Claudio Remigio Cappelli opens up on the problems suffered by Race Art Technology at Valencia, revealing that he and the team were puzzled by the performance drop that happened in all four races of the weekend.
The Valencia NASCAR Fest at Circuit Ricardo Tormo saw Claudio Remigio Cappelli start his second full-season campaign in the series, having chosen to commit himself to the EuroNASCAR 2 championship with Race Art Technology for 2023.
It was a dramatic weekend for Cappelli, with a late race mistake in the Saturday race and persistent car issues preventing the popular Italian driver from challenging the podium positions.
Cappelli, who is also active in both Mitjet Italia Racing Series and EuroLegend Cup for the 2023 racing season, revealed that the massive crash that he suffered in Mitjet Italia’s third round at Vallelunga last month – which also involved EN2 rival Alberto Naska – has considerably hampered his preparation for Valencia.
“So, because of work and some physical troubles caused by the Mitjet crash that I had with Alberto Naska in Vallelunga, I can’t do much testing with the car,” said Cappelli in our interview with the Italian driver.
“But otherwise, Giorgio Maggi’s experience and the team helped everyone to find a good set-up that put me fourth in Qualifying, very close to the pole’s best time.”
The strong Qualifying result boosted Cappelli’s mood considerably and he entered the first race on Saturday with plenty of optimism. The first few laps of the race seemed to have validated Cappelli and Race Art Technology’s work on the car, but then things started to go wrong once he completed a third of the race distance.
“The car is fast and for a third of the race, or 4-5 laps, I could improve,” explained Cappelli. “In race one, I tried to overtake Paul [Jouffreau] in the first turn of lap 2 or 3. My pace was 2 tenths faster, so I thought I could wait and study him.”
“But at one moment in the fifth lap, the car performance starts to decrease lap by lap. It’s the same trouble for me and for Giorgio. Maybe it’s the wrong pressure on the tires or something connecting the oil from the differential box or shock absorber that caused the set-up crisis.”
The performance drop puzzled both Cappelli and Race Art Technology, as the problem persisted throughout the weekend. Despite the team trying their best, no solution was ultimately found by the Race Art Technology to fix the underlying issue.
Further compounding the team’s misery is the fact that the car started to suffer brake issues, something that Giorgio Maggi had touched upon in the post-race interview following the first EuroNASCAR PRO race of the weekend.
It is this brake issue that caused Cappelli to make the mistake that ended his run for the top-5 positions in the first EN2 race. Cappelli revealed that the brake pedal was not responding anymore when he entered turn 9 on the penultimate lap, resulting in his excursion to the gravel trap.
“That happened in all four races,” reveals Cappelli. “But furthermore, in Race 1 for PRO and EN2 we added brake troubles. I passed through half the race to pump my left foot on the brake more than the right one on the accelerator, but at turn 9 on the last lap the pedal was completely dead and I went straight to the gravel.”
The solution for the brake issue was found in time for Sunday’s races, allowing Cappelli to secure a sixth place finish and the victory in Legend Trophy on his Sunday race despite the performance drop problems.
“The brakes were fixed for both the second PRO and EN2 race, but the problem of losing performance during the race remains,” said Cappelli about his performance on Sunday. “The car started good, but after 5-6 laps something was changing and the performance went down. Race Art is working on a fix for this.”
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