Navarra: Series qualifying report

Lamborghini takes pole in Navarra The Reiter Lamborghini No.25 of Ricardo Zonta and Frank Kechele secured pole position for tomorrow's Qualifying Race. The duo produced a best lap time of 1:36.118. Second was the Triple H Hegersport Maserati...

Lamborghini takes pole in Navarra

The Reiter Lamborghini No.25 of Ricardo Zonta and Frank Kechele secured pole position for tomorrow's Qualifying Race.

The duo produced a best lap time of 1:36.118. Second was the Triple H Hegersport Maserati No.34 of Alessandro Pier Guidi and Nico Verdonck with a 1:36.329. Third was the Matech Ford GT No.6 of Neel Jani and Nicolas Amindo with 1:36.407.

There were some big name casualties. The championship leaders Michael Bartels and Andrea Bertolini in the Vitaphone Maserati No.1 failed to make the cut for the top eight shoot-out in Q3 as did the Matech Ford GT of Thomas Mutsch and Richard Westbrook.

The Nissan GT-R No.23 of Peter Dumbreck and Michael Krumm, the Qualifying Race winners at Portimao did not progress beyond Q1 and will start 17th tomorrow.

Navarra Qualifying: What the drivers say ...

Ricardo Zonta, Reiter Lamborghini No.25
"I am very happy for us and the team. I enjoy this circuit a lot, it has a very nice layout. Of course it is very easy at some points to lock the wheels or make a mistake, you have to be very focused on the braking area, but the car coped very well with this track, especially in these conditions.

"This is the first pole for Lamborghini and the team, so I am very happy. If it rains tomorrow it will be difficult for everybody, not just for us. It is better to be starting at the front in the wet because we will be able to see better. We would need to fix the car to race in the wet but it would be very good racing and we would be OK."

Frank Kechele, Reiter Lamborghini No.25
"We have some new parts for the car this weekend and it paid off and we have a pole position. In Free Practice we were the slowest Lamborghini but we went in the right direction as we are sure about what we do and the team works well together.

"Ricardo did a really good job and we've made good progress from race to race. Starting from the front I don't have to catch up, which is a positive thing, and in the past when I've started from pole I was pretty good in the first few laps so we should be OK.

"The Lamborghini has been good in the wet, like at Spa for example, so I don't think it will be impossible to end up in the top 5 or even on the podium."

Alessandro Pier Guidi, Triple H Team Hegersport Maserati No.34
"A good result for us as the most important thing on this track is to qualify well and P2 is a good place to be. I'm really confident for tomorrow because we have a good set-up for the race. Nico did a very good job in P2 and that is why we are here."

Nico Verdonck, Triple H Team Hegersport Maserati No.34
"This is my second race in this field with Maserati; I'm very happy to be back again and to finish second in qualifying thanks to a good drive by Alessandro is just magnificent. I'm going to make sure we have a very good start in tomrrows race and get maximum points."

Neel Jani, Matech Competition Ford GT No.6
"I'm very happy and I have to thank Nico (Armindo) as he did a great job as he got the car into Q3 and this way we could finally fight for pole position. While I'm happy to be in the top three I'm also a bit sad about my first lap where I threw a very good lap away.

"I drove too much like I was in an LMP1 and was braking way too hard and locking up. However I'm very happy with this result. It does depend what the weather does tomorrow but if it is dry I think we can be really quick, we were really quick in Portimao, and if the conditions stay dry we have a big chance."

Nicolas Armindo, Matech Competition Ford GT No.6
"First of all Neel did P3, I put the car in the third session, but we did a good job together and that was the most important thing for me. I had as many kiliometres as possible in the car this morning to get as much experience as I could.

"Because we don't have the tyres I only put in 90% to save the tyres and not to destroy our chance in the race. I tried to drive quickly but safely so we have a good chance in the race.

"I'm very happy that I fit well with the Ford, it's a good car. Matech are a nice team, they work very hard and are very professional and I hope tomorrow we get a good result."

Michael Bartels, Vitaphone Maserati No.1
"I struggled with both sets of new tyres I used and couldn't find the performance that we did in Pre-Qualifying. we will have to analyse the data and try to discover why we weren't competitive. I don't really have an explanation for it right now."

Andrea Bertolini, Vitaphone Maserati No.1
"It is normal, we have a lot of weight so we are happy. Like Michael said it will be difficult this weekend but our main competitor also has weight, every race is only one hour but every race can be a long race. We will have to look at the car tonight and see if something was wrong."

Duncan Huisman, Mad-Croc Corvette No.12
"It was good fun first of all. I didn't get a lot of driving time, as in Free Practice we were struggling with a few problems on the car, so I lost quite a lot of time. We had a good set-up for the Free Practice.

"Then after Pre-Qualifying I only got four laps. Then we went into Qualifying I had six timed laps which is not enough to get the maximum out of the new tyres and therefore we got stuck in Q1 and didn't get in to Q2.

"But I'm really looking forward to the race, I think that both Corvettes are struggling a bit with power, the restrictor is a bit too small. The other car just made it into Q2, so hopefully they will do something for South America. We need some power."

Peter Dumbreck, Sumo Power Nissan GT-R No.23
"I feel like I didn't get the best out of the tyres, I had a fair amount of understeer but really we should have made it through, the No.22 car made it through and I think we should have as well.

"We were right on the cusp and we couldn't get beyond the first qualifying. So pretty disappointed, one or two things that we can do to the car but mostly it lies with me, it's my first time here and I didn't get much running this morning because we were on very old tyres, so I need to just raise my pace up.

"At some tracks like Spa it's not a problem to come from behind, you have a fast circuit where there are plenty of overtaking opportunities. Here, unless someone is in real trouble with their tyres it's going to be a lot harder.

"It's going to be a physical race as well. I think that our aim is to stay out of trouble in the first race, and try and get into the points for race two, and not walk away with several thousands of pounds worth of damage on the car."

Jamie Campbell-Walter, Sumo Power Nissan GT-R No.22
"We made it into Q3 for once which is a bit of a novelty. We had some good testing at Nagaro a few days ago where we worked on Qualifying and it's all come together.

"The tyres in this championship are very 'peaky', you get a peak performance over one or two laps and then there's a drop-off, so it's important to hook your lap up then and not make any mistakes, and we both did that today.

"It's a nice feeling to be P7 rather than P22 which is where we've started the last three races. From there I think that we can have a good race tomorrow and pick up some places in the qualifying race and grab some good points in the Championship Race."

Karl Wendlinger, Swiss Racing Nissan GT-R No.3
"It's not easy here as it's hard to get the tyres to the optimum temperature. The car is very well balanced today and I had the grip in that first run too so it was good. This circuit throws up some challenges, especially the first part which is good and quick. You need to have a nice, steady line and not overdrive the car."

Tomas Enge, Young Driver Aston Martin No.7
"It was a considerable effort when you consider the layout of the track. It's a great result to be on the third row in P5. We probably got the most out of our knowledge of the circuit from doing a Spanish GT race a few weekes ago.

"We were aiming to work towards Qualifying rather than the race. We think that we've found a good race set-up, we are the fastest Aston Martin. It's a shame that our team-mates can't support us at the front of the grid but hopefully they can repair the car overnight.

"On this stop and go circuit, the Aston doesn't know what it is, what it means. Our car works best on high speed circuits as we have pretty good aero. We did think that we may be struggling more but we are happy to be in P5."

-source: gtworld

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About this article
Series Blancpain Sprint
Drivers Ricardo Zonta , Tomas Enge , Karl Wendlinger , Michael Krumm , Peter Dumbreck , Michael Bartels , Jamie Campbell-Walter , Neel Jani , Andrea Bertolini , Duncan Huisman , Nico Verdonck , Alessandro Pier Guidi , Richard Westbrook , Thomas Mutsch , Nicolas Armindo , Frank Kechele
Teams Nissan Motorsports