Haglof reveals WTCR rookie pains
Daniel Haglöf admits his and team-mate Mikel Azcona’s lack of track knowledge is a “limiting factor” in the WTCR – FIA World Touring Car Cup presented by OSCARO, which they are both contesting for the first time in 2019.
Although the PWR Racing duo have exceeded expectations with podiums and a race victory for Azcona in Portugal prior to the summer break, Swede Haglöf acknowledges there is always plenty of catching up going on behind the scenes.
“We compete against drivers that know everything about these tracks and the teams have the experience also,” CUPRA-powered Haglöf said when interviewed earlier this season. “Other teams concentrate on the car set-up, but we have to tune the driver first then the car.”
Azcona and Haglöf have never driven on the four tracks that make up part two of the 2019 WTCR / OSCARO season. Although PWR Racing, which Haglöf jointly owns, has a technical partnership with the established Comtoyou Racing outfit, lack of track knowledge remains a factor. And Haglöf admits he’s further disadvantaged by the limited time he has available to drive on simulators.
“I really love sims but to run your own team I have a huge lack of time. We have a campaign in Scandinavia and I do a lot of sponsor things. I do look at a lot of onboards but it’s difficult to learn where the limit is without have the feeling. On an easy track it can take you five or six laps to be pretty close but to be expert level you need one season and then come back.”
Another area where knowledge is key concerns racecraft, as Haglöf explains. “While a lot of drivers know what happened [at each track] last year, I have to study everything. For example, T3 at one track could be chaos and you need to know the position you need to be in to stay out of trouble. Then there are some bogey places you don’t want to be in because you could go off the track or get passed by a train of cars.
“It’s extremely difficult to nail the tracks but there’s no other way to do it than in this way, to start and learn step by step. Hopefully we’re in this for the long-term and the first year has to be done some time.”