Tuesday 1 September 2020

UNKORRUPTED make strides in right direction.

PHOTO CREDIT: GC Kompetition.
UNKORRUPTED has made strides in the right direction after a difficult start to the 2020 FIA World Rallycross Championship. 

For the first time since 2014, the tight and technical Kouvola track (Finland) returned to the championship, bringing along with it a driver change at UNKORRUPTED. 

Despite Rokas Baciuska's 11th-place finish in Sweden, he took a step back and made way for Dutchman Kevin Abbring who would return to World RX in the second Renault Clio in a bid to help the team find much-needed performance. 

On Saturday (round 1), Guerlain Chicherit missed out on a place in the semi-finals by two points after finishing Q4 in fourteenth overall. Whilst his teammate Kevin Abbring also showed glimpses of pace, until his prop shaft broke dropping him to 17th overall.

Tricky conditions greeted the French squad on Sunday, creating extremely slippery and quick-changing conditions throughout the day. It was another opportunity for the team to test the Clio R.S. RX in a bid to improve the cars' traction in wet conditions. Kevin Abbring tested a different setup to Chicherit for the team to gather data and feedback quicker. The Dutchman struggled with his car's grip finishing Q1 in 15th overall. 

Abbring fought back in Q2 sending it around the outside of Timur Timerzyanov to take the lead before a battle with Liam Doran saw Abbring drop to third behind Doran and Timerzyanov, but soon after Liam's front right driveshaft snapped. And in the end, Kevin would finish in third with teammate Guerlain in fourth. 

Q3 posed a unique challenge, as the UNKORRUPTED pair would race on a devolving track. Chicherit would finish his quali heat in 4th, while Abbring finished behind his fellow GCK stable mate Anton Marklund in fifth-place, which meant both of them would not qualify for the semi-finals. 

"We saw some progress today in lap times, both on dry and wet and while this is promising, we still have a long way to go," Chicherit said.

"The last few weekends have been an uphill climb for us and we’re just trying to find out as much as possible in the short time that we have to make changes. It’s been hard for the team, the mechanics, engineers, and us drivers, especially as the car has not been reacting consistently and very differently to what we achieved in tests throughout the winter."

"We now have a few weeks ahead of the next round and we’ll definitely make use of those!”

Kevin Abbring believes that the set-up changes they've done in Kouvola have brought the team a step close to understanding where the car is lacking.

"We’ve done so many things since Sweden and sometimes it’s hard to know what works and what doesn’t but I think in the end, we’re a step closer to what it is that the car is lacking," Abbring said. "If you look at Q2, the car gave me a lot of confidence, a really good start and a nice send into turn 1, so that’s positive. In Q3 in the rain, we didn’t quite hit the right pace on the tarmac but on the gravel, I was one of the strongest in the sector."

"The overall results may not seem like that yet but we’re getting there."

Written By - Junaid Samodien

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