David Brabham and the Panoz team were expected to star in qualifying for this weekend's third round of the Le Mans Series at Silverstone in the U.K., but it was his ex-Simtek Formula One team-mate Mimmo Schiattarella who stole the ...
David Brabham and the Panoz team were expected to star in qualifying for this weekend's third round of the Le Mans Series at Silverstone in the U.K., but it was his ex-Simtek Formula One team-mate Mimmo Schiattarella who stole the limelight.
Driving the privateer Lola with Didier de Radigues for the Rafanelli team, Schiattarella stopped the clocks at 1:37.030 at the home of the British Grand Prix.
The performance outpaced all the factory squads including BMW and Audi, while the Panoz team led the chase by qualifying second and third.
"It's a good result, but I'm not surprised," said Schiattarella's team-mate Didier de Radigues.
"We've put in a lot of work, building it up bit by bit, and everything is working well. The team has done an excellent job : the set-up is perfect. But we'll carry on working, as we believe we have a real chance of victory.
"At the moment we have a good lead, and we'll try to keep that over the weekend. But in the race, anything can happen - it might rain."
Brabham and team-mate Jan Magnussen were second fastest, but are hopeful of improving in tomorrow's final qualifying session.
"I had a car in front of me on my first flying lap which got in the way, and that affected my run onto the straight for my next lap so I lost a bit of time there.
"It probably wasn't a lot, maybe a couple of tenths, which would have made all the difference.
"I'm pleased with 2nd on the grid but the car's balance is not quite as I would have liked, a bit too much understeer. But it's good to have both Panoz cars in the top three - a great job by the team."
While the Lola and Panoz machines were strong, last round winners BMW struggled today - only qualifying 6th and 9th fastest.
Olivier Beretta and Karl Wendlinger headed the GTS qualifying aboard their Dodge Viper while Dirk Muller and Lucas Luhr were the pacesetters in the GT division with their Porsche GT3-R.
Final qualifying will be staged on Saturday afternoon (U.K. time), with the 500km third round of the Le Mans Series being staged the same day, kicking off at 6pm in the evening.
Paul Ryan email@example.com