One of my best!
One week after his sensational second place at the Le Mans 24 Hours, Benoît Treluyer once again just missed out on victory in Malaysia on the way to his best Super GT result of 2010. On top of his game throughout the weekend, Motul-Autech's Nissan GT-R star admitted that Sepang, a tricky circuit to master, witnessed one of the strongest performances of his career.
"We were unfortunate during qualifying," said Benoît. "My team mate Satoshi Motoyama, who needs more experience of the Michelin tyres, was chosen by the team to qualify. He was quite unlucky during the 'Super Lap' session that we progressed through to, with three cars on track at the same time; one on its in-lap, one on its out-lap and us on our flying lap. The car completing its out-lap broke down and Satoshi had to abandon his quick run. He was given another chance, but his tyres were by then past their best and he could manage no better than 3rd, even though pole was within our reach."
As Motoyama had qualified the car, it was he who took the start from the second row of the grid. Unfortunately, suffering in traffic, he lost four places during the opening stint and handed the car over in seventh.
"I rejoined the track and was pushing like mad," continued Benoît, "and started to climb back up the classification, overtaking my rivals one after another."
Now second overall, Benoît was soon with the leader. But attempting to pass under braking, he got too close and made slight contact which resulted in an immediate penalty.
"I received a drive through penalty," he confirmed. "The worst bit is that the leader had also been issued with a penalty after pushing another competitor. Had I known, I would have followed behind and easily secured the victory!"
Having dropped down to 5th place, the Frenchman resumed his charge, reclaiming the positions he had already taken once that afternoon. With just a few laps remaining he was back up to second but ran out of time to mount any serious attack on the lead.
"I really produced an attacking performance," said Benoît. "I never backed off, nailing one qualifying effort after another for 32 laps! After our difficult start to the season, it is great to be back on the podium. The Michelin tyres have improved since Fuji and, once again, they maintained their reputation of being very efficient in hot conditions. We grabbed second position and were behind the GT-R of Tsugio Matsuda and Ronnie Quintarelli, so at least it was a Nissan that won the race."
In addition to the satisfaction of a strong result, the Frenchman found other positives in his second place.
"I really wanted to do well. Satoshi's problems during qualifying and in the traffic made me angry. I knew that we had the potential to do well despite all the issues so I really went for it. I did not try to save the tyres. I gave it everything."
The result also confirmed the significant progress made by the Motul-Autech team in recent weeks.
"We are heading in the right direction," concluded Benoît. "It will be a bit more difficult during races where the temperature is cooler but we will definitely be competitive at the next two rounds."
The crazy week at Le Mans and the few days of Sepang's searing heat feature in the next instalment of Benoît-Poy - the cartoon to carry Benoît's name and which recalls his recent adventures. It should be as memorable as June 2010 was for Benoît.
-source: benoit treluyer