An important and growing season for Natalia Balbo, in her first year as official CRG Factory driver.
The 2022 season for Natalia Balbo represented big changes and novelties, not only in terms of team and role, but also in terms of new methodologies and a different approach to the weekend, also and above all in the future.
A season that for the first period was inevitably one of adaptation to the new panorama of the official CRG team, very different from the reality Natalia was used to before. Same material (already used in 2021) but big differences in the working method. After the first races and official outings of the season, Natalia was able to work on her feeling with her machine, also having the chance to test different technical solutions. The performances at the European Championship (Genk and Cremona) then built up step by step to the very good World Championship weekend at Le Mans. A return for Natalia on the rainbow stage and for the first time on the historic French circuit.
For the team and above all for Natalia, Le Mans was the best weekend in terms of performance and solidity throughout the weekend, starting with the excellent qualifying and the Vicenza-based driver’s ability to maximise her starting position during the numerous heats (even in the evening) on the 24 Hour circuit. Character and performance that, despite a bit of bad luck at times, led her to have the spotlight right up to the last day of the race, which ended with yet another comeback from the middle of the pack to the fight for the lead.
Besides “driven karting”, Balbo was also able to rely on the double role of coach and mechanic, always for CRG colours. A commitment that also made the difference on the track on several occasions.
Natalia: “The season was exciting, difficult, motivating, a slightly different experience to what I was used to. I won’t hide the fact that there have been a lot of ups and downs this season, maybe more of a slow start with steady growth. It’s a reality, that of the official team, that I had never experienced…of course someone may say, ‘but what does it change’? What changes is that there are more people to talk to, more pre-race work, bigger tents to put up,” he laughs, “and a constant testing of material race after race to find the perfect fit for the most important races. To draw a line, it has been a year that has given me a lot and I hope to be able to continue to experience this in the coming season”.
On the World Championship, “Le Mans was a bit of a peak for me, I have to say that the team arrived ready with the whole range of chassis and I rediscovered the feeling that I had lost a bit in the first part of the year. For sure it was a result built race after race, but I won’t hide the fact that in the months after Cremona and before the World Championship I worked a lot on myself, from training on the track to training in the gym and mental training, thanks also to the help of Younique Program”.
As previously mentioned, that of the driver was not the only role played by Natalia.
“Compared to previous years, also due to increased commitments with the team in general, I was able to spend less time on the track as a mechanic, but I am happy to have been present at more events and to have been able to support my team. This year I also got to work in particular with Ayrton Asdathorn from Thailand, in the X30 Senior. We achieved good results in all the events we did together, unfortunately a few too many bad luck didn’t bring us the result we deserved.
For next year, Natalia Balbo, as always, is working to try to find the best possible solution and concludes with thanks to all those who have been part of this 2022 on the track.
“I would personally like to thank my team, in particular in the figure of Giancarlo Tinini who gave me confidence and took me with him in this 2022 season, Galiffa Tuning for the engines that have never let me down, my mechanic ‘Ghetti’ and all my mates under the tent, my manager Alberto Tonti for always being by my side, Younique Program, my sponsor Ornaghi Medical Devices without whom all this would just be a dream and last but not least, my family who has supported me and put up with me in this ‘madness’ for 14 years now, a big thank you! ”