MIXED WEEKEND, BUT QUAIFE PLEASED WITH IMPROVEMENT Phil Quaife admitted he was hugely encouraged by the improved performance of the CRS Racing Ferrari 430 Scuderia in round 2 of the FIA GT3 European Championship at Adria, despite recording two...
MIXED WEEKEND, BUT QUAIFE PLEASED WITH IMPROVEMENT
Phil Quaife admitted he was hugely encouraged by the improved performance of the CRS Racing Ferrari 430 Scuderia in round 2 of the FIA GT3 European Championship at Adria, despite recording two non-finishes in the weekend's races.
Race-day frustration at the Italian circuit was tempered by Quaife's superb form in both practice and qualifying. He consistently traded fastest times during Friday's two free sessions and then put the team's 430 Scuderia a fine third on the grid in qualifying for race 2.
"I was fastest of all in sectors 2 and 3 and, without losing a couple of tenths in the first sector, I'm sure we'd have had pole position," said Quaife.
"The car was running so well and that's a huge credit to the team who have worked so hard at the last round at Silverstone and then in testing last week. They've done a great job."
In a tightly packed first qualifying session, Quaife's team-mate Robert Hissom put the car 25th on the grid and then made a strong start to race 1 on Saturday afternoon. Despite some contact during a hectic start, the American fought his way up to 16th at the mid-race point as he handed over to Quaife.
Unfortunately, due to soaring temperatures at the circuit in North East Italy, the team suffered with overheating brakes throughout the weekend and the problem resurfaced as soon as Phil entered the car, where he found he had no brakes into turn 1.
Easing off in a bid to cool them for a couple of laps, Quaife's race was to end prematurely when he hit a patch of oil while trying to avoid a spinning Porsche 997 and ended beached in a gravel trap.
Race 2 saw Phil make a strong start to the night-time event, holding third place in the opening stages. Almost immediately though, he noticed a small misfire and a drop in battery charge. Despite valiantly holding onto his position as he tried to survive to the mandatory pitstop, the battery slowly began to die and Quaife was forced to retire in the pit lane midway through the race with what turned out to be an alternator problem.
"While it's frustrating to have two non-finishes, there are a lot of positives to come out of the weekend," said Phil. "We feel that the car is now bang on the pace and ready to fight for pole positions and podiums in the FIA GT3 championship.
"Bearing in mind the team have only had a couple weeks to work with the car since they first got their hands on it, they've done a great job. It's now a month until the next round at Oschersleben, so there's plenty of time to work even more on the car and I think we can make another step forward."