Andreas Pfister makes a successful start to the season despite top speed deficit in Monza
Autodromo Nazionale di Monza. Following the motor sport’s “winter break”, the best touring car drivers in Europe (FIA ETCC) and the world (FIA WTCC) converged on the Autodromo Nazionale di Monza in Italy from the 28th to the 30th of April 2017 to compete for the first podium of this year’s season. The German driver Andreas Pfister also managed to make it back for another season in the European Touring Car Championship (FIA ETCC), this now being his sixth consecutive season.
“After having invested a lot of hard work and just as much blood, sweat and tears over the winter, we were again able to bring together a successful package with which to compete in the 2017 season of the European Touring Car Championship. In this regard I would like to say a big thank you to all our partner companies, many of whom have been supporting us for many years now already. A further big thank you goes to my team for the tireless, and at times voluntary efforts that all have put in, and not just on the race track but also off it, as well as to our many fans and supporters”, said the 29-year-old racing driver Andreas Pfister prior to the start of the race weekend.
Andreas Pfister started the racing season in his 350-horse-power SEAT Leon TCR touring car
emblazoned with the number 7!
The European Touring Car Championship (FIA ETCC) takes place over 6 racing weekends in Italy, Hungary, Germany, Portugal, Belgium and the Czech Republic. Each race weekend entails two races, each with a standing Grand-Prix start. All of the ETCC races are broadcast live on TV on the channels EUROSPORT and EUROSPORT 2.
In his first test laps prior to the beginning of the important qualifying session, Andreas Pfister was immediately up to speed, finishing as one of the leading drivers. “We were able to make fantastic use of the training laps to find the right set-up for the car and adapt to the conditions of the high-speed track in Monza. And because we were not able to get in a single training lap over the winter, this test session was massively important for us. We’re pretty happy with 6th place for the time being, even though we are fully aware that the characteristics of the track at Monza with its many long straights are not exactly conducive to our car. Due to the fact that we have a DSG gearbox in our car, this means that we lose speed on the straights, our competition has clear advantages because their cars are equipped with a sequential gearbox”, explained Pfister.
The fantastic fighting spirit shown in both races was rewarded with important Championship points
At the start of the first race on Sunday morning, Andreas Pfister was able to keep himself out of all skirmishes in the fiercely fought opening stages of the race and then put himself in a good position for the rest of the race: “I was able to find my rhythm in the car very quickly and I was then part of a challenging four-way fight for fourth place. In the section of the race track with more corners I had the possibility to close the gap to those in front, but back out on the straights I fell back again because of the disadvantage we had due to our gearbox. All things considered, I am pretty happy with 7th place in the first race, because this also means that I start from 2nd on the grid in the second race (the first 8 cars start the second race in reverse order)!” explained Andreas Pfister in an interview with the media.
So Pfister started the second race from the first row of the grid and a lot of TV cameras were directed at the touring car with the number 7. Second time round the German was again able to make a good start and he was able to use some clever acceleration to outmanoeuvre the pole setter Mladen Lalusic (SRB). But danger was looming behind him: The HONDA Civics that were extremely fast on this weekend came from behind and stormed through the field to take over the lead.
“After swapping some paint with the competition, I was initially able to defend my position. But this time round against the superior Honda and Audi (RS 3 LMS) cars, we just didn’t have a chance as the race wore on simply because of the advantage they had when it came to their top speed compared to ours. I just concentrated on bringing some important points home, which I was able to do with my 7th place finish. The next race weekend is just 14 days away at the Hungaroring, a track that has a lot more corners than Monza, and this is something that should be to our advantage. I still had loads of fun in the car and we were able to find a near perfect set-up for the chassis and the tire pressure, and this really helped to move us up the field in the corners. A big thank you to my team (Alois Pfister, Kai Denner, Rene Körner, Alfred Hutzel) for the fantastic effort they put in. We will definitely be going all out again at the Hungaroring and I certainly think that we have a good chance of a podium finish!” said Andreas Pfister after both races had been completed.
O V E R A L L R A N K I N G S Top 10
European Touring Car Championship (FIA ETCC)
after 2 of 12 competitive races
- Christjohannes Schreiber (SUI) Honda Civic SEQ 20 points
2. Petr Fulin (CZE) SEAT Leon SEQ 17 points
3. Peter Rikli (SUI) HONDA Civic SEQ 17 points
4. Igor Stefanovski (MAZ) SEAT Leon SEQ 9 points
5. Norbert Nagy (HUN) SEAT Leon SEQ 9 points
6. Andreas Pfister (GER) SEAT Leon DSG 4 points
7. Szolt Sabo (HUN) SEAT Leon SEQ 3 points
8. Plamen Kralev (BUL) Audi RS3 LMS SEQ 3 points
9. Mladen Lalusic (SRB) SEAT Leon SEQ 1 point
10. Fabio Mota (POR) SEAT Leon SEQ 1 point
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