SATURDAY IN SAN LUIS
At nine o'clock this morning the GT1 cars headed out onto the Potrero de Los Funes circuit for free practice, giving the majority of the GT1 drivers their first ever opportunity to drive their race cars on this track. The circuit received a unanimous thumbs up from all the drivers, with Michael Krumm describing it as, "the most exciting and fun circuit I have ever driven on." Warren Hughes agreed and added, "it definitely has the wow factor but it is just waiting to bite you," in reference to the concrete walls that line the 6.27km track. Described as "a place for the brave and the accurate" the San Luis track is going to provide many thrills and spills over the next 24 hours.
After days of clear skies and hot sunshine the weather turned after free practice with monsoon rain and hailstones delaying the start of pre-qualifying. Any rubber that had been laid down on the track in free practice was washed away and all of the dust and sand was washed back on.
The weather cleared in time for qualifying and it was the No.23 Sumo Power car of Peter Dumbreck and Michael Krumm that came out as top Nissan GT-R, taking eighth place on the grid for the first of tomorrow's two races. They will actually start the race tomorrow from seventh place due to a grid penalty being given to another competitor. Sumo team-mates Jamie Campbell-Walter and Warren Hughes had a tough afternoon, not making the cut in the first qualifying session and having to settle for 18th place. The Swiss Racing Team Nissan GT-Rs will line up just behind them in 20th and 21st places respectively.
Tomorrow is going to be a busy day in San Luis. The Qualifying race will begin at 0915hrs (1315hrs CET) and then the final Championship race of the 2010 season will get underway at 1500hrs (1900hrs CET).
WHAT THE DRIVERS SAY...
"We were happy to make it into Q3; both Michael and I found good speed in the car today. I was unlucky to hot traffic on my qualifying run. Ironically it was the guy who went on to take pole who spun in front of me and blocked the track on my first lap. I had given him plenty of space but you can't account for spins like that. My tyres peaked on lap one so that was that and I took eighth."
"We had a bit of a gear selection problem and the car was also skittery under braking and that was enough to keep us out of Q2. You need confidence under braking here because otherwise going into the corners is just a little bit too exciting. We've now got one hell of a race on our hands tomorrow from the back."
"I tried to push hard today but I think the tyre pressures were too low. I kept going though so I could learn the track. My driving got better through the session but I just didn't have enough grip so it was hard to have the confidence to attack."
"It is hard to know where you are when you lose the pre-qualifying session, as we did today due to the rain. The car felt okay to me. I did a 17.8 and was in 10th place in Q1 but the mistake was to come in and change tyres. This meant I only had enough time left for one flying lap and that wasn't enough. We will have to be careful tomorrow as going offline will not be good here. We will be strong on the straights though."