Virgin racing for upgrade in performance

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GRAEME Lowdon has dismissed suggestions Marussia Virgin Racing could struggle to qualify for races this season if they fail to get their latest car upgrade working efficiently.

Timo Glock, the senior driver of Virgin, has expressed his concern over the Dinnington-based team’s progress in motor sport’s premier competition. The former Toyota racer, who was unable to compete in the Turkish Grand Prix because of a problem with his fifth gear, has claimed Virgin will be in trouble unless they iron out the gremlins with their package.

Indeed, Virgin had to remove the modifications from Glock’s car in Istanbul while his team mate, Jerome d’Ambrosio, only had some of the new components.

But Lowdon believes Virgin, one of three new teams to enter the sport last season, are steadily improving and hopes the upgrade will be on both cars for the first time in Barcelona this weekend.

He told The Star: “We have very little control on how much quicker the other teams can go but we have comfortably been inside the qualifying parameter in every race this year. Timo is entitled to his opinion but we are not concerned about that [failing to qualify for races]. We are more worried about getting into the second session of qualifying.

“We are hopeful that the work we are doing behind the scenes will help us move forward.”

Following a productive aero test in Idiada last weekend, Virgin are now gearing up for the second race of their European adventure at the Circuit de Catalunya.

The focus in Spain for Virgin is extracting more speed out of their MRV-02 package.

“Our expectations are low for Barcelona,” he said. “It is going to be our most difficult circuit. All the new teams are at a disadvantage. The established teams have done hundreds of miles on this track compared to us. It is a circuit where downforce is important and we aren’t quite generating the downforce levels that we wanted or expected.”