EU3: GT3: Silverstone: Pouchelon Racing qualifying notes

HARD START IN GT3 FOR POUCHELON RACING New-to-international GT team Pouchelon Racing has had a character building start to its 2006 FIA GT3 campaign. In the open test on Thusday, the team ran one car and topped the unofficial times with lead ...

HARD START IN GT3 FOR POUCHELON RACING

New-to-international GT team Pouchelon Racing has had a character building start to its 2006 FIA GT3 campaign. In the open test on Thusday, the team ran one car and topped the unofficial times with lead driver Anthony Reid. Rachel Green also tested, coming very close to matching his times.

Christophe Bouchut then tested the car on behalf of the FIA and posted a stunning lap some 2.4s up on Reid. At this point, in addition to the 50kg ballast already in the car, the team was instructed to fit a 45% air restrictor. However, the FIA assumed that the Bouchut test had been done with the restrictor in place and imposed a further 60kg of ballast,making 110kg in all. Reeling from the rapid changes required of them, the team prepared the cars whilst trying to put the record straight on the restrictor issue.

Running with the restrictor and new mapping for the 8.3 litre V10 Viper, plus 50kg of ballast, Friday morning's free practice sessions saw the Reid/Duqeine car still fastest. The Green/Dewinter car made 13th in the big field of 42 cars. By the end of the afternoon test, Reid's time had been matched by the Porsche 997 of Traffort but Rachel Green improved to 9th fastest to the delight of the team and the experienced Caterham racer alike.

Overnight reconsideration by the FIA, with technical input from Viper Racing representative Gary Johnson saw yet another missive from the FIA hit the team on Saturday morning, offering an alternative to the 110kg equalisation measure - a 10mm increase in ride height. The team took the ride height option as being the safer way to go and sent the cars out for Qualifying 1 with this, the air restrictor and 50kg of ballast. As always with GT of course, this is the point where the true performance of the cars becomes clear and ex-World GT Champion Klaus Ludwig strode away to pole in the Z06 Corvette. Reid, not having driven the car in the new configuration, planted the Viper on the second row in 4th. Green's car suffered a loss of front end grip but she still claimed 17th on the massive GT3 grid.

In Qualifying 2, Reid's partner Gilles Duqueine, praised by Reid as "fast and determined", posted 23rd fastest and Green's co-driver, Monoco-based businessman Luc Dewinter ran 30th despite having had very little time in the car.

Reid said later "it's disappointing that they threw us the penalty just prior to qualifying - if it had been yesterday, we could have done something about our setup". Green also found the loss of downforce problematic, the front of the car in particular losing grip.

GT3 rules will see Reid start the Saturday race with Duqueine's grid slot of 23rd and Duqueine start 4th on Sunday, making that the race to watch as Reid takes over the car with 30 minutes to manhandle the Viper onto the podium.

-pr-

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Series Blancpain Sprint
Drivers Anthony Reid , Klaus Ludwig , Christophe Bouchut , Gilles Duqueine , Rachel Green , John Gary