Andreas Bäckman is hoping to be able to keep hold of the third place he holds in the TCR Europe drivers’ standings in Sunday’s second race at Monza, with the Swede just four points ahead of Santiago Urrutia.
Bäckman battled to a seventh-place finish in Saturday’s opening race in Italy, ending the race with damaged steering after a bumper-to-bumper race with Dan Lloyd, Gilles Magnus and Mat’o Homola.
The Swede admitted after the race that he felt he could have finished higher, having started 12th, but the damage to his car made it difficult to handle in the final laps.
“It was very tricky – I think maybe a top five would have been possible, because in the last few laps my steering was bent,” said Bäckman to TouringCars.Net. “My steering was at like 10 O’clock, so I had to fight to stay in seventh.
“I was catching Magnus, but then I had a fight with Lloyd and my steering was bent, so I had to really fight to keep Dominik [Baumann] and everyone behind me.
“We all struggled in qualifying today, but to get back to seventh in the race I’m very happy with. It was some good points for me, and I’m third [in the championship] right now.”
The Target Competition driver must move forwards in order to be able to hold onto third in the standings on Sunday, though, as he starts from 12th on the grid whilst Magnus lines up in third and Urrutia starts eighth.
“For sure it will be really tricky. But from the race today I feel a bit more confident because before the race I didn’t really know what to expect [after] the bad qualifying, but in the race the car felt really good.
“We will fix the car for race two and it will be alright I think – it’s just about getting a good start and the first lap will be important.
“It will be difficult because they [other drivers vying for third] will for sure not to be helpful. I will just try to do my best – it is possible.
“With Josh going up to P3 [in race one] it’s possible, but it’s about having a good start and first lap. After that we will see how it all turns out. It felt quite good in race pace.
“It’s my main target to finish in third, but I can’t really think about that too much because in the end I just have to move forward.
“It doesn’t matter who it is, I still have to pass them, so I will just to do my own thing and hopefully it will still be enough to keep third place.”