HIGH FIVE FOR SWISS SPIRIT IN QUALIFYING AT JARAMA
The Swiss Spirit team once again demonstrated its pace in this year's Le Mans Series, by qualifying fifth on the grid for this weekend's 1000Km of Jarama, the final round of the Series. This stands the team in good stead as it fights for the second place spot in the championship, which is still open with Swiss Spirit and two other teams vying for the position.
Team Manager Serge Saulnier was happy with the team's performance, despite problems in practice which limited its opportunity to develop the Courage LMP1's set-up for the Spanish circuit. "We lost a lot of time in practice yesterday (Friday) as we were only able to do three laps before the engine coolant temperature rose too high. We found and resolved the problem last night and so we had to start our set-up work this morning in free practice.
"The car was oversteering to begin with, so we worked hard to try to improve that for qualifying this afternoon. I feel that Marcel did a good job qualifying fifth and we are confident for the race itself. We know that our car is very consistent in terms of the way it uses tyres and Marcel's qualifying time was done on old tyres. So we feel we can establish a good rhythm in the race and should be fighting for a podium position if we have a clean run with no problems."
Marcel Fassler was happy with qualifying, although he did feel that a second row position was possible. "I felt that we could have been on the front two rows but the margin was very close. I had a little too much understeer during qualifying in the slower corners, as opposed to oversteer this morning. So perhaps the changes we made went a little too far. Also, it was much windier this afternoon than it was this morning, so that may have had an effect on the car's handling.
"We also know that Pescarolo was on softer tyres while we were on medium compound but we're not sure what the other teams were on. But I'm happy with fifth -- it means we still have a very good chance for second in the championship. It's also good that there are no LMP2 cars ahead of us, because it's very difficult to overtake here at Jarama, particularly the P2 cars. They are slower than us but not so much slower that you can simply drive past them. So I'm happy."
Team-mate Harold Primat carried out most of the set-up work in the morning session and is also looking forward to the final round of the series. "We weren't quite where we wanted to be to start with," he said "but we got back on the right track very quickly. I was sixth fastest in free practice this morning, which I was pleased with, as it showed that we are definitely competitive. The, Marcel qualified fifth, just 0.1sec slower than the RML car, which is another demonstration of our competitiveness.
"But the important thing is that we are in front of both the Creation and Synergy teams, which are the competition for second in the championship, so that gives us a boost. If we can get the laps in and stay out of trouble, then I feel we can be in contention for the podium and second in the series."