Interlagos: Series pre-qualifying report

Local heroes dominate Pre-Qualifying Brazilian drivers continued to dominate at Interlagos with all seven locals in the GT1 field filling the top four places in Pre-Qualifying. Sergio Jimenez and Claudio Dahruj in the Mad-Croc Corvette No.11...

Local heroes dominate Pre-Qualifying

Brazilian drivers continued to dominate at Interlagos with all seven locals in the GT1 field filling the top four places in Pre-Qualifying.

Sergio Jimenez and Claudio Dahruj in the Mad-Croc Corvette No.11 headed the list with a time of 1:33.024.

Second fastest was Daniel Serra and Francisco Longo in the Triple H Hegersport No.34 with a time of 1:33.073. Third was Ricardo Zonta and German co-driver Frank Kechele in the Reiter Engineering No.25 Lamborghini.

Extending the Brazilian monopoly was Enrique Bernoldi and Xandi Negrao in the Vitaphone Maserati No.2 in 1:33.266.

As for the drivers' championship combatants, Thomas Mutsch, partnered by Richard Westbrook in the Matech Competition Ford GT No.5, was fifth fastest while the current leaders Michael Bartels and Andrea Bertolini in the Vitaphone Maserati No.1 were ninth fastest.

The session was run in dry, overcast conditions with a heavy hint of rain which fell briefly towards the end of the session.

Sao Paulo Pre-Qualifying: What the drivers say ...

Sergio Jimenez, Mad-Croc Corvette No.11

"This is my first time in the Corvette and I have to say I like it very much. The main difference I have noticed between this car and the GT3 Lamborghini I have driven is the brakes and the torque. It has great torque which is going to good for us in the uphill sections.

"I really like the GT1 world championship. This really is the Formula One of Grand Turismo racing. I am really pleased to be racing here with Mad-Croc. The line-up of GT1 cars is impressive, the teams are very competitive but very welcoming as well. The series really has a professional feel about it.

"Today we focussed on set-up and getting a good direction for the weekend. As for the track, I have raced here a few times so I know it quite well."

Thomas Mutsch, Matech Competition Ford GT No.5

"Obviously my aim is to finish ahead of (Michael) Bartels and (Andrea) Bertolini to keep chasing for the drivers' title. It is going to be tough particularly after Navarra where we missed out on points because of the crash. That was a shame for the championship fight but we have to keep pushing here at Interlagos.

"The circuit had quite a low grip level today and the track is quite green but I think that will change over the weekend."

Darren Turner, Young Driver Aston Martin No.7

"Interlagos has to be one of the jewels in the GT1 World crown. It's great that we can still come to places like this where you really get a gladiatorial-type environment and a have a real challenge.

"The grandstands really envelope you and it's very old school, with a lot of heritage. The car was OK in both sessions, we didn't do a lot of laps but I'm looking forward to Qualifying tomorrow."

Tomas Enge, Young Driver Aston Martin No.7

"Great circuit, great atmosphere. We have been concentrating on finding a good baseline on the old tyres. Hopefully we can score some decent points here."

Alex Margaritas, Phoenix Racing Corvette No.13

"This is the first time for us as a team here at Interlagos so we have no previous data to work from. We have focussed on trying to find a good balance and be in good shape for Qualifying. We mainly worked on tyre pressures and suspension with the old tyres.

"There are some really nice flowing corners here so we are expecting that we will be reasonably competitive if we can find a good grip level. The infield section is not so good for the Corvette so that's where we need to improve."

Enrique Bernoldi, Vitaphone Maserati No.2

"The track conditions are a little tricky. The new asphalt they have laid down is quite abrasive on the tyres. If you are too aggressive you will pay a big price.

"We are pretty happy where we stand at the moment. We gave Xandi (Negrao) a bit more time in the car to get him used to it this morning as he hasn't driven the car for over a year. He has done a good job."

Marc Basseng, All-Inkl.com Munnich Motorsport Lamborghini No.37

"It turned out a little like we thought it would as the Lamborghini is not really suited to the circuit. There are a lot of downhill sections which cause too much understeer.

"For Ricardo (Zonta) to do the lap he did and finish third has got to have a lot to do with the fact that he knows the circuit so well.

"Nicky (Pastorelli) in the 38 was on a good lap but ran a bit wide so we know we can make up some ground for Qualifying."

Michael Krumm, Sumo Power Nissan GT-R No.23

"This is my first time here at Interlagos. It's a very nice track with lots of challenges -- a long straight, an uphill section and twisty infield. The surroundings are nice as well with all the greenery and of course the water.

"We are reasonably happy that we have a good reference point relative to the other cars as we all ran on good tyres so we know we stand sixth and we are confident for Qualifying. For the Championship Race, tyre wear is going to be the crucial as drop off is quite big. I think we can expect lots of overtaking and an exciting Championship Race."

Warren Hughes, Sumo Power Nissan GT-R No.22

"We used our tyres from Spain in Free Practice and these were really worn out and we had next to no grip. Therefore it was difficult to know how competitive we really were in this session. The team made a few changes before Pre-Qualifying in the afternoon and, although things were better, we are still not where we want to be yet."

Jamie Campbell-Walter, Sumo Power Nissan GT-R No.22

"We knew practice was not going to be very representative on old tyres. We were also carrying 20 kilos of success ballast after the last race in Spain when we finished third. There's more speed to come, but Warren and I only did a few laps each in this afternoon's session, to conserve our allocation of tyres. Therefore we'll now have to wait until qualifying tomorrow morning."

-source: gt1world

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About this article
Series Blancpain Sprint
Drivers Enrique Bernoldi , Ricardo Zonta , Tomas Enge , Michael Krumm , Darren Turner , Michael Bartels , Jamie Campbell-Walter , Warren Hughes , Andrea Bertolini , Daniel Serra , Marc Basseng , Richard Westbrook , Sergio Jimenez , Francisco Longo , Thomas Mutsch , Claudio Dahruj , Frank Kechele
Teams Nissan Motorsports , Münnich Motorsport , Reiter Engineering , Phoenix Racing