Tarquini Q&A

Gabriele Tarquini returns to BTCC competition in the Snetterton night races today following the heavy crash he was involved in when Jason Plato's Vauxhall throttle stuck open at Croft a fortnight ago and the Englishman used the Italian's car to slow down. Nick Phillips found the former Grand Prix driver right back on form

Tarquini Q&A

A: It was a medium crash. But because I have had other crashes like this in the past, I was a little bit worried about my neck, because it's a bit damaged from many years ago. I didn't see Plato coming, so it was a big shock, especially the first impact. I was really surprised. So I had a bit of pain and a stiff neck for three or four days, but I'm OK now.

A: Yes. I think it's natural. When something like this happens, your first reaction is to look for something to stop the car. So the car closest to him was mine. I'm not really happy, but I was in the wrong place at the wrong moment, that's all. I think his manoeuvre was natural, because I think without me he would have been very, very damaged. He was without brakes and at top speed and the angle to the barrier was nearly ninety degrees - not really good.

A: I've been involved in the 24 hour races at Spa and Le Mans, but this is the first proper short night race I have done. I have done the Italian series night race at Misano, but it wasn't completely dark until the last three or four laps. Of course I've had the night test session here at Snetterton and I think maybe it's not the best circuit to drive at night, because several of the corners do not have inside kerbs. Those are a good reference point in the dark and without them it will be really difficult. Especially at Riches it is very hard to be quick without light. And if it rains visibility will be a real problem. It's not really good to have rain, dirt and darkness. And I'm not starting in a good place on the grid.

A: Yes. Tom [Kristensen] was really quick in testing yesterday. I struggled yesterday. We have rebuilt the car after the Croft crash, but something is not quite right and we haven't found the problem yet. It's not working as well as usual. We've changed a lot of things, but it's not really good yet.

A: Yeah. I think it's good for overtaking, and in the dark it's easier to make mistakes so I'm sure here overtaking will be easier anyway. But in the BTCC there is a bit of a strange philosophy this year. I've seen a lot of incidents and been involved in one and it seems that the officials are not really in favour of overtaking. It's different from the past in the BTCC and from my experience around Europe. If you penalise the car on the inside, where the car is maybe halfway past, then that is not a good way to encourage the overtaking that people want to watch. The official are very strict. I think that personally if I find a car half way alongside me on the inside I will give way, but at the moment this is not really the philosophy, because if I am on the outside and hold my line, we touch and I spin off, then the car on the inside will be penalised. I don't think this is the right way. Overtaking is very hard anyway, because some of the tracks we go to are not good for overtaking anyway, and because the level of the cars is very close.

A: To be honest, for us the championship is over. I think it will be an internal fight at Ford, and maybe [Vauxhall's Yvan] Muller can get involved. But I think all three Honda's can win more races. So that's my target - more race victories.

A: Yes. Yvan arrived for testing at Snetterton wearing a French team shirt, which is not really sporting. They were really lucky, the French team are not very strong - they won, but we dominated the match...

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