Gabriele Tarquini ‘embarrassed’ by Hyundai straight-line speed

Hyundai’s Gabriele Tarquini has criticised the TCR Balance of Performance, after he struggled for straight-line speed in the FIA World Touring Car Cup season opener at Zolder.

Tarquini could only qualify in 15th for the first event of the season, ending up 1.2 seconds off the Q1 pace, as the best Hyundai was team-mate Norbert Michelisz in 12th.

The experienced Italian then failed to make any progress in either of Sunday’s races, taking his i30 N to 15th in race one and race two, as he struggled to fight with those around him.

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BRC Racing’s Tarquini was not alone in his struggles, as reigning champion Michelisz was 11th and eighth respectively, whilst Nicky Catsburg and Luca Engstler only just made the top ten in race two.

“The first race was embarrassing because on the straight we have the slowest car,” said the 58-year-old. “It’s really impossible to fight with the others especially in the first part of the race.

“After, the car was very well, I was very happy with the performance. But the engine performance, by the BoP is too slow.”

After missing out on the top ten in race one, Michelisz admitted that he had not expected much from the race and was relieved to secure five points which he admitted could be crucial later in the year.

“It was not the most eventful race of my career,” said Michelisz. “We knew after qualifying where we are, so I didn’t really expect a lot in terms of progress in the race.”

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