Busy weekend awaiting Honda Racing team Sweden in France

Jun 24, 2015

Busy weekend awaiting Honda Racing team Sweden in France

Stockholm, June 24, 2015

Busy weekend awaiting Honda Racing team Sweden in France

Just days on from the Slovakian round of the 2015 FIA World Touring Car Championship, Honda Racing team Sweden travels south for this weekend’s WTCC Race of France, with Rickard Rydell resuming driving duties.

47-year-old touring car ace Rydell returns to his seat in the team’s Honda Civic TC1 having handed it over to Néstor Girolami – who impressively scored a point on his WTCC debut – at the Slovakia Ring.

As part of the preparations for the French leg of the championship, Honda Racing team Sweden opted to remain in Slovakia at the beginning of the week, with Rydell flown in to the Bratislava venue for a day of testing. Unfortunately, however, recurring rain marred the day’s programme, compromising running and the much-needed acquisition of dry-weather data.

Hosting this weekend’s races is former French Grand Prix venue Circuit Paul Ricard, strikingly set on a mountain plateau in the hills above Marseille. In addition to its on-track programme, Honda Racing team Sweden will have the pleasure of welcoming a group of 60 guests from partner Swedish Match to the event.

FAST FACTS: WTCC RACE OF FRANCE

  • Circuit Paul Ricard was built in 1969 and named after eccentric pastis magnate Paul Ricard, who financed the construction of the track.
  • Following Ricard’s death, the circuit was sold to the Excelis group – owned by Formula 1 promoter Bernie Ecclestone – in 1999. Refurbished and brought up to modern safety standards, it soon became a popular venue for testing, offering 167 different layout options ranging from 826 to 5 861 meters. This weekend’s WTCC races are staged on the 3.8 km “Club” configuration.
  • A total of 14 Formula 1 Grands Prix have been staged at Circuit Paul Ricard, held between 1971-1990. Local French hero Alain Prost won the event four times, including consecutive triumphs in 1988-1990. From a Swedish perspective, however, the track is best known as the site of Ronnie Peterson’s maiden F1 victory in 1973.
  • The WTCC made its first visit to Circuit Paul Ricard last year. Yvan Muller and José María Lopez shared the wins, while Gabriele Tarquini scored Honda’s first podium of the season.

ROUND 7
WTCC Race of France | Circuit Paul Ricard

Circuit Data
Lap length: 3.841 km
Race distance: 2 × 16 laps

Lap Records
Race: José María López (Citroën C-Elysée WTCC), 1m31.468s (151.17 kph), 20/04/2014
Qualifying: Yvan Muller (Citroën C-Elysée WTCC), 1m29.566s (154.38 kph), 19/04/2014

Rickard Rydell (driver)

”We can’t seem to get much decent testing in this year. We were massively unlucky with the weather in Slovakia at the beginning of the week; it was great over the weekend and is good again by now, but on our particular day of testing the rain was pouring down. The plan was to do some set-up comparisons and continue to evaluate our Öhlins damper settings, but we will now have to try and fit that into our programme for Friday free practice.

“It’s been almost ten years since I last drove at Paul Ricard, and that was on the longer circuit, so I don’t have a lot of current experience of the track. Still, the aim remains unchanged; we want to qualify in the midfield and score points in both of the races come Sunday.”    

Nicklas Karlsson (team principal)

”Circuit Paul Ricard is a venue we have no previous experience of, which is why we opted to remain in Slovakia to conduct further testing at the beginning of the week. However, our programme was compromised by rain, and we were unfortunately unable to complete all of our scheduled running. Still, we remain positive going into this weekend, when we hope to once again challenge for points. I would also like to welcome our partner Swedish Match to the races in France. With some 60 guests on site, we’re in for a packed weekend both on and off the track.”   

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