Having confirmed that he would complete the 2017 campaign with RC Motorsport, Kevin Gleason travelled to Termas de Rio Hondo in Argentina at the weekend (14-16 July 2017) for round six of the FIA World Touring Car Championship.
The circuit was all new to Gleason and the aim was to use the first of two 45-minute free practice sessions to learn the track and dial in the RC TC1 car to the unusually low grip surface. However, the winter Argentine fog descended on the venue curtailing the first session and restricting development time and rolling Gleason’s plans into session two ahead of the all-important qualifying.
The lack of track time took its toll and an unbalanced car on new tyres saw Gleason slower in qualifying than he had achieved in practice, meaning he was unable to progress past the Q1 session.
After making setup changes overnight the car improved slightly for the first race. The team made two additional changes to the car after the first race and as soon as Gleason left the pit lane and exited the first corner, he knew the car was now where it should be from a handling standpoint.
The pace in race two was significantly improved from the start and showed throughout the race. With much-improved performance, compared with teammate and unexpected race one winner Yann Ehrlacher, Gleason and his team have great reason to be optimistic as to what can be achieved over the remaining rounds.
“It’s really frustrating that we didn’t find the setup of the car until race two as the weekend could have gone in a totally different direction,” said Gleason. “That being said I have learned a lot about the car from an engineering side and hopefully can use this experience to avoid such issues in the future. On the plus side, this weekend showed that the RC Motorsport car has the pace to win races in the right scenario and I will be trying hard to give myself a chance in the upcoming rounds in Asia and the Middle East.”