Photo: WTCR Media

Gabriele Tarquini puts his hands up to qualifying error

BRC Racing Team’s Gabriele Tarquini will have a tough three races ahead of him, after the championship leader crashed out at the end of Qualifying 1 in his Hyundai i30 N TCR, which means he’ll start both of Sunday’s races from 14th on the grid.

Tarquini had qualified in eighth for Race 1 in the morning qualifying session, and has been promoted to seventh following Honda driver Yann Ehrlacher’s engine change grid penalty, but will be outside of the top ten at the start of the two final races, which hands main rival Yvan Muller an opportunity to gain some ground.

“It was my mistake,” said Tarquini to TouringCarTimes.

“It’s not the best way to start the weekend, I’ve made it a lot harder, but Macau is Macau – and today is not my day. I made a very shit qualifying, but tomorrow anything can happen, not everything is decided yet. I have much less of a chance to win the title than I did this time yesterday.”

Tarquini says he was pushing for a late improvement on his third run in Q1, before he made the error at the famous Lisboa corner, and crashed into the barrier at the right-hander.

“The car was very good in the second qualifying. The big problem was getting the feeling of the track, and we found a lot of slow cars at Melco, so the problem was traffic – so I wasn’t very relaxed when I went on to my third stint as I had just one lap to do the lap, and I made a mistake.”

Tarquini’s title rival Yvan Muller qualified third for Race 1, fifth and Race 2 and sixth for Race 3, and should the two drivers finish all of the weekend’s races where they start, Tarquini would still win the championship by a margin of just ten points.