Valencia: Free practice quotes

Peter Kox - Reiter Engineering Lamborghini Murcielago: "I am really happy, for Lamborghini but especially for Hans as he has done a fantastic job. And I am happy as well, as after Monza I did all the driving, so I am a little bit involved. For...

Peter Kox - Reiter Engineering Lamborghini Murcielago:

"I am really happy, for Lamborghini but especially for Hans as he has done a fantastic job. And I am happy as well, as after Monza I did all the driving, so I am a little bit involved. For sure, it is wet today, and tomorrow it could be different. I still have both feet on the ground and I know that there is still a lot of work to do, but everybody deserved and needed this result, as they worked so hard. I am more happy for them than for me ! It's good for the Championship too, I think. If we stay out of trouble, I think we have a chance of a good result."

Lucas Luhr - Freisinger Motorsport :

"So far we have had a good run; everything went well. But there were massive amounts of water out on the track, so it was really difficult. The first race wasn't too good for us, so I hope it gets better during the year. But I like the Championship; we have really competition between three cars so we'll see how it goes."

Christian Pescatori - GPC Giesse Ferrari 360 :

"We worked on the set-up and suspension, and ran wet and intermediate tyres - it was our first time in the wet with the car. I like Valencia, I did a three or four day test here with Pirelli, but with the old Ferrari 360 Modena, which is very different. Monza was a very good race for me, and a great start for the team. I think this is a very good circuit for our car - not in the rain, but if it is dry, I think we have a good chance."

Patrick Pearce - Lister Racing :

"It's gone a lot better today, and I have managed to get plenty of running in the car. I like the track, and I hope I will be able to drive it in the dry as well !"

Miguel de Castro - Wieth Racing :

"After we had permission to take part in the second free practice, we had another problem. The team has been working like crazy to get the car out on the track, but they only finished it at the very end of the session. We haven't practiced, but I think tomorrow things will change. If the weather changes, then no-one will have really learnt anything for the race, so we will all be equal."

Val Hillebrand - mini interview :
Hillebrand, the 2002 FIA Sportscar Champion, is making his racing return after a year away from competitive motorsport. He has joined Zwaan's Racing for the season.

So, why GT racing ?

"This is a good option for me; it is a competitive championship with fast cars. I had a really good opportunity to do the season with Zwaan's Racing. I had a difficult year in 2003, due to budget problems, and I only did some testing; I was not able to race at all. I had to concentrate on being a business man to find the budget again. So now I'm here; it is all brand new to me, and as I told the team, I am a clean slate, they can do what they want with me, and I will try to do my best."

How did your first session in a GT car go ?

"This morning it was fine; it was just a bit off in braking and shifting the gears, because the engine is really high on torque, so I had to make a little adjustment in my head, and now I'll have to have another chance this afternoon to see if I can get it right."

The conditions were not perfect for your debut ...

"I haven't driven for a year, I don't know the car and I don't know the track... This will be my first race since 2002 - I'm really happy to be back. Now I have to prove I can still do it - it's not easy to have to make your comeback at the age of 22 ! I am really looking forward to the Proximus 24 Hours of Spa - it's my home track, and it should be great."

Mini Interview - Walter Lechner Jr - Konrad Motorsport
After only completing a couple of laps in Monza, the Saleen driver set the best time in the first free practice session today.

How did the session go?

"I am very happy, the tyres worked very well, especially the intermediates at the end of the session. We still have to work a bit on the rain tyres, but we had a new tyre and Pirelli did a good job. I hope that in the afternoon, if it's not raining or not too wet, that we can keep on working. We had some problems with the engine but by the end of the session everything was going well, and we have a good basis. Then we have to see what happens tomorrow."

Note: Walter's brother Robert is now driving for JMB Racing.

What is it like having your brother in the Championship ?

"It's good, because we share a room together, he's booking the flights, so I don't have so much work, and we are travelling together as well, so I have no problems with that. This is one of the best Championships in which to race against your brother. It is a long distance race, you have to drive cleverly - you're not fighting wheel to wheel as you would in single-seater races, over just 10 laps. There are a lot of good things, and we can improve each other's performance by talking together, and it's quite OK. We'll see. Last race he didn't get a chance to drive, and I drove just two laps. This time, when we're driving in the same stint, we'll have to see.

Is there much rivalry between you ?

"He's always gone his way, and I've gone mine. He's four years older than me, and now we're in the same class for the first time and the same Championship. He's done a good job today, and I hope we will soon be fighting for pole position. The best result would be Lechner- Lechner on the front row !"

Mini Interview - Jamie Derbyshire
British driver Jamie Derbyshire is in his first season in the FIA GT Championship.

How has it gone today ?

"I am having to learn the track in rather difficult conditions, and as I saw that a lot of people were going off, I wanted to try to avoid that and build myself up slowly. So I spent time learning the circuit, and did around 12 flying laps. I like the Lister, it's a nice car to drive, nicely balanced, which gives you a lot of confidence. I think we're going to try some changes later to try to get some more time, and obviously I should go faster as I get to know the track a bit better. Everyone said this was a very technical circuit, and I can see why - it's got 13 corners over the 4 kilometres, and each one leads into another, and you're braking while turning, so it's a case of learning how to deal with it.

This is your first year on the international scene ...

"It's quite a change, much more competitive than the British GTs that I did last year. You're up against really well-prepared machinery as well, and I think the car and the drivers have to be on top form to do well in this form of racing. You need a good race car, and drivers who can do consistent times over the three hours.

What is your racing background ?

"I started in Caterhams and then did Radicals. I did the GT Championship last year in a Mosler, and came near to winning the Championship. It's a very big learning curve for this year, with so many new tracks to learn. We'll have to see how the rest of practice and qualifying goes, and then see on Sunday !"

-fia-

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About this article
Series Blancpain Sprint
Drivers Christian Pescatori , Lucas Luhr , Peter Kox , Val Hillebrand , Jamie Derbyshire , Patrick Pearce
Teams Reiter Engineering