Andreas Pfister finished the “street battle” in Portuguese Vila Real
in an impressive 6th place!
Vila Real. The European Touring Car Championship (FIA ETCC) made the next stop at the next season highlight from 24-25.06.2017 which was the demanding street circuit in Vila Real (Portugal). The 4.7-km circuit on the outskirts of Porto is only created once every year in the heart of Vila Real for the World Touring Car Championship (FIA WTCC) and the European Touring Car Championship (FIA ETCC), and it is one of the most challenging circuits for touring car drivers in Europe. Motor-sport enjoys a passionate fan base in Portugal and the more than ten thousand race fans that converged on the circuit created an unbelievable atmosphere over the entire weekend at the circuit and in the town of Vila Real itself.
“The urban street circuit in Vila Real was completely new to me and that is why it was important to make optimum use of the few test laps that were available to us during training and to get to know the circuit the best I could. The urban street circuit is very “tricky” and offers a mix of fast corners and tight chicanes. The slightest mistake here means you and your car making immediate and destructive acquaintance with the boundary wall, and that made it all the more important to keep the concentration levels at the maximum. I will be giving everything I have to get to know the track as quickly as I can and bring home as good a finish as possible!”, said the 29-year-old touring car driver Andreas Pfister on the eve of the race weekend.
A unique atmosphere with an unbelievable passion for motor-sport here in Portugal!
Start position 5 as a good starting position despite the “maximum strain” in the hot cockpit
“I was able to adapt to the new circuit really well and I was able to finish qualifying with 5th place on the grid. The positives from qualifying made me optimistic about what we could achieve in the race despite the international competition being strong once again. An important goal was also to get the race car through to the chequered flag without “sharing a kiss with the wall” because the strain on the driver due to the very high outdoor temperatures is extreme. We can certainly have in excess of 60 degrees Celsius in the car”, said Andreas Pfister in the press conference that took place directly after qualifying.
Touring car action at its finest and purest with the safety-car phases and a “red flag” during the races
The urban street circuit in Vila Real certainly delivered what it promised to during both races on Sunday. In both races, there was some outstanding touring car action to behold, with tight overtaking manoeuvres and, at times, heavy crashes with the wall, which in turn resulted in a number of safety-car phases being needed to “calm things down a bit”.
Andreas Pfister (r.) gets some tips from the Portuguese Formula-1 driver Tiago Monteiro (l.)
In the first race, everything initially went to plan for Andreas Pfister, he got a good start and was able to make up one place from fifth to fourth: “I got in a good first lap and was able to move up to fourth. I then had a hard tussle with the Honda driver for third place, which I then lost however due to a “braking failure” on my part. I then turned my attention to preserving the race car for the second race”, said Pfister.
“The second race, however, was an extremely turbulent one with several of my colleagues having to leave their cars at the side of the track after colliding with the boundary wall. This resulted in several safety-car phases and the race was finally ended by the red flag after further collisions with the crash barrier. In the face of these circumstances, I was happy to get our car over the finish line without a scratch, and with 6th place we were even able to pick up a few more championship points. A particular thanks goes to my team (Alois Pfister, Kai Denner, Rene Körner) for the fantastic effort they put in over the entire race weekend, as well as to the many thousands of fans who created such a fantastic and unmatchable atmosphere.”
The next race stop for the European Touring Car Championship (FIA ETCC) this season is at the traditional circuit in Zolder in Belgium from 15.-17.09.2017. All the races are broadcast live on TV on the channels EUROSPORT and EUROSPORT 2.
O V E R A L L R A N K I N G S Top 10
European Touring Car Championship (FIA ETCC)
after 8 of 12 competitive races
- Petr Fulin (CZE) SEAT Leon SEQ 57 points
- Christjohannes Schreiber (SUI) Honda Civic SEQ 44 points
- Norbert Nagy (HUN) SEAT Leon SEQ 42 points
- Igor Stefanovski (MAZ) SEAT Leon SEQ 42 points
- Peter Rikli (SUI) Honda Civic SEQ 25.5 points
- Fabio Mota (POR) SEAT Leon SEQ 23 points
- Zsolt Szabo (HUN) SEAT Leon SEQ 23 points
- Andreas Pfister (GER) SEAT Leon DSG 14.5 points
- Mladen Lalusic (SRB) SEAT Leon SEQ 13 points
- Plamen Kralev (BUL) Audi RS3 TCR SEQ 11 points
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Photos: Petr Fryba