Attila Tassi believes the Hyundai i30 N TCR has better race pace despite winning the opening TCR Europe contest at Circuit de Catlunya.
The Hungarian took advantage of a safety car restart and sublime defensive driving by team mate Josh Files to put the Honda Civic Type R on top spot.
One theme of the weekend at the 2.8 mile Catalan circuit is ‘Honda vs Hyundai’, with KCMG and Target Competition locked in a tense fight for the Teams Championship honours.
Rivals Target champion the Hyundai i30 N TCR, which Tassi believes is better over a race distance due to its perceived advantage in tyre management.
“We have good pace in one lap but in the race they are much faster,” explained Tassi to TouringCars.net.
“But it’s good to see that we found the set-up, I wouldn’t say that my tyres were better than before but I could beat them by my performance round the circuit.
“It was very hard as I made a slight mistake on the first lap so I told myself: ‘I cannot make any mistakes’ because they will catch me and overtake me.”
“I was very happy with the safety car because the time was ticking and I was asking for one more lap.”
He believes a strong restart – accelerating at Turn 12 and leaving the pack napping – was crucial to building the advantage that eventually secured him the win – and kept him in mathematical title contention.
“I was thinking about where I should start pushing for the restart and I planned to do it at Turn 12 I guess and nobody expected that. I made a good exit from the chicane which helped me build the gap and close out the race win much easier.
“I had a perfect car since the beginning of the weekend, from FP1, FP2, we built up the progress, we improved every session and we made good choices between myself and my engineer.””To be honest, before the weekend we didn’t think we would have a chance because we are 20kg lighter than the Hyundais and everybody nows the Hyundai is almost unbeatable in the race because their tyre wear management is unbelievable.”
The final race of the season starts at 15:55 CEST tomorrow.