Gabriele Tarquini admits that he only just had the strength ‘to survive’ in Sunday’s FIA World Touring Car Cup (WTCR) races in Vila Real, with the Italian suffering from flu and a fever.
Tarquini kept his title aspirations alive in the three races in Portugal, avoiding the worst of the pile-up in race one to secure fourth, followed by ninth and second in Sunday’s two races.
The Italian admitted that he had been feeling unwell during the race weekend, and with the high temperatures in Portugal was relieved to come away from the weekend with a podium finish in the final race.
“It was a tough weekend for me because the weather conditions and the temperature is probably not the best for the flu and high fever I had until yesterday,” said Tarquini. “Yesterday I felt a bit better.
“In [second] qualifying I was not able to do one lap, made a lot of mistakes and used a lot of tyres. It was very tough, but I thought I must try. Fortunately, on my very last lap I did a good lap.”
Tarquini’s team-mate Norbert Michelisz was also driving with an ailment, having hurt his wrist in Saturday’s race one crash, and Tarquini says that the BRC Racing Team should be happy to have scored a double podium finish in the circumstances.
“The car was very good, and I must thank all the BRC and Hyundai team for the support to give me such a fantastic car, even with two half-drivers like me and Norbi proved that the car on this track is really good.”
The 56-year-old admits that even if he had been feeling 100% he would have struggled to keep pace with eventual race three winner Thed Björk.
“Today I think Thed was uncatchable, probably even if I’d felt really good. He was very fast. I was really happy to follow him and finish the race because after the race I was close to collapsing.
“I don’t feel a lot of power now, but enough to survive.”