Diego Romanini’s Proteam Racing Ford Focus ST was withdrawn from the event due to teething problems.
After missing yesterday’s free practice because of a minor electrical failure, the Focus suffered from gearbox problems in both the second free practice and today’s qualifying.
Greg Simmonds, Technical Director at Onyx Engineering explained: “In full respect of the TCR spirit we are using a production gearbox that is operated by a paddle-shift via an actuator. Unfortunately the actuator proved defective and this resulted in downshifting problems; something we did not expect. We were not able to solve the problem here and decided to replace the gearbox with a racing unit before the next event in China.”
Romanini was disappointed: “It is a shame, because in the rare moments when everything worked I was able to appreciate the potential of the car’s engine and chassis. I am disappointed for missing the opening races, but I agree with the decision to withdraw the car taken by Onyx and Proteam.”
Team manager Valmiro Presenzini added: “We are disappointed, because all the people involved in this programme have put in a huge effort to attend the first two events. However, this does not shakes our confidence in the work that Onyx is doing to develop the Focus and we’ll do our best to help and support them.”