Spyker Squadron Thursday qualifying report

Spyker Squadron: Le Mans qualifying results Le Mans, 12 June -- After yesterday's action packed qualifying sessions, the teams got another chance today to further improve their race setup and qualifying times today. Like yesterday two two-hour...

Spyker Squadron: Le Mans qualifying results

Le Mans, 12 June -- After yesterday's action packed qualifying sessions, the teams got another chance today to further improve their race setup and qualifying times today. Like yesterday two two-hour session were scheduled and today's goal was to finalise a satisfactionary setup for this weekend's race.

The number 85 Spyker C8 Laviolette GT2R, driven by Peter Dumbreck, Ralf Kelleners and Alexei Vasiliev, will start the race this Saturday from a 9th position in class. The number 94 car with Andrea Chiesa, Benjamin Leuenberger and Iradj Alexander behind the wheel will start from a 12th place.

After last weeks weather drama the majority of time was spent yesterday on installation laps and a basic setup. Alexei started in the #85 car before switching seats with Ralf Kelleners. At the begin of the first session the air temperature was still high and the crew paid extra attention to the engine and cockpit temperatures. Regulations demand the cockpit temperatures to be lower than 32 degrees centigrade and violations will be penalised. With 30 minutes to go Peter got in the car for his share of track time. Towards the end of the first two-hour session he went for two flying laps and set the 8th time in GT2.

In the other car it was Andrea Chiesa who kicked off the first session. He spent little over an hour in the car and returned a number of times to the box for changes to improve the behaviour of the car. At a quarter past eight he handed the car over to Swiss Benjamin Leuenberger. Iradj Alexander completed the last 15 minutes to the checkered flag.

In Wednesday's second session the goal was to complete the mandatory night laps - three for each driver. Peter Dumbreck did improve his time in the 85 car although their plans for another quick lap towards the end of the second session were abandoned due to another code red.

At 19:00 today green light was given for the third two-hour session. Just before the start of the session a few showers hit the track, but with the sun replacing the clouds all cars went out on slicks. After only six minutes an LMP1 went into the barriers and caused another red flag situation. It took the marshals about 25 minutes to clear the track and repair the guard rails before the cars went out again at 19:30. Session-starter Alexei Vasiliev switched with Ralf Kelleners after the code red was lifted. Ralf worked with the mechanics on the last bits of setup-work and after the session he said he was happy with the setup and handling of the car. Just after 20:30 another code red was given for shunt of an prototype and at 20:48 the organisation announced that the session was finished as the marshals required all time to clean the track.

In the fourth and last qualifying session both crews were able to improve their times. Benjamin Leuenberger and Andrea Chiesa improved their time and will start this weekend from a 12th position. In the other car it was Peter Dumbreck that set a quickest lap of 4:03.641, which will put him and his team mates 9th on the GT2 grid.

Andrea Chiesa: "We concentrated on the race setup instead of a good qualifying result. Instead of being further up the grid we have saved some soft tires for the race that we can use at night. As a driver of course you always want to be quick but I think this will pay off in the race. I am happy with the setup of the car. Of course we could always have used another test day but I am looking forward to a reliable race without too much trouble". Peter van Erp, managing director Spyker Squadron: "We have been able to complete a lot of work in the last two days. We managed to work out a good setup and eventually we have set a very acceptable time. Although I think our time is really good, the competition is stronger than ever and it is unbelievable that the first teams dropped below the 4-minute mark. All drivers had plenty of track time to start the race with confidence. We managed to stay out of trouble and will start tonight to prepare the cars for the race.

Tomorrow is 'preparation day'; the team already started to remove the engines. Fresh race engines will be installed in both cars and all sorts of other preparation have to be completed before Saturday, the race day. The 76th edition of the 24-hours of Le Mans starts at 15:00.

-credit: spyker

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About this article
Series Le Mans
Drivers Ralf Kelleners , Peter Dumbreck , Andrea Chiesa , Benjamin Leuenberger , Alexander Iradj