SPA-FRANCORCHAMPS. With the completion of the free practice and qualifying sessions the first part of the 24 Hours of Spa has come to an end. SRT concluded the qualifying sessions in eleventh place, in fact one place higher than the previous year,...
SPA-FRANCORCHAMPS. With the completion of the free practice and qualifying sessions the first part of the 24 Hours of Spa has come to an end. SRT concluded the qualifying sessions in eleventh place, in fact one place higher than the previous year, and this in a field definitely not lacking in quality. This excellent place on the grid opens up some great perspectives for tomorrow's race, where the team's ambitions remain in line with qualifying; namely to improve on the brilliant eighth place clinched in the 2005 edition.
"To be honest it was madness", Patrick Selleslagh told us before the start of Thursday's free practice sessions. "We have just come back from the Belcar-competition in Germany and now we're off on the next major assignment. On the other hand the car is fully prepared and now it's a question of the drivers acclimatising themselves to the car. With the exception of David Hart, we are competing with three newcomers and it does take time before they know the car 100%. Chris Buncombe, Maxime Soulet and Geoffroy will all need to churn out their laps..
SRT were satisfied with their ninth and eleventh times during the free practice sessions. Even though the end of the second session did not run all that smoothly. "Suddenly the car lost its drive and I couldn't go any further" the Brit Buncombe reported. "It finally transpired to be a broken part of the drive shaft. In fact a part we were going to replace this evening. It's a pity that we lost some time, but all in all it's not a disaster."
Qualifying came up to the expectations for the team from Merchtem. With a time of 2.19.272 the Williams-Corvette nestled itself amongst the sub-top of the field, and the team then decided to concentrate of the set-up for the race. Geoffroy Horion, who set the time, was perfectly happy with this: "Starting from tenth or eleventh place is not really that important. The 24 Hours of Spa is a pretty demanding endurance race and you don't win such a competition during qualifying. On top of that we're not fully ready with our set-up; we're all new drivers and that implies that we need more time to find the perfect balance. But the team are doing an excellent job and I really believe in this event."
Maxime Soulet was also positive. "In all honesty I have never in my life driven quite so fast at Spa. This is an exceptional experience for me. You can't compare this Corvette to what I did in the past. But adapting to the situation has been a smooth transition and we'll definitely be there on Sunday!"