Monza: Friday Gian Maria Gabbiani practice notes

Monza was a very wet place to be this afternoon. Thunderstorms rattled around the Royal Park venue close to Milan, Italy, thus making Gian Maria Gabbiani's first practice run in the Graham Nash Motorsport (GNM) Saleen S7 GTS rather less ...

Monza was a very wet place to be this afternoon. Thunderstorms rattled around the Royal Park venue close to Milan, Italy, thus making Gian Maria Gabbiani's first practice run in the Graham Nash Motorsport (GNM) Saleen S7 GTS rather less enticing.

However the 25 year old Milan based driver remained upbeat. "It was really raining hard when I did my first laps. I saw an Audi R8 crash heavily, I think the DBA Zytek lost a wheel as well, and a Ferrari crashed.needless to say I took it very carefully. I couldn't see very much at over 160mph from the spray from other cars, and our windscreen demister was not working, so after 5 laps in total I came into the pits".

Gian Maria's team mates Ettore Bonaldi and Michel Orts were fortunate to experience the Saleen's awesome characteristics in the morning's dry practice session. Rapid acceleration from the 800bhp Nascar engine, and phenomenal braking performance thanks to the carbon fibre discs and pads fitted to the half a million dollar car make it a front running GTS class proposition.

Tomorrow there are two 45 minute qualifying sessions and Gian Maria hopes for dry conditions at the least. "I really will need to drive the Saleen in the dry so I can gain more confidence. I think it is an easy car to drive to be honest, even in the wet with a bit more experience. Ettore was quick today so I think he will qualify first, but I am confident I can be as quick as him certainly in the race itself".

He concluded "After today's performance I think that we will have to set a consistent pace in the race and we can be there on the podium in the end. The race is long (6 hours or 1000kms) so it is important that we stay out of trouble and our pit crew are efficient. If it rains I think we will have a better chance, as long as we can see where we are going! The Ferrari's of Barron-Connor and Larbre will be strong, and certainly the Force One Viper in the wet will be good, but we are optimistic".

Gabbiani is supported by Bellomondo Fashion, North Carolina Wireless, JBC Construzioni Milano, Arsenik Optic Italia, Ship It llc, and Cranfield University.

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Series ELMS