Ahead of the teams’ arrival at Autodrom Most, outside expectations were high for the Audi Sport Comtoyou Racing squad. The most recent FIA World Touring Car Cup ballast allocations appeared to have been relatively kind to the team, so the Audi quartet were expected to be in the conversation for pole.
However, there were plenty of issues for them to overcome instead. Tom Coronel’s car ground to a halt in free practice two, as did that of Gilles Magnus during qualifying. The trend was set, however, by Frederic Vervisch’s RS3, which after being retired during free practice one, had to undergo an engine change.
Vervisch will therefore serve and engine change penalty in race one, which will see him start from the back of the grid.
Overall then, it was a disappointing day for the Belgian who arrived as the fifth-placed driver in the championship standings.
“Expectations before the weekend were quite high with a good compensation weight [allocation],” he said. “But it seems like many [other teams] were competitive.
“[During practice] I did three flying laps in total, and that was not enough to be competitive in qualifying. I was quite happy with my Q1 lap time but then in Q2 we didn’t manage to improve, which was a shame.
“So yeah, it looks like a difficult job for the weekend. It looks like a track where you cannot overtake very well, and with the engine penalty we have to start last in race one and then P11 in race two.
“For sure we will try to collect some points to limit a little bit the damage, and hopefully we have a better run at the next event.”
At the very least, Vervisch and the rest of the Audi drivers will be looking for reliability from their cars – something which has so far eluded them.
With both he and fellow Belgian driver Magnus positioned within the top five in the standings, it will be important to get the most out of this weekend to stay in the frame for title contention.