ENCOURAGING START FOR FISKEN IN TRICKY CONDITIONS Heavy rain throughout the first qualifying session for the 2006 24 Hours of Le Mans caused consternation for many of the drivers taking to the circuit for the first time in earnest. Gregor...
ENCOURAGING START FOR FISKEN IN TRICKY CONDITIONS
Heavy rain throughout the first qualifying session for the 2006 24 Hours of Le Mans caused consternation for many of the drivers taking to the circuit for the first time in earnest. Gregor Fisken, driving the works Courage LMP1 car, made the best of what would turn out to be the worst weather Le Mans had seen for nearly two weeks.
Fisken started the first of the evening's two sessions running on the deeper grooved Yokohama wet tyres but even so, the conditions were extremely tricky. He even likened it to driving classic racing cars. "The tyres worked reasonably well in very difficult circumstances. But the circuit wasn't just wet, it was also oily," he explained. "With this much rain on public roads, it was like an ice rink. There was extreme understeer, oversteer and wheelspin, just like a historic racer. So situation normal for me!"
He was pleased with his and the car's pace in the early stages of the session, running within the top ten, despite the appalling conditions. "The changes on the circuit were extraordinary. There would be rain at one end and none at the other. It was also very tricky on the straights, coming up behind other cars. I'd know there were two cars there but there was always a thought that there could be three.
"We seemed to be as fast as the sister car, which was very encouraging. However, poor Alex [Frei] went out to try the car on the shorter tread block tyres and they absolutely didn't work. He went off the road and damaged the splitter and the rear of the car. There's no long term damage but it may stop us from going out in the second session tonight. But I'm sure that if either I or Sam [Hancock] went out on the same tyres, we'd have struggled as well."
Fisken's prediction turned out to be correct, as the number 12 Courage remained in the team garage for the second of the evening's sessions, while it was repaired ready for the following day's repeat sessions.
Commenting on the evening's activities, Courage Competition's Claude Surmont, said; "The conditions were so difficult we had to put in the laps carefully. The wet track after being dry for so long was very greasy and we needed every bit of tread we had."