circuit at all times. I don’t think I had any track limits warnings, which is good.

“This circuit particularly, for the races it will be difficult because if you try to overtake somebody, he can cut [the corner to regain position].

“The stewards need to think of it as if there is a wall. I think there will be a lot of overtaking and cutting the circuit, so I hope the stewards will be strict about that.”

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