Spyker Squadron Mil Milhas Qualifying

Sao Paulo, 8th November - Spyker Squadron, the factory race-team of Dutch super-car manufacturer Spyker Cars, qualified sixth today for this weekend's last round of the Le Mans Series; the Mil Milhas Brasil. The 1000 mile-race will be raced at the only South-American Formula 1 circuit; Interlagos. The track, famous for its curvy nature with lots of difference in elevation, lies in the middle of the metropole Sao Paulo, Brazil.

Peter Kox qualified the number 85 Spyker C8 Spyder GT2R, which he will share during the race with Paul van Splunteren and Mike Hezemans, in almost tropical conditions. The last few days the weather has constantly changed and today it was again a question if the GT teams would qualify in wet conditions or not. Right at the beginning of the twenty minute qualifying session Peter was one of the first to leave the pit lane. He set a good time in his first timed lap and could improve his time in all three consecutive laps with a 1:34.116 as final result. The GT2 class proves again to be the most competitive class in the Le Mans Series - the first six cars qualified within a one second window.

Peter van Erp, director of Spyker Squadron: "I had hoped for a better position but so far the pace of the cars in our class is unbelievably quick. On the other hand I must admit that one second off the pace from the pole sitter is acceptable. We have made a lot of progress in the three free-practice sessions and the tires that worked so well for us at Silverstone are a bit of concern here. We changed to setup of the car to cope with the tire temperature and wear and therefor cannot reach our maximum performance".

Tomorrow the car will be ‘re-built' for the race. Both the engine and gearbox will be replaced to ensure the highest possible reliability for the 1000 mile race. The ‘final' setup however remains undecided depending on the weather forecast for the race-day. Peter van Erp: "The temperature variations are quite significant and the only thing that worries me a bit are the potential high temperatures as seen earlier this week". To further improve the safety the organization decided to install more lights around the track as the race will be partly run in night conditions and visibility in the second free-practice session last Wednesday was poor".

Mike Hezemans: "I have driven here before in January 2006 with the Corvette C5 and much has changed since then. The track has been resurfaced and grip levels have improved significantly since. The track itself is just great, lots of variation but like many tracks a bit difficult to take over. And this is not the only thing: it always rains here! The weather forecast does not look too good. So our results really depend on a good strategy during the race. The car is fine. I think we are not as close to the leaders as we were at Silverstone but we are not far off the pace".

Paul van Splunteren: "It is great to drive here with two good friends (Peter, Mike and Paul all live close to Eindhoven, the Netherlands) and at the same time an honor to drive with these professionals! The car is an excellent drive but is quite demanding to drive it compared to the power-steered cup cars I know. The car is well balanced and easy to control but it feels like it could use a bit more power. It is a challenge to get aquatinted with the car and track in the shortest time possible. I am not a professional driver like Peter and Mike, both drive every day of the week, so in terms of ‘cpu power' mine is constantly running in the limiter. But everything went fine so far and I am really looking forward to the race.

The race will start this Saturday at 12:00 local time (GMT-2) and will be broadcast live via MotorsTV.

-credit: ss