SRT EXPERIENCE A MIXED WEEKEND NOGARO. The FIA GT championship is slowly coming to the end of the season, with still only two races to go, and in the meanwhile all the teams headed off down to Nogaro in the south of France. As per usual a two...
SRT EXPERIENCE A MIXED WEEKEND
NOGARO. The FIA GT championship is slowly coming to the end of the season, with still only two races to go, and in the meanwhile all the teams headed off down to Nogaro in the south of France. As per usual a two hour race was scheduled on this highly technical circuit. SRT livened the initial faze of the race, with Christophe Bouchut coming into the pitlane in a leader's position, however a double misunderstanding between the drivers during the two driver change-overs saw all hopes of a victory fade away. The Corvette C6.R finally finished in eighth place. "I'm highly disappointed, because such things shouldn't happen", Patrick Selleslagh commented. "The car was perfect, the team put in a good job and then the drivers have to finish it off.."
On Saturday the SRT Corvette systematically moved up towards the top-3. An ideal set-up was worked on during the free practice sessions and this was achieved.
Xavier Maassen: "Nogaro is a track where you need to find the right balance between speed and endurance. The track is very demanding on tyres and therefore there's not much sense in going flat out and then having to come in with a tyre problem and losing time. This is why we spent time in finding the perfect set-up to enable us to be up front in both the qualifying and the race itself. I believe that we found that set-up together with the team and we can now convert that into a good result."
Christophe Bouchut at the wheel of the Corvette finally finished third in the qualifying, an ideal position for the race. "I'll only be satisfied with a victory", a confident Bouchut commented during the press conference. "I'm racing in front of a home crowd, know the circuit well and gained my first F3 victory here, and this some twenty years ago."
The race started off well for the multiple French champion. Without forcing the car he worked himself up into the top-2, surprised Greg Franchi in the Saleen when doubling the GT2s and was also somewhat later ahead of the leader in the race, the Swiss Marcel Fassler in another Corvette. Right up until the first hour the Belgian team were leading the pack.
Xavier Maassen was ready to take over the wheel, "but what happened then I find really disappointing", Patrick Selleslagh continues the story. "The boys in the team carried out the tyre change and refuelling in a good time, but my drivers were unable to perform a proper driver change, notwithstanding regular practices in this field. What actually happened they have to work out for themselves and I'm convinced that that they'll be putting matters right in Zolder. They are both good drivers and I want to finish off the European season on a high, especially knowing that we'll be doing this in front of a home crowd at Zolder."
Maassen then managed to stay up in the top-5, however a drive-through at the end of the race, for having exceeded the speed in the pitlane, made this French race a pure nightmare for the team. Maassen and Bouchut finally still managed to score one point with their eighth place. "But so much more could have been achieved...", a highly disappointed Patrick Selleslagh concluded.
SRT will be staying on in France to compete in the final race of the FFSA GT championship being held next week. Maxime Soulet and Wilfried Merafina will be the two drivers on hand at Magny-Cours.