Top Run Motorsport’s TCR-specification Impreza STi had a difficult debut at the Formula 1 supporting Singapore round of the championship.
Logistical problems meant that the team’s original plan of flying the car from Milan Malpensa to Singapore via Luxembourg came undone due to payload restrictions. As a result, the Impreza was flown back to Malpensa.
The following morning, the team attempted ‘plan B’, which involved flying the car to Singapore via Seoul, with a scheduled delivery time trackside of Friday morning. However, technical issues with the cargo plane forced it to again return to Malpensa. Once repaired the 747F plane took off again, but by the time it arrived in Seoul, no further flights were scheduled to leave to Singapore in time to deliver the car by start of the race weekend.
The car was eventually flown in to Kuala Lumpur, before travelling the final 350km by truck. Despite a police escort through the streets of Singapore, the transporter carrying the car narrowly missed the arrival deadline and reached the paddock after the qualifying session had ended.
Despite the lengthy delivery process, the Top Run team felt that they achieved significant progress during the two races. “It has been a real challenge, given the circumstances out of our control that we all know,” commented Luca Rangoni, driver for Top Run Motorsport. “The 15 race laps we completed over the weekend are to be seen as a real-life shakedown. What is clear is that the potential of the car is very high and the development work starts only now. Already from Saturday to Sunday, the progress has been impressive. In Race 1, the gearbox had a very long response time, the brakes weren’t functioning properly and the set-up was obviously not the right one for this track. Today, most of the problems were corrected, and the progress quite visible, despite having only 40 minutes to work on the car.”
“We collected a tremendous amount of useful feedback and data”, added team manager Renato Russo. “We now have a very good basis upon which to start the real development work. We took the commitment of debuting at Singapore and are very happy to have been able to stick to it. It has been fifty days of non-stop work for us since we took delivery of the car, and despite the difficulties, we are very happy of our debut: the car has shown a great potential and proven already it is a wonderful addition to the highly-competitive TCR International Series.”