Photo: TCR Europe

Dušan Borkovic says top five qualifying was possible before Q2 mistake

Dušan Borković believes he had the speed to ‘comfortably be top five’ in qualifying for the opening TCR Europe race of the weekend at the Nürburgring after a mistake cost him reversed grid pole by six-hundredths.

The Comtoyou Racing driver had been one of the fastest drivers in the first segment of qualifying, emerging as the best Audi driver and third overall ahead of the five-minute Q2.

However, on this first flying lap of Q2, Borković suffered a big lock-up at Turn 1, which flat-spotted his tyre and forcing him to abandon his attempt.

In preparation for his second and final effort, the Serbian then got stuck behind team-mates Tom Coronel and Nicolas Baert following a misunderstanding at the final corner.

“It’s such a shame really because we had a really good balance with the car in Q1, I was P1 and then I ended up P3 at the end of the session, so that was obviously the goal for Q2,” Borković told TouringCarTimes.

“But then on my first fast lap in Q2, I locked up a lot in the first big braking zone for Turn 1 and I destroyed the tyres.

“So I cooled them down and prepared for the second lap but I saw my team-mates Tom and Nico in front of me and I was trying to overtake them in the last corner, because I don’t like to follow when a car is in front [on a qualifying lap].

“Tom, I know he didn’t mean it, but he just turned in on me at the final corner and that kind of ruined my lap unfortunately. We were too close to each other.”

Borković added that he had elected not to do any qualifying laps using the tow from his team-mates and that clean air was his goal, having achieved his Q1 time in a similar fashion.

The loss of time ahead of his second run was, according to the Serbian, what ultimately cost him a shot at the top 10.

“I didn’t want to have a tow in qualifying, because in Q1 I did two laps on my own without any risks and they were good,” Borković said.

“We missed out [on the reversed grid pole] by six-hundredths, but I know we had the speed to be comfortably top five. So that is the annoying part because we know we have the speed, we just didn’t and don’t have the luck this season. It’s really not my year.

“With the incident with Tom, I think I lost half a second, so this was enough for me not to get P10.”

Despite the strong pace from the Audi RS 3 LMS this weekend, Borković is unsure how well he will be able to recover in Race 1 later today, given the lack of experience at the German circuit.

“There’s not really that much we can do in the race, but we will see because of course anything can still happen,” Borković explained.

“I think we can aim for points but for sure the race win will be difficult because our car is older specification and we cannot get off the line as well as the newer ones.

“It depends on the mood and how the race starts because overtaking I think will be difficult. I have never driven before this weekend so we will see how easy it will be in the race, but I also don’t want to damage the car for the team either.

“If we were fighting for the victory, I would push 100% from the start but maybe I need to be careful.”