WTCC European season comes to a close in Portugal

The last round of the European leg of the FIA World Touring Car Championship will take place in Portugal this weekend. With half of the season already complete Team Aon drivers Tom Chilton and James Nash look forward to the Algarve round with a mind to continuing the Global Ford Focus's development, before the Arena-run squad head to Brazil as they start the long haul leg of the 2012 season.This weekend will be the final race meeting before the two Ford Focus 1.6 litre turbo charged WTCC race machines make their way to Brazil for the first of the flyaway races. The five week break after the Portuguese round will see the cars travel across the Atlantic Ocean before heading to the USA, Japan, China and Macau.Portugal will once again mark a new challenge for the entire team; having not tested or raced around the circuit before both drivers will be making the most of the two free practice sessions on Saturday morning as they look to put their cars into the second part of qualifying, having missed out on doing so during the previous round in Austria. The Autodromo Internacional do Algarve, situated in the south of the country, features 18 corners during its 4.692km lap – as well as the various inclines which change the track dynamics from corner to corner. It’s also one of the wider tracks on the WTCC calendar so should provide a healthy amount of overtaking manoeuvres up and down the field. In the run up to the race weekend both Chilton and Nash have once again been using the simulator to learn the circuit before they hit the track for the first time on Saturday morning. Having scored points in both races, James Nash is hoping to continue with this point scoring record in Portugal. 'I’m looking forward to getting out on track in Portugal, we’ve continued to make progress with developing the car which has shown with our improving qualifying and race finishes. We’ve passed the mid-way point in the season so I think we can be pleased to have picked up points considering we’ve never been to these tracks before.’

Tom Chilton added, ‘Once again we’re going to a track that we’ve never competed at before so it’s going to be another challenge for the whole team but I’m looking forward to it. Having driven the circuit on the simulator it looks as though it’s a great track it should be exciting to drive the car around – it’s also the last of the European rounds so it’ll be the last time we’re in the car before we head to Brazil. ‘As ever the aim is to continue our development of the Global Ford Focus and come home with more points to add to our strong first year total.’

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