Photo: WTCC Media

Hugo Valente targeting factory drive in 2016

Campos Racing’s Hugo Valente hopes to remain in the FIA World Touring Car Championship in 2015 with the Spanish team, and is targeting further improvements after scoring three podium finishes in the 2014 season, including one at the season finale at Macau.

The Chevrolet RML Cruze driver was leading at Spa-Francorchamps and Moscow earlier in the season, taken out of the running for the win in Spa due to a drive-through penalty for crossing the white line, and a mechanical failure as a result of contact in the first race lost the 22-year-old another shot at victory.

Starting from pole in the second race at Macau, Valente lost the lead at the start as he was overtaken by the typically fast-starting Honda Civic of Tiago Monteiro, and then lost further ground to Lada’s Rob Huff, Citroën’s Yvan Muller and the Zengõ Honda of Norbert Michelisz after a mistake at Lisboa, but would recover to finish third thanks to a late race pass on Michelisz, and Monteiro’s retirement from the race.

“It was a tough race, I had a really difficult start,” said Valente. “I think we’ve had three or four opportunities to win races this year and we’ve managed to finish only on the podium, so that’s a bit disappointing, but the first part of the season was really good.”

Looking ahead to next year’s plans, Valente added:

“I want to stay here. I think there’s a few constructors coming in 2016, and the aim is to have an official drive in 2016. Next year we know there will be five Citroëns so they will be difficult to beat, but we know RML are planning to do development on the car and so we can fight for a good position, and I hope we’ll be faster than the Hondas so we can prove our potential.

“I have to think that I’m only 22, and I hope that I will be more interesting to the manufacturers than some of the others, Tarquini for example being 54 (by the time) a manufacturer that comes in 2016, that’s why I want to stay here and hope for the best.”