Valencia: Johnny Mowlem race report

MOWLEM OPTIMISTIC AFTER VALENCIA RACE VALENCIA, Spain (May 6, 2007) -- British racing star Johnny Mowlem and his teammates had one of those difficult racing weekends that shows a team's mettle and, in the long run, makes an organization ...

MOWLEM OPTIMISTIC AFTER VALENCIA RACE

VALENCIA, Spain (May 6, 2007) -- British racing star Johnny Mowlem and his teammates had one of those difficult racing weekends that shows a team's mettle and, in the long run, makes an organization optimistic.

Mowlem and his GPC Motorsports teammates arrived in Valencia fresh from a top 5 finish in the championship opener in Monza, Italy. This time around they competed for the podium in the 1,000 kilometer Le Mans Series GT2 class before mechanical issues finally knocked their Ferrari out of the race in the final hour and a half.

Prior to that Mowlem, who had started his 430 Ferrari from the back of the grid after changing tyres post qualifying, managed to fight through the entire GT2 field to take the class lead before pitting to hand over to Luca Drudi.

Drudi did a sterling job to initially hold fourth place but then the car developed a gear box problem which meant that it was impossible to use second gear. Drudi managed to hang on but eventually dropped to seventh by the time he had handed back over to Mowlem.

Mowlem re-adapted his driving style and managed to claw the car back up to third in class, despite the lack of second gear, before handing over to Gabrio Rosa who eventually lost third and fourth gear as well.

Team owner Giampaolo Coppi was distraught that such a good opportunity to fight for the podium had gone, but with the loss of the other gears was forced to make the decision to retire the #83 GPC Ferrari from the race.

"It was a huge shame," Mowlem said. "The racecar was really fast. The team did a great job of converting it to a good car, especially after all our woes in practice and qualifying. I couldn't remember a time when I was taking so many risks to be so far down the grid! I was pretty relieved when after changing all the shock absorbers on Saturday night we went second quickest in the warm-up, especially as we were a second quicker than we'd managed in qualifying, which virtually never happens!"

On his second stint without second gear, Mowlem said that it actually became quite easy once he'd worked out a few tricks and found a rhythm.

"The hardest part was dealing with traffic because I was slow at the exit of all the corners, as most of them at Valencia are taken in second gear! I was having to skip second on the upshift which in a sequential box is not the easiest thing in the world. I also found that if I dropped a wheel over the kerbs exiting corners I could spin the outside wheel and that helped pick the revs up when I was using the higher gear. It made it a bit harder, especially as to top it all I had no right hand wing mirror as a prototype car had sliced it off with their rear wing after 20 minutes of the race, so I was really relying on my engineer to tell me where the traffic was! It was one of those races where despite a bad result, I actually came away with a positive feeling that we'd really given it our best shot and performed well as a team."

Mowlem's next race will be in the second round of the International GT Open championship, again in Valencia, Spain.

-credit: www.johnnymowlem.com

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About this article
Series European Le Mans
Drivers Luca Drudi , Johnny Mowlem