Team Modena Complete Le Mans Qualifying Ready to Race!
Thursday's Le Mans qualifying sessions saw Team Modena at last getting some dry running at the French circuit ready for Saturday's 77th running of the Le Mans 24-Hour race, with the team fine tuning the car ready for the race rather then chasing a grid position. They finished the sessions 12th of the 17 LM GT2 cars, but more importantly with the drivers happy with the car in race set-up.
"We have had a good session," said Sporting Director Rik Bryan, "we have made good progress with the car and drivers. We are going in the right direction for the race - qualifying at LM is not the most important thing, but getting the car right for the drivers is. We felt we could have gone quicker if we had pushed more, but I think we have the pace we need for the race."
Pierre Ehret was first out for the team and made a series of stops for set-up changes before putting in his best time of the evening right at the end of his stint in the team's LM GT2 category Ferrari
"We had no incidents with traffic out on the track which was good," said Pierre, "there is still a lot of room left to make the car go quicker."
Once Pierre had finished his run, Leo Mansell stepped in to the car to have his first dry running of the week. The Briton fitted six flying laps into the remainder of the session, improving his times as he adapted to the daunting Le Mans circuit.
"It was good to get out there on dry tyres," said Leo between sessions. "I didn't do as many laps here as I had hoped, but it is such a long lap here that you can be out for a long time and do very few laps. The car was great, I just need to push harder in a couple of places and improve, we are in good shape for the race."
The start of the first session was delayed by 25 minutes as barriers were repairs on the circuit, which saw the one hour gap between sessions reduced to just over 30minutes, the team working fast to prepare the Ferrari for the final two hours of qualifying.
Roman Rusinov took the Ferrari 430 GT out onto the Le Mans track at the start of the second two-hour session, and the team's new Russian recruit showed his pace with some rapid laps in the gathering dark. Roman chipped away at his times to finish 12th fastest of the 17 LM GT2 category runners, setting the team's grid position for Saturday's race start.
"It was my first time in the dry in the car," said Roman, "and after my first run I had two laps on new tyres. Maybe with new tyres gain I could have improved by two seconds, I had some traffic on my best lap. Going for pole is really just for the press here, the car has a good balance - we have a good race car."
There is no track activity on the Friday of a Le Mans week, giving the teams the final opportunity to fettle their cars for the race. Attention instead is on the Le Mans city centre, where the traditional driver's parade starts at 6pm local time and winds through the streets in front of around 100,000 massed race fans.