Stefano Comini believes he can challenge for victory in the TCR Europe races at TT Circuit Assen in The Netherlands, with the Honda driver predicting that he can ‘go three tenths quicker’ than his practice pace.
Comini topped the morning’s first practice session with a lap which was almost half a second clear of his competition, even though the Swiss racer had never before been to the Dutch circuit.
Like many drivers, Comini was hindered by a particularly large kerb placed at the chicane, breaking the rim on his car on one lap, limiting his track time.
The two-time TCR International Series champion also had some challenges running on new tyres, but on the whole was in a confident mood following Friday’s testing and practice sessions.
“It was a good lap; I had some track limits exceedances, but that lap [in first practice] was really clean,” said Comini to TouringCars.Net. “The problem is that after that lap I broke the rim on the one kerb which they even removed at the end [of the session]!
“I had good pace – we had new tyres in the morning, and it was not bad. We can go three tenths quicker, for sure.
“We had a technical problem [in second practice] – we are not sure where, we are searching, but the car is jumping like a kangaroo. The car is undriveable, so it is for sure a technical problem.”
Following a recent test in Belgium with his Autodis Racing by THX Honda, Comini feels he is in a good chance to fight for a win in the weekend’s races, but he stopped short of believing that pole position was achievable due to struggles with straight-line speed in his Civic.
“We did some testing in Zolder two weeks ago, and it was a good test. I’m improving a lot, the team is improving, and every time we are gaining experience.
“I have never raced here before. It’s a nice track, but I was expecting something a little bit more like Spa, with more balls. Here you have a lot of safe spaces.
“I’m here to challenge for victory for sure, but pole position will be a little bit difficult as we need to improve the car. I don’t have a lot of pace with new tyres on this car – I need experience with new tyres, because we tested all the time with old tyres.
“It will be a bit of a challenge [in the races] but for the Honda I think it will be a bit difficult with the BoP [Balance of Performance]. We are fast on the technical side, but on the straights we are losing speed, so I hope it will be possible for us to be at the front.”