Treluyer keeps on fighting! The Lawson-Impul driver has done it again! Despite trailing in raw performance compared to his rivals at the Nakajima team, the Frenchman still scored his fifth podium finish of the season at Motegi on Sunday to...
Treluyer keeps on fighting!
The Lawson-Impul driver has done it again! Despite trailing in raw performance compared to his rivals at the Nakajima team, the Frenchman still scored his fifth podium finish of the season at Motegi on Sunday to remain very much in the championship hunt. For Benoît, whose confidence is back to its best, anything is possible--
"We arrived at Motegi with new shock absorbers and set-ups to try and close the gap to the Nakajima team. Unfortunately, the free practice session was quite disappointing as we only succeeded in matching our old times. So, for the qualifying session, the decision was made to return to our basic set-up," he confirmed post-race on Sunday night.
"In Q1, I only just made it through to second qualifying thanks to a poor set of tyres. I then set the fifth fastest time in Q2, but then in Q3 made a mistake in the fast esses and lost at least one tenth. I found myself seventh on the grid, although I wasn't too worried as we are always better in race conditions."
The next day, Treluyer made a good start and was running fifth before a penalty for race leader Takashi Kogure promoted him up to fourth. Having started with full fuel tanks, Benoît managed to contain the chasing pack of lighter cars during the opening stages whilst the three drivers ahead of him pulled away at a rate of three tenths per lap.
"For sure, I started to think that they weren't running with the same high fuel load as me so I did everything I could to save my tyres whilst trying not to lose too much ground. Unfortunately, at my first stop, I found out that they did have the same level of fuel after all."
For the second stint, Treluyer changed his strategy and began to attack. While pulling clear of those behind however, he was unable to make an impression on the top three and decided that securing a result might be a better idea. Indeed, with chief title rival Loïc Duval in second, damage limitation looked like the best course of action.
"On the last lap, I was cruising in fourth place when the driver ahead of me started having gear selection problems and was slowing down. I overtook him and inherited third, meaning that in the end I only lost two points to Duval. I'm now six points behind him in the championship but because damper development should be banned for the last two races, we still have a real chance of getting on terms with the Nakajima team. I will start with a disadvantage, but I am confident. I have won the championship before so have nothing left to prove, which is not the case for Duval. Bar one race where we suffered mechanical problems, I have been on the podium at every round since the beginning of the season. Two rounds remain until the end of the championship in Autopolis, a venue that suits me, and Sugo, where the Nakajimas are always super fast. It will be close!"
By then, the 'Benoit-poy' cartoon, which is available online at www.benoittreluyer.com, will have welcomed new characters, including that of former F1 driver, team boss and karaoke fan Aguri Suzuki, who prevented our hero from sleeping the night before the race. "As we were staying in a hotel belonging to Honda, the staff did not want to ask him to come down so I had to go and ask him myself," said Benoît, as straight forward as usual. "The next day, at the start, I did not offer the Honda drivers any chance." One must not disturb the sleep of Benoit-poy!