Not even time to sweat!
Benoit Treluyer, the 2008 Super GT champion, didn't even have a chance to get his overalls wet with perspiration at Okayama last weekend after co-driver Satoshi Motoyama, having started seventh, was pushed off the track with just 15 laps gone.
"Satoshi was maintaining a good rhythm at the beginning of the race when, suddenly, he was squeezed by a competitor who was trying to overtake him" said Benoit. "They touched. It is a shame as had we made progress with the set-up and it would have been interesting to see how the tyres could perform. That's it, this is motor racing!"
Indeed, it was tyres that once again occupied the team's thoughts throughout practice.
"Okayama is the most critical track for us," continued the Frenchman. "We were quite happy with qualifying. Seventh was better than we anticipated especially as Satoshi did a promising time in Q2 with tyres which we should have kept for the race. But in order not to take any risks, as we had quite a bad race at Suzuka, we decided to go for the hard compound. This turned out to be a mistake as we did not have enough grip!"
Thanks to Benoit's Motul-Autech team being the only outfit to run Michelin rubber this season, it was an easy mistake to make as there were no other squad's with whom to share feedback.
"They were a new compound and as our Nissan GT-R is the only car using Michelins, their development programme means we don't have much choice. We did a good job with them, but we were unable to fine tune the car enough. The engine, which is also new, needs to be developed. It is quite difficult at the moment but I think that we will be able to make a big step forward before the next race in a month's time at Fuji."
Until then, Benoit's attention turns to prototypes and the continuing development of Audi's new R15 TDI plus. Two days of testing and a trip to the manufacturer's Ingolstadt headquarters to fine tune his driving position ahead of this June's Le Mans 24 Hours should ensure that his overalls won't remain dry for long.
Before leaving Japan, Benoit paid a visit to fellow Super GT driver Andre Couto whose son, Afonso, suffers from leukaemia and is in need of a bone marrow donor. If you think you can help, please do not hesitate to visit www.saveafonso.com.
-source: benoit treluyer