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SEAT made its mark on the ETCC championship today by showing that it is a serious contender with the first podium for the Toledo Cupra. SEAT has not expected such a strong result in this first year of the programme which is for testing and developing the car. At the start of the season SEAT Sport Director Jaime Puig stated that points would be a bonus. He did not expect a podium so early in the car’s competition life.
J.Gené No. 9. Grid position: 14th Classified: 10th
F.Diefenbacher No. 10. Grid position: 12th Classified: 6th
Both drivers were delighted by the performance of the Toledo at this circuit. Diefenbacher scored his first ETCC points by finishing sixth after a stunning drive overtaking to move through the field. Gené was also driving well until he made contact with Huisman in a BMW during an overtaking manoeuvre. He gained the place but damaged the car and from there it was a case of defending hard to maintain tenth position.
J.Gené No. 9. Grid position: 10th. Classified: 14th
F.Diefenbacher No. 10. Grid position: 3rd. Classified: 3rd
Diefenbacher drove the race of his career. From the third place start he dropped to fifth in the first corner melee but quickly regained one place by overtaking Colciago in the Alfa and then the defining moment was overtaking Giovanardi on lap 5. From there he built a lead and moved away from the field with the two BMWs of Priaulx and Garcia. He then used the slipstream to stay with the front-runners and increase the gap behind him. Gené’s luck didn’t improve when he hit oil and left the track. He rejoined after extracting the car from the gravel trap and managed to rejoin and finish the race.
Frank Diefenbacher: “In the first race I had a clutch problem at the start of race one and lost positions. Then it was my race. I was highly motivated and going for it. I took Huisman at the chicane but the others I just went round on the outside line. The Toledo is consistent over the distance and that’s what got me the sixth place to give me the excellent start position for race two. I was nearly crying when I overtook Giovanardi for third place. I’m just so happy. I can’t describe it but it’s great for SEAT, the engineers and the whole team. I told the team that I was trying for eighth this weekend so sixth was fantastic but I didn’t dream of a podium. It’s the best weekend I’ve ever had”
Jordi Gené: “It was good. The first five laps were fantastic. Then overtaking Huisman we touched and something bent. From then it was impossible to keep the pace. The car was the most competitive it’s been all season. I’m really happy for Frank and the team because we deserved this good result.”
Jaime Puig, SEAT Sport Motorsport & Technical Director: “I’m extremely happy with the result in this race. We didn’t expect this result in the first season. It was good that our sponsors and all the members of the SEAT Executive Committee were here to support the team. Frank and Jordi were superb. Frank achieved a brilliant result after driving an intelligent and enthusiastic race and using the best of the car. Jordi also worked very well on new solutions for the development of the car. He demonstrated his experience and the teamwork was brilliant.”
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