Gianni Morbidelli says he has ‘nothing to lose’ in the two TCR Europe races at Monza this weekend, after the Italian qualified in seventh in a season-best performance in his WestCoast Racing Volkswagen.
Morbidelli made it through to Q2 for the third time this season, securing his best grid result of the year with seventh, qualifying just over a second from the pole position time set by the Peugeot driven by Julien Briché.
With Morbidelli having failed to score even a podium result in the season so far – his best result has been fifth – he is hoping to end his season on a high.
“We knew that it would be difficult, especially as we don’t have enough speed,” said Morbidelli to TouringCars.Net. “We lose quite a lot of kilometres [per hour] on the straight.
“But we did a great job – I have to thank the team – they are working hard. We are struggling a bit too much with the car in the big corners – the car is quite light on the rear and it is not easy to drive or easy to push.
“I was also lucky to have a good tow, so that helps. It was just a little tow in Q1, which helps a bit and I have to thank Olli [Kangas] for this. We tried to help each other, but he didn’t have enough luck so I’m sorry for him.
“I think my performance again is good and we have to be happy. When we thought about Monza, we were scared and [we thought] ‘oh my god, with all those straights, we don’t have any chance’ but in fact you never know. Never say never!”
Morbidelli added that he was surprised to see the Hyundais performing slower on Saturday than they had in Friday practice, despite the rest of the field generally improving their times.
“It’s a big mystery because yesterday they [Hyundai] were extremely quick and today they were not quick enough. I’m surprised about the performance of Peugeot as well.
“Yesterday I was following Briché and he was cutting the kerbs, but I am not able to do that. He was extremely aggressive and he was able to do a great performance.”
Morbidelli, a double winner when the TCR International Series visited Monza in 2015, expects the fast circuit to produce some close racing later on Saturday.
“Monza normally offers a lot of show and good battles, because of the tow, the hard braking, it’s one of those tracks that sometimes can offer to the spectators a very nice show.
“I had a lot of races on this track and a lot of memories, and I had a lot of fun as well, but sometimes the game can be a little too hard and then you enjoy it less.
“From my point of view I will just try to do the maximum that I can. I will be in the fight and of course I have nothing to lose today.
“I will not be there just for cruising – I am not going shopping; I will be determined and if I can fight I will do so.”