Practice Patter ...
It was the first visit here for both Nicolas Minassian and Felipe Ortiz, so it was a steep learning curve for the Creation team today. The technically challenging track was reported to be very slippery and, as Minassian said after just one lap, "Traffic will be bad in the race, I can tell you that now!"
Beppe Gabbiani first raced here nearly thirty years ago, and the 1983 Spanish Grand Prix was one of several outings at the Jarama circuit for the Italian. It has been some years since he last raced here, and he admitted he couldn't remember it well. "It took me a few laps to remember any of it so I didn't push at all. There will be lots of overtaking so you have to spend as much time looking in your mirrors as where you are going on the track." The Italian is suffering from a swollen right leg, due to fluid retention, but only completed about 5 laps today so the real test of the leg will be tomorrow morning.
Ortiz completed several more laps than his team-mate and said afterwards, "There is very little traction and we still have some oversteer. The track is very twisty and the run off areas are small so you have to be quite cautious."
Mixed Duties ...
Swiss-domiciled Felipe is a very busy man this weekend, combining his business duties as Managing Director of Valderrama Estates, which includes the highly prestigious Valderrama Golf Club, with his racing career. It is rare that the two clash so even more unfortunate when the clash is so important on both sides.
Not only will Felipe be chasing 2nd place in the Drivers and Teams' Championship this weekend, but he will also be attending the Ryder Cup golf competition in Ireland for as much of the weekend as his schedule allows. As Felipe says, "It will be a challenging weekend for me but my main objective is to keep the car on the tarmac!"
French Leave ...
It is a welcome return to the Creation team for Jeremy Lavaux who worked with the team at this year's 24 Hours of Le Mans. The 19-year-old apprentice from the famous La Filière motor racing school at Le Mans is completing the second part of his "stage" (placement) before graduating as a trained race mechanic at the end of October.
Jeremy is thrilled to be back with Creation, particularly as the three races he will work at include the Petit Le Mans classic and the four-hour Laguna Seca ALMS races in North America. "I am really looking forward to those races; I've heard so much about them and am very excited to be going to the USA. I officially finish college on the 29th October and after that I will be looking for a job. I am hoping to work for Creation as I like the English teams and I have discovered there are lots of French people in Oxford so I haven't felt homesick at all."
Under the current regulations, Sunday will be the last time that hybrid cars will be raced in Europe in an international series. From 2007 they will be eligible to race in the USA or Japan but not in Europe. Say a fond farewell then to the CA06/H and the Pescarolo C60.