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Renault duo looks ahead to Valencia

NEWS STORY
18/08/2008

Fernando, the ING Renault F1 Team finished in the points with both cars in Hungary and moved up a place in the constructors' championship. That's an encouraging result for the rest of the year…
Fernando Alonso: We're certainly continuing to improve, which is very encouraging. We were on the pace in Hungary, the car felt good and we showed we are still moving forward and that we will fight hard to finish in fourth place in the championship. It was important also to get a solid result before the summer break: it's good for the mood in the team and means we can come back motivated for the rest of the year.

After Barcelona, we now head to Valencia for the second race in Spain this year. Is that something special for you?
FA: Yes, of course. I'm very happy to be driving at home for a second time: it's always a special feeling to race in front of my countrymen and I'm really looking forward to it. In Barcelona we were having a strong race when I had to retire, but I hope this time I can get a good result as the circuit will be new for all the drivers.

As you say, it's a brand new circuit. Is that an interesting challenge for you?
FA: Yes, it will be interesting for me and also for the team, who have been working hard in preparation for this race for the last couple of months. As a new circuit, I think it gives the drivers a chance to show what they can do, but I am not under any illusions as I expect all the drivers to be quick. We must do our best to find our reference points quicker than the others in order to spring a surprise.

It's a street circuit like Monaco, where you usually go well. Do you expect that to be the case in Valencia?
FA: It's true that I like street circuits: they are always an interesting challenge and the sensation of speed from inside the cockpit is incredible. I will do my best to improve the set-up of the car with my engineers over the weekend so that we can aim for a strong result. Whatever happens, I will give my maximum for this second Grand Prix in Spain.

Nelson, you had a solid race in Hungary, building on your result in Germany. Is this the breakthrough you have been waiting for?
Nelson Piquet: I don't know, but I'm certainly happy to have scored points in Hungary. It was important for the team and for me and overall it was a very positive weekend. The car worked well, I did a lot of laps during free practice on Friday and Saturday morning and I was on the pace all weekend and felt comfortable. It's always nice to have that sort of weekend and I hope to continue like this for the rest of the season.

You are preparing to contest the first European Grand Prix held in Valencia: a new circuit for all the drivers. How are you approaching this race?
NP: This season I have already learned several new circuits, but the difference this time is that all the drivers will be in the same position and having to learn the circuit. I think that from the point of view of the championship it's interesting to visit new tracks: it's an extra challenge for the drivers as well as the teams. I have worked hard with the team to approach this race in the best shape possible and I will try to get on the pace quickly and maximise every lap in practice.

What do you think of the track?
NP: It's a street circuit so it will be quite tricky, but also very interesting. It's never easy to learn a new circuit, but, as I have said, this time all the teams and drivers will be in the same position. It will be interesting to see who can get comfortable fastest.

What are your expectations for this new race?
NP: I would like to have another solid weekend, starting off with a good day of practice on Friday, qualifying in the top 10 and showing good race pace to hopefully finish in the points. That's how I will approach this race. After the summer break, I am well rested and motivated to have a great end to the season.

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