Pergusa: TMC qualifying report

TMC fight the kerbs in Pergusa during qualifying to secure P2 and P3 ahead of the third round of the FIA GT Championship Tomorrow (11 May). Team Maranello Concessionaires' two Ferrari 360N/GT race cars claimed second (car 88) and third places...

TMC fight the kerbs in Pergusa during qualifying to secure P2 and P3 ahead of the third round of the FIA GT Championship Tomorrow (11 May).

Team Maranello Concessionaires' two Ferrari 360N/GT race cars claimed second (car 88) and third places (car 89) in class on the grid during qualifying for round three of the FIA GT Championship in Enna-Pergusa today. 2002 British GTO Champion, Jamie Davies, driving car 88, set the quickest time of the pair at 1.39.724, just 0.5 seconds behind the number 52 JMB Ferrari 360. Darren Turner, driving car 89, completed his fastest lap in 1.39.806. .

Car 88's success today was made all the more rewarding due to the weight handicap applied (total now 35Kg compared to 0Kg for the JMB car) after being declared the winner of the Magny-Cours event two weeks ago. Both qualifying sessions were completed in dry, warm and sunny conditions today.

Jamie Davies: "I am absolutely delighted with my performance today but it was touch and go right until the end of the session this morning when I set my quickest time. As at Magny-Cours, we concentrated on setting up the car for the race yesterday during practice. I did not have a chance to drive the car with qualifying trim until my first run this morning. I was really struggling to achieve a clear lap due to traffic - I sat in the garage watching the time disappear during the red flag period and when the session restarted with a few minutes to go, I knew what I needed to do. Steve (Ridges - Race Engineer, car 88) told me to slow down as he could see that I had space behind me from the monitors. Once I had some air in front of me, I just went for it! To claim second on the (N/GT) grid at a circuit that is new to me and the team is a great feeling, but knowing that we have a very competitive race set-up and strategy at the same time makes it even better. Pergusa is a punishing circuit. Both Tim (Mullen) and I intend to take it relatively easy tomorrow and avoid making mistakes. The Saleen's accident this morning demonstrated what can happen if you loose concentration for a split second."

Darren Tuner: "We were concentrating on a complete race set-up this morning and so weren't too concerned about our times. An extension of yesterday's practice really. Towards the end of the session, the car was so good to drive. Great speed, good handling, and not too much over or understeer. The team had done a great job for me. We then tried a few changes to the aerodynamics and the car started to oversteer a bit more. I was then pleasantly surprised to find that I set my quickest time after the changes had been made! We are going to go back to the first set-up for the race as pace is less important hence the emphasis on set-up this past two days. Kelvin and I need to drive consistently tomorrow and stay off the big kerbs. I hit one this morning and thought I had damaged the car but the Ferrari is really strong."

"An excellent performance by the team and the drivers today," commented Rod Benoist, TMC's Team Manager. "We were naturally disappointed to loose car 89's points after the exclusion from Magny-Cours and wanted to make a positive statement as a team today. Claiming second and third in class and being so close to the pole sitter has done just that, especially as Jamie and Tim are carrying 35Kg of success ballast this weekend and we focused on set-up yesterday. However, as always, qualifying is one thing but the race is something entirely different. This is our first visit to Enna but we know how tough it can be on the cars and drivers. A consistent performance is what we are looking for tomorrow - not outright pace. Qualifying so well is a great start to the weekend though!"

"Once again, we are in the spotlight this weekend. Our publics are learning very quickly how committed and determined we are to establish Team Maranello Concessionaires as a major player in the Championship, and to emulate the late Colonel's (Ronnie Hoare, founder of Maranello Concessionaires Ltd) successes in endurance racing," continued John Newman, TMC's Commercial Director. "The Sky Sports cameras are with us again this weekend filming for our TV documentary* and Enna is bound to provide some thrilling footage for Episode Four next month."

* Episode Three of 'Ferrari Racing, in Association with Veloqx Motorsport', featuring the team in action during rounds one (Barcelona) and two (Magny-Cours) is scheduled for broadcast on Saturday 24 May at 1430 hrs (UK) on Sky Sports Two.


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About this article
Series Blancpain Sprint
Drivers Darren Turner , Jamie Davies