4th PLACE FOR SUGDEN IN GERMANY Yesterday's FIA GT Championship 500 kilometer race at Oscherslaben in Germany resulted in a 4th place in GT2 for Tim Sugden and Iradj Alexander after a strong run in the top group all race long. Tim started the...
4th PLACE FOR SUGDEN IN GERMANY
Yesterday's FIA GT Championship 500 kilometer race at Oscherslaben in Germany resulted in a 4th place in GT2 for Tim Sugden and Iradj Alexander after a strong run in the top group all race long.
Tim started the JMB - GruppeM Ferrari F430 from grid 3 and immediately felt an oversteer problem and heard a noise coming from the right rear as if something was catching the wheel, with compromised handling he was losing time against the expected pace. The team strategy was to run this 3 hour race, which is at a low fuel consumption circuit, as a one stopper and testing had shown the Pirelli tyres well capable of one change. Ambient temperatures were 35ºC and over in the shade so inside the car it was rather hot. The driving strategy was to change gear a little early to save fuel and so Tim did 1hour 30 minutes, longer than any other driver to the first stop, handing over to Iradj from the lead. The car dropped to 5th after the stop but gained time when the others made their second stops and ran third.
As the race progressed Tim Mullen in the second Scuderia Ecosse Ferrari was gaining on Iradj and with about 30 minutes to go Mullen dived inside at the first corner, braked late, hit the kerbs and spun, dropping 34 seconds behind Iradj. A 3rd place now seemed secure but after a few laps Iradj reported a flat spotted tyre and, worried about a blow out asked for a wheel change, as he was coming in he came on the radio and asked if Tim could get back in for the last 12 laps as he was exhausted so Tim returned to the car after very quick preparations to finish the race and set the car's fastest lap but 4th was all he could manage. Tim's fastest lap at 1:28.023 compares with the race fastest lap of 1:27.220 by Mullen. At the first stop, investigating the right rear corner as the tyres were changed it was found that the rear anti-roll bar was disconnected and the noise Tim could hear was the loose linkage catching the wheel which now had a deep groove on the inside. This disconnected roll bar had been causing the ill handling and the team felt that but for that the one stop strategy, had they been able to stick to it, would have made a win a real possibility
Tim returns to the Le Mans Endurance Series at the Nurburgring 1000km on July 16th with the Virgo Motorsports Ferrari 430 hoping to improve on third place with this car last time out at Spa Francorchamps in May