MINASSIAN OPENS ASSAULT ON PETIT LE MANS Nicolas Minassian, driving a Creation CA06/H race car, showed he meant business today by claiming a stunning pole position for tomorrow's 1,000 mile Petit Le Mans event. The Frenchman beat the ...
MINASSIAN OPENS ASSAULT ON PETIT LE MANS
Nicolas Minassian, driving a Creation CA06/H race car, showed he meant business today by claiming a stunning pole position for tomorrow's 1,000 mile Petit Le Mans event.
The Frenchman beat the all-conquering Audi R10 of Allan McNish by less than one tenth of a second in an entertaining qualifying session, and the sound of loud cheering was heard amongst the spectactors around the track when Minassian's time was confirmed.
After having suffered from gearshift problems in practice this morning, the team set about changing the gearbox and a number of other components, but were not really sure until qualifying started whether the problem was solved or not. They waited until nearly five minutes into the 25-minute session, but just as Nic was about to go out the session was red flagged. Fortunately it was not a long delay and so the "Blue Rocket" was soon on its way and up to speed. Minassian did a total of eight laps, posting his quickest, pole-setting time of 1:10.829 on the 6th lap of the eight. He then came into the pits for some fuel and a re-adjustment of tyre pressures before having a further look at lowering his lap times, something that in the end wasn't possible in the time available.
The team's founder and co-owner, Michael Jankowski, was delighted with the outcome but was equally realistic about what it means. "We've been on pole many times before, but we know we need to finish the race for it to really count and there's a formidable field of cars entered here. Nic did a fabulous job as always today, although it set the pulse racing a bit when the session was red flagged just as we were about to go out. We weren't sure how long that would last, or whether we'd have a recurrence of the gearshift issues from this morning."
As for Minassian, generous as ever towards those around him, pole position today was for the whole Creation team. "The pole is good for the team, who have worked so hard in the last few weeks to get here, and for the three of us [the drivers]. The car is working really well now and we know exactly where we are going on the set up. It's fantastic working with Jamie again and Harold is doing a very good job, fitting in really well, so a podium finish tomorrow would be a nice result for everyone."