Round 8 - First Qualifying Practice Session Weather A beautiful summer day in the Styrian Mountains, with blue skies and sunshine. Carsport Holland on provisional GT pole 19-year old Jeroen Bleekemolen took his first FIA GT provisional ...
Round 8 - First Qualifying Practice Session
A beautiful summer day in the Styrian Mountains, with blue skies and sunshine.
Carsport Holland on provisional GT pole
19-year old Jeroen Bleekemolen took his first FIA GT provisional pole for Sunday’s 500 km race, setting a time of 1:29.245 early in the first qualifying session, at the wheel of the nr 3 Carsport Holland Chrysler Viper GTS-R. The team’s second car has also qualified for the Superpole session, with Sebastiaan Bleekemolen putting the nr 4 Viper in fifth place. Rickard Rydell continued to pressurise the Dutch Viper, closing to within three tenths of a second. Both the nr 1 and nr 2 Lister Storms qualified for the Superpole, as did the nr 7 Larbre Competition Chereau Chrysler Viper, despite an excursion into the gravel.
RWS on provisional N-GT pole
In the N-GT category, the battle between the Porsche 996 GT3-Rs of Championship leaders RWS and EMKA Racing continued throughout the session, with Luca Riccitelli finally claiming the provisional pole with a lap of 1:34.512. The nr 69 Redolfi Orlando Porsche was third. The nr 50 Larbre Competition Porsche, the nr 57 Freisinger Motorsport Porsche and nr 70 JVG Porsche also qualified for the Superpole. The JMB Ferrari 360 Modena of Championship contenders Terrien and Pescatori continued to struggle, failing to qualify for the afternoon’ s Superpole session.
NOTES AND QUOTES
Jamie Campbell-Walter -- nr 1 Lister Storm : "It wasn't as good as yesterday. Looking at the laps, it would have been possible to do the time, but I just couldn't get it all together in one lap. I had lots of problems with gravel on the track and big slides on my fast laps. But it's not too bad, we're in the Superpole, and we've got a good set-up for the race. I think it's important to be at the front here -- the Ferrari is 7 km/h faster than us in straight line speed, and the Carsport Viper 6 km/h faster, so overtaking is going to be difficult. Traffic isn't too bad here, you can overtake the N-GT cars quite easily, as the track is quite wide, and there are some long straights. But it's more tricky to overtake the quicker cars unless you're in the slip stream. But we're being very conservative -- we're trying to win the race."
Jeroen Bleekemolen -- nr 3 Carsport Viper : "I haven't done anything like a Superpole session since karting -- and that was five or six years ago. But there's not too much pressure, it should be OK. I've tried, over the last few race weekends, to be quick out of the pits, to practice for the one-lap session, so I should be fine."
Mike Hezemans -- nr 3 Carsport Viper : "We changed the engine, and it's good now. It's made a difference of six tenths of a second compared to the nr 4 car, so it was the right decision. Jeroen did the qualifying time, and he'll do the Superpole, and start the race, so I can take it easy this weekend. We can do the same speed, so it's only fair for him to have a chance."
Emanuele Naspetti -- nr 5 Rafanelli Ferrari : "It's not going well. We are not in our usual position. Over the last few races we have been fighting for the front line, but this time we are far away. We are suffering from a lack of power, we just can't do much with the engine. We don't have the perfect set-up for the chassis, and we could perhaps gain three or four tenths there. Maybe the altitude is part of the problem, but there is also the engine problem, for which we can't do anything. Put the two things together and you get this result. We expected something positive from this race after Spa, so we are disappointed. But although today speed is important, tomorrow it'll be different. We've lost the battle, but not the war !"
Jack Leconte -- team manager, Larbre Competition : "Belloc went off into the gravel while overtaking a N-GT car, so we lost some time, and dropped from fourth to sixth. But the important thing is that we're in the Superpole, and we can only improve on our position. The car wasn't damaged today, but we did have some work yesterday after the collision with Jarier's Lister. We've got two cars in the Superpole, which is great."
Boris Derichebourg - nr 12 Belmondo Viper : "We had a broken engine, and didn't run much yesterday. Today, Vincent took the car out on the first set of tyres, to get a reasonable time. Then on his second set of tyres, he went off into the gravel. There's no damage, but our bad luck is continuing."
Rickard Rydell -- nr 15 Prodrive Ferrari : " We're quite pleased with the result as the testing has paid off. From here on, we won't have much opportunity to test, so we're pleased to be on the pace. However, if you consider that some cars have a lot of weight, we're further off the pace than we should be. I hope we can repeat the good result in the single-lap qualifying. I think it's going to be a very close race. We've done some long distance testing, but this is going to be hard on the engine, and it gets very hot in the car if you do two stints, which I will do tomorrow."
Andrea Bianconi -- nr 53 and 54 Art Engineering Porsche : the Italian N-GT team is struggling this weekend. "It's not going very well. We have a problem with the set-up and can't seem to find the right way. We haven't had much time to work much, as we've had to change the gear-box in one car and the engine in the other. But the car is just not at its best. It's strange, as we won here last year, and we were first and second in qualifying. Up until now this season, we've been really competitive, so it's strange to have all these problems now. We'll try to get a good set-up in the second session and work for the race."
Gautier Calmels - nr 62 JMB Ferrari : "We don't know what's wrong at all. The nr 63 car is working well. But David Terrien, who drove the nr 62 throughout the session, was suffering throughout with a lack of power. We really don't understand it. We changed the engine overnight, but it hasn't made any difference at all. We're now looking at the electronics and the power supply, anything we can, just to try and find out what's wrong. We'll try some more things for the second qualifying session, to try and be 7th among the N-GT cars, and keep in contact with Riccitelli. For the race we know it'll be a different situation -- we're very economical on fuel, and we don't wear out the tyres. But it's difficult for the Superpole and the Championship…"
Luca Riccitelli -- nr 77 RWS Porsche : "Everything is OK, and we have a good set-up. It's a really good fight between Tim Sugden and me, with only a few tenths between us. It's good to have a show between us. We had no problems, the car is good, and we have a good set-up for the race. We know we can do a constant speed. As for the race, we'll have to see, but at least we start with everything all right."