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Andreas Bäckman admits he exceeded his own expectations in ‘tough’ Spa weekend

Target Competition’s Andreas Bäckman admits he exceeded his own expectations to secure his first podium in TCR Europe after finishing fourth on-the-road in the second encounter before inheriting third by virtue of Jimmy Clairet’s post-race penalty.

In the opening contest, the Swede slipped back to 13th from 11th on the grid, but made great progress in the second race from the sixth row of the grid to battle stablemate Mat’o Homola for the podium, finishing just three tenths adrift of him at the flag.

Speaking to TouringCars.Net before Clairet’s penalty had been applied, Bäckman was disappointed not to initially make the podium but also admitted he had exceeded his own expectations in that race.

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“It was a great race, I wasn’t really expecting to be this high up but I had a good start, and then I just tried to go up the field,” said Bäckman.

“The speed felt really good in the car and I had some nice overtakes. After the safety car as well I had really good pace.

“In the end I was so close to the podium but just after the race I was a bit disappointed because I wanted to be on the podium because I was so close again, like I was in Hockenheim, but I’m still very happy.

“We got some really good points because some of the drivers in the front now had bad races, so it’s still good for the championship for us, really good points.”

Bäckman progressed up to fourth after an opportunistic move on the battling Ash Sutton and Aurélien Comte, with Bäckman patiently waiting until the exit of Les Combes to then swoop down the inside at Bruxelles as the trio went three wide.

“It was really good, I saw they were coming together a bit so I tried to just plan my driving a little bit and that worked out,” he said.

“It was really fun, through the race I was thinking a lot and planning my driving so I could get past them in the best possible way, because I knew I wasn’t really fast on the straights.

“So I had to plan my driving to pass them somewhere else. So now a bit afterwards with some thinking I’m really happy, it was a good fight as well in the end with Mat’o at the end.”

With the series now heading to the Red Bull Ring, Bäckman believes the circuit will suit the Hyundai more, despite featuring long straights which the car struggled with at Spa.

“Still I think it’ll be hard because there’s quite a few straights still,” he said.

“But I think we have a good package, so hopefully we can be a bit stronger there if this track didn’t suit us perfectly, but Red Bull Ring should be a bit better.

“Hopefully we can have a good race there and hopefully move up a bit in the championship.”

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