Gabriele Tarquini was close to collapsing after Vila Real WTCR race

World Touring Car veteran Gabriele Tarquini says he was 'very close to collapsing' through illness after the third WTCR world cup race in Vila Real

Gabriele Tarquini was close to collapsing after Vila Real WTCR race

Tarquini has been unwell with flu throughout the Vila Real weekend, which featured air temperatures in excess of 30C.

He started Sunday's final race from third, but jumped BRC Racing team-mate Norbert Michelisz - whose wrist was injured in an opening lap crash in Saturday's first race - for second on the opening lap and finished runner-up to Thed Bjork.

"It was a very tough weekend for me because the weather conditions and the temperature probably is not the best with flu and high fever," said Tarquini.

"[On Saturday] I felt a little bit better. In [Sunday] qualifying I was not able to do one lap - I made a lot of mistakes, used a lot of tyres. It was very, very tough but I thought I must try.

"The car was very good and I must thank the BRC Hyundai team [for its] support and for giving me this fantastic car that even two half drivers like me and Norbi proved on this track is really, really good.

"I think Thed was uncatchable - probably even if I felt good. He was very, very fast.

"I was really, really happy to follow him and to finish because after the race I was very close to collapse.

"I don't feel a lot of power now, but enough to survive."

Michelisz was hit by Rob Huff's Sebastien Loeb Racing Volkswagen in the enormous race one crash triggered by SLR team-mates Huff and Mehdi Bennani touching.

Rollcage damage meant Michelisz was not allowed to take part when the race was restarted over two hours later.

The Hungarian, who finished race three in third, said he had considered telling his team he could not drive before the start of Sunday morning's qualifying session as a result of the pain in his wrist from the accident.

"I was close to packing my bags and going back home," said Michelisz, whose car was transported 60 miles away from the circuit in the night so his rollcage could be repaired.

"The least I could do is to give them [BRC] something back so I'm really happy to finish on the podium, although I have to say this podium was one of the most difficult - maybe the most difficult - of my racing career so far.

"The whole day was a bit tricky because of my wrist, which was injured.

"The first time this morning I sat in the car, after 30 seconds when I tried to manoeuvre the steering wheel I just thought about how I can explain to the team that I'm not able to drive.

"Then, I tried to put my teeth together and just took it easy in qualifying and it was working a bit better than expected - in the race as well."

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About this article

Series WTCR
Drivers Gabriele Tarquini
Author Jack Cozens
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