Puncture sinks Foust. Castoral and Wiman fastest
Yesterday Tanner Foust said that he hoped it did not rain: the resident of California has relatively little experience of wet conditions and knows that he is at a disadvantage compared to his European rivals. Today’s weather is just about his worst nightmare and things got worse when, having made a good start and led the pack to the first corner, he ran wide in the turn and was forced wide again at the top of the hill, his Fiesta suffering a left front puncture that left him to struggle to the end of the race almost a full lap behind Peter Hedström who took a clear win and set fastest time.
The penultimate race of the heat was stopped in the third lap after Sten Oja hit Stig-Olov Walfridson’s car which was left on the side of the track after the Swede went off in the first lap. The re-run was won by Liam Doran who ended the heat with second fastest time.
Roman Castoral topped the TouringCar order and Joni Wiman led the way in Super1600, Rasul Minnikhanov taking a race win to set second place in what is clearly his best drive to date.
While rain is a great leveller, wet track conditions also bring a big unknown. If it continues to rain as forecast, things may actually be easier for drivers and teams than they were yesterday when it started wet and dried as the day progressed. “There’s actually more grip out there now than there was yesterday morning,” said Liam Doran after the warm-up laps, “When it’s been wet and then dries the asphalt sections get greasy and slippery and you never really know if there’s going to be any grip or not but when it’s raining all the time the asphalt is stays cleaner and the wet tyres work as they are designed to work so it’s better. The big thing today will be having the right tyres on the car, the Michelin is very good round the lap but not as good off the start as the Pirelli. And there’s a danger here that you get one of the Finns on Avons which will be great off the start but much slower than a radial in the lap and then it’s easy to get stuck behind a slower car.”
For others the weather and tyres are a positive. Timmy Hansen was fastest in the warm-up and reckoned his pace was down to experience of racing on radial tyres. “I don’t know how that happened!” he said, “I know about radial tyres and I am used to balancing on the edge of their grip but the (crossply) Avon is different, its has grip even when it’s sliding and I am not used to driving like that yet so perhaps this is easier for me.”