JRM Racing finished a fascinating first day of practice for the Six Hours of Bahrain, the FIA World Endurance Championship’s first venture into the Middle East, second quickest in the privateers’ championship. The trio of David Brabham, Karun Chandhok and Peter Dumbreck put the Honda HPD ARX-03a into fifth overall with a laptime of 1:49.100, establishing solid foundations for final practice and qualifying tomorrow.
The #22 was quickly readied for FP2 with only minimal delay, allowing the drivers to continue the run programme. Peter was first up in the car before David took over, with Karun again completing the day’s running. The Indian, who made his F1 race debut at the track in 2010, set the team’s quickest time of the day – 1:49.100 – after 24 laps, putting it into P5 overall and second in the privateers’ classification.
Karun Chandhok: We chipped away at the programme with lots of set-up changes over the two sessions. We all decided it was better to leave one driver in the car and make systematic changes and, as I have the most experience of the track having been here with GP2 and again with F1, it was easier for me to do the most running. I was pretty happy at the end of the second session and was able to do a reasonable time right towards the checkered flag. Hopefully when Peter and David get in tomorrow they will pick up where I left off.
David Brabham: We worked through the programme step by step today, focusing on race set up and understanding the tyres as we feel that will play quite an important role here. We gathered a lot of information and worked methodically on fine-tuning the set-up once we had this data. We had some issues with the front of the car and getting it into the apex, but we are now going in the right direction. Karun had some more running at the end of the session as he has the most experience round here. He was much happier at the end of the day than at the start, which shows we are getting things right for tomorrow.
Peter Dumbreck: The track is quite enjoyable to drive as there are some nice flowing corners, plus some tighter ones that you need to get your head round as well. We tried a few things on the car and the session ended well for Karun. Now we have some confidence in the car we can build on it tomorrow. I think if we keep going as we are now and the car is as it was at the end of FP2, it should be another close race between us and the other privateer cars.
Nigel Stepney, team manager and chief engineer: The team did a fantastic job today. In such high temperatures it’s not easy to start with, but to do a gearbox change between sessions and have the car ready on time is a great effort. Getting the car finished just for the start of FP2 meant we had to do a lot of the set-up work during the practice as we used the earlier session for circuit familiarization. Once we had the mandatory five laps during nighttime running out of the way, we had a fairly comprehensive programme and set a quick time at the end of the 90 minutes. This shows there is still a lot more to come from us tomorrow.
Source: JRM Racing