SPYKER SQUADRON: LE MANS WEDNESDAY QUALIFYING

In mixed conditions Spyker Squadron entered both factory Spyker C8 Spyder GT2R's in the first two qualifying sessions on Wednesday. The first two-hour qualifying session started at 19:00 in dry conditions. Earlier today we had some light showers and more rain was expected for the evening...

The goal for toady was to test some of the modifications made after the official Le Mans test-day last week and to work towards a good setup for the race. As soon as the ACO officials gave green light both Jarek Janis and Andrea Belicchi got out on the track. The team started with a few installation laps to check all systems and then worked towards a good race setup.

Peter van Erp, director of Spyker Squadron explains: "We have done a lot of work today. We found a few things that needed improvement during the testday last week and all of them are solved. The air- conditioning system is compliant with the new ACO rules, which mandates specific cockpit temperatures during the race, although we will try to optimize the system tomorrow to add a bit of margin".

Car number 85, driven by Chiesa, Belicchi and Caffi, had some problems with an fuel pressure regulator early in the session. The team quickly replaced the regulator and the rest of the sessions the car ran without further problems. The second C8 Spyder, driven by Kane, Janis and Hezemans, had no problems and the drivers were able to complete today's test scheme and work towards a good basic setup for the race.

Both sessions were filled with typical Le Mans style action; local showers and some serious accidents caused several yellow and even red flag situations. After one hour in the first session a red flag was given; the JLOC Lamborghini spun in the one of the Mulsanne straight chicanes and it took some time before the extraction team released the driver from his damaged car. In the crash the guardrails was also damaged and had to be replaced by the marshals before green light could be given.

After about 40 minutes some teams positioned their cars at the end of the pitlane to be sure they could go out first; but than the ACO camera team pointed their cameras on wet tarmac somewhere at the back of the track. While it was completely dry in the pitlane it was raining at the southern parts of the 13,65km track and most of the team had to push back their cars to switch tires. Initially the teams had just five minutes to go in the first session at the time green light was given but the ACO extended the first session by 15 minutes.

In the second two-hour session, the night-session, all drivers had to complete 3 mandatory laps to familiarize themselves with the track in night conditions. Immediately after the start of the second session (at 22:00) all Spyker drivers finished their laps before the team commenced further improvements to the setup. The team emphasized that the drivers had to stay out of trouble and avoid damage to the cars as setting good qualifying time was not one of today's goals.

Peter van Erp: "We are currently in 7th and 9th position on the GT2 grid. With our current base setup we will continue tomorrow; we have two more qualifying sessions to go but we will not use any of the Michelin qualifier tires and will purely focus on the race setup".

Tomorrow at 19:00 the action on track continues. But in the afternoon fans are welcome in the pitlane to see their favourite cars from close by.

-credit: spyker