Spa: Trading Performance weekend summary

A promising result before the Le Mans Race Last weekend, the Trading Performance Team met again with success by finishing 5th in the "LM" P2 category in the Spa 1000 km race, scoring 4 additional points in the process. After the mishaps of...

A promising result before the Le Mans Race

Last weekend, the Trading Performance Team met again with success by finishing 5th in the "LM" P2 category in the Spa 1000 km race, scoring 4 additional points in the process. After the mishaps of Monza, this result makes everyone at the team upbeat, going into the 24 Hours of Le Mans, a race the Swiss team will enter next month (June 15-16).

The competitors of the Le Mans Series met again last weekend on the Spa- Francorchamps race track for the 3rd race of the 2008 season, the last chance to get in shape before Le Mans. During the three practice sessions on Friday and Saturday, the Trading Performance Team ensured the car was set-up and optimised for this hilly track, of over 4 miles long. It was also the chance for the 3 drivers to get familiar with the track at the wheel of the Zytek 07S.

Karim Ojjeh who raced here last year in a similar car, quickly found his marks. Claude-Yves Gosselin was not so lucky, having to reduce his time at the wheel, handicapped by a muscular contraction in his neck. Julien Schroyen declared with a big smile: "I am very happy to race here, in Belgium. But we must keep our mind on the job, as there are really many cars on the track. It is a challenge to overtake the GT cars. We also have to be careful with the Audi and Peugeot. With their silent Diesel engine, one can hardly hear them coming!"

On Saturday afternoon, Karim was in charge of qualifying the car for the race. Unfortunately he was handicapped in his task as the session was stopped twice by various incidents requiring to clear the track. His Zytek achieved 11th position in the "LM" P2 category by the end of qualifying.

The start of the race was given on Sunday, at 12.50 pm under a warm sun, with 35.000 spectators attending. Julien started from the 21st position. The strategy adopted by the team for the first laps was to try and stay close to the leaders of the category, the almighty Porsche RS Spyder. Karim did a splendid double stint in the middle of the race, before passing the wheel to Claude-Yves. In charge of the car for the final laps, Julien went through some scary moments when the gearbox obliged him to slow the pace. In front of his public, the young Belgian passed the chequered flag in 5th place in his category (12th overall), adding 4 more points to the Team's purse, after the point earned in Barcelona. With a total of 5 points, Trading Performance is now 7th in the championship standings.

The following day, the team went back to work with a test day in Magny- Cours, the aim being to accustom Adam Sharpe who will race with the Zytek along Claude-Yves and Karim, in the 24 Hours of le Mans. The team will then return to Le Mans Series competitions, the 4th round taking place mid August on the Nurburgring track.

Karim Ojjeh: "I did not have any problem during my first stint and my lap times were good. We were gaining places. Suddenly tremendous vibrations occurred as there was a lot of dead rubber sticking to my wheel arches. It got worst with every lap. I was quite happy as I passed the wheel to Claude- Yves while in 4th position and we eventually finished 5th. This is an excellent result. Let's forget Monza and get ready for Le Mans!"

Claude-Yves Gosselin : "Since the start of the week-end I had a strong pain in my neck which also created severe headaches. I was not really fit. I preferred doing only one stint and give the wheel back to Julien for the end of the race. Furthermore I don't have such a good feeling with the Spa race track as I had a major crash in 1994 at the bottom of the Raidillon in a Opel-Lotus Formula. Since then I have some bad feelings every time I go through that portion of the track. It's a pity as I quite like the surrounding."

Julien Schroyen: "I had a good pace toward the end of the race, when suddenly the gearbox caused some major problems ! I could not downshift. I had to do it the old way, all manually. It is really difficult as you have to split each movement, release the gas pedal and go down the speeds one by one. I lost quite some time. But, we eventually finished in 5th position. So overall this weekend has been very positive for us!"

-credit: trading performance

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About this article
Series European Le Mans
Drivers Adam Sharpe , Claude-Yves Gosselin , Karim Ojjeh , Julien Schroyen