CHANDHOK PUTS JRM IN 8TH POSITION FOR ROUND TWO OF THE FIA WORLD ENDURANCE CHAMPIONSHIP AT SPA FRANCORRCHAMPS
May 05, 2012, Spa-Francorrchamps, Belgium: In qualifying for round two of the FIA World Endurance Championship, driving JRM Racing's Honda Performance Development ARX-03a, Indian racing star Karun Chandhok set the eighth-fastest time for the 6-hours of Spa - amid an overall grid of 41 cars.
Chandhok enjoyed his first ever qualifying session in Sportscar racing at Spa and is confident of a better showing in the race. He commented, “The car ran well, even though we were trying different set-ups during the practice sessions and qualifying, which had an effect on our pace. I feel there’s more to come and, with a good clean run tomorrow, I see no reason why we won’t be able to improve on our start position.”
Having arrived at the ionic Belgium circuit earlier this week, the team prepared the car for it's first competitive outing since the opening round of the championship at Sebring in March. With three practice sessions - two on Thursday and one today (Friday) - the intention was to build on the car's proven performance on its first outing and set up the car specifically for Spa's unique layout.
Although running well in the first of the 1.5-hour practice sessions, with David Brabham and Chandhok behind the wheel, the car developed a braking issue that caused the rear wheels to lock momentarily. Deciding that fixing the problem would be more important than continued running, the team opted not to complete the second-session.
But with everything working 100%, Peter Dumbreck took the car out for the third and final practice period this morning, with Chandhok finishing off the driving in readiness for his qualifying stint. Having ran perfectly for the full-hour, all that was left for the team to do was hone the car's set up and, although eighth fastest in the 20-minute qualifying session was a step in the right direction, the team knows there is still more to come for the race tomorrow.
Team Manager and Head of Engineering Nigel Stepney commented, "The problems in practice meant we didn't do all we wanted in terms of set-ups, so to start eighth is very promising. Six hours of running at Spa is a long time and, if we can make a few more improvements, then we should be on target for another good run. Of course, at this track the weather can also play a part, which could certainly shake things up."
Team Principal James Rumsey is looking to finish higher than their start position after the team is confident of the changes made to car. He said, "Even with the reduced running time so far, we have been able to gather a great deal of information and data, which is not only good for Spa, but Le Mans too - which is valuable, as it's the most important race of the year and the next round of the championship. However, we have a six-hour race tomorrow, and a lot can happen in that amount of time and we therefore have every opportunity of getting a good result."
Following a half-hour warm-up session tomorrow morning, the six-hour race gets the green light at 14.30 CEST (13.30 GMT). The race can be watched live at: www.fiawec.com