Silverstone: First qualifying reprot

Weather Light intermittent rain FIRST QUALIFYING SESSION The traditional British weather played its part in first qualifying this afternoon, with light rain falling immediately before the start of the session. It got heavier mid-way through the...

Light intermittent rain

The traditional British weather played its part in first qualifying this afternoon, with light rain falling immediately before the start of the session. It got heavier mid-way through the 45-minute session, but then stopped and the track dried enough for some fast times to be set. Two Lister Storm Racing Lister Storms will go through to the Super Pole session, as will two Team Carsport Holland Chrysler Viper GTS-Rs, one Larbre Competition -- Chereau Chrysler Viper GTS-R and a BMS Scuderia Italia Ferrari 550 Maranello.

The nr 15 Lister Storm of Bobby Verdon-Roe set fastest lap in the first half of the session, but his time of 1:49.368 was eclipsed in the second half by his team-mate Jamie Campbell-Walter. Campbell-Walter's time of 1:47.836 was set as the track dried towards the final 15 minutes of the 45-minute session and he will be the last car to go in the Super Pole this afternoon. Verdon-Roe improved to set a 1:48.173, good enough for second position overall. Christophe Bouchut was third fastest in the nr 1 Larbre Competition Chereau Chrysler Viper GTS-R, the reigning champion who won here last year setting a 1:48.379.

Anthony Kumpen was well down the order in his nr 3 Carsport Holland Chrysler Viper GTS-R, the Belgian crashing into the gravel as the track became wet. He was eventually extracted and returned to the pits to hand to his Dutch co-driver Mike Hezemans. Hezemans qualified the car fifth overall with a time of 1:49.016, two tenths slower than his team-mate Fabrizio Gollin.

Shortly before the end of the 45-minute qualifying session, Fabio Babini looked like claiming a place in the Super Pole session in the nr 12 Paul Belmondo Racing Chrysler Viper GTS-R. The Italian was lying in fifth place five minutes before the end, but he ran out of fuel two laps from the end of the session. The Italian had his time beaten on the final lap by the nr 23 BMS Scuderia Italia Ferrari 550 Maranello of Andrea Piccini and Jean-Denis Deletraz. The second car, nr 11 of Paul Belmondo and Claude-Yves Gosselin, was found to have been running in yesterday's test sessions with its front half a centimetre too low and the team had to raise the nose. A shock absorber was also found to be not working properly, and the team changed that overnight.

Christian Pescatori set the N-GT pole position in the nr 50 JMB Racing Ferrari 360 Modena, eclipsing the time of Stephane Ortelli in the nr 55 Freisinger Porsche 996 GT3-R. JMB Competition has been forced to withdraw the nr 52 Ferrari 360 Modena, after Gianluca Giraudy crashed heavily. The Italian hit the wall and damaged the chassis.


Anthony Kumpen, nr 3 Chrysler Viper GTS-R, Carsport Holland (after going off the track during the qualifying session): "I braked too late, it was my mistake. It just rained more and more, and I thought that I would have to set a time sooner rather than later. The car was OK. We lost a lot of time yesterday with the broken front splitter and the rain in the second session. I don't know myself because I only really drove in the wet, but Mike (Hezemans, Kumpen's co-driver) says that it is undriveable in the dry. I think that we will have to use last year's set-up for tomorrow and see if that is better, but we have a much bigger rear wing and more downforce, so we will have to guess."

Jamie Campbell-Walter, nr 14 Lister Storm, Lister Storm Racing: "That was very difficult for us. Our car does not normally work very well in those conditions. It is very stiff, while the Chrysler Viper is much softer and therefore our car tends to snap away rather than slide. I think that the Dunlop tyres have helped us in that respect. During my fastest lap the there was a lot of traffic; people had gone off and the track was very slippery. I had understeer and oversteer, but that was due more to the track than the car."

Jean-Pierre Jarier, nr 9 Chrysler Viper GTS-R, Team ART: "We don't have the large rear diffuser or the wide front track on our Viper, but we will have that for the next race at Brno. Otherwise the car is very good. It is not very fast, but we are consistent. I had a Ferrari Modena go off in front of me and he threw a tonne of earth onto the track but I managed to stay on the road."

Fabio Babini, nr 12 Chrysler Viper GTS-R, Paul Belmondo Racing: "I could have set a fantastic time. The car is good, and so are the tyres, but the problem was in the last two laps when I ran out of fuel. I was looking good for a 1:49s lap but the last three corners the car was stuttering and then it just stopped. However, the balance of the car is fine; it was difficult to drive yesterday as we had the wrong springs in, but the team has changed a big part of the set-up and found a good solution."

Paul Belmondo, nr 11 Chrysler Viper GTS-R, Paul Belmondo Racing: "It was bad luck for Fabio running out of fuel on his best lap. On our car, we had a shock absorber problem that we found yesterday so we got that fixed and now we have a good balance. Yesterday we were running a bit too low at the front, half a centimetre, so we had to raise the nose of the car."

Gianluca Giraudy, nr 52 Ferrari 360 Modena, JMB Competition: "I was at the exit of Stowe corner, I was out of the turn and flat on the gas, but I put two wheels on the white line and the back went around very fast. The chassis is damaged and there is no chance for us to go on. It is very difficult because Silverstone is such a fast circuit that if you make a mistake, it is going to hurt!"

Toto Wolff, nr 60 Porsche 996 GTSRS, Autorlando Sport: "I have never been to Silverstone before and I have only done seven laps here so far this weekend. During my session yesterday the engine of the Ferrari blew and the session was stopped so I lost time there. I think that a podium here is possible, but I don't want to get too optimistic. I was optimistic at Magny Cours, but the race has its own rules. I have driven at night before, I raced a Ferrari 360 Modena at Brno last weekend in a four hour race that started at 7pm. It is OK, but you have to get the lights sorted out. Actually, we have not tested our lights here yet. Maybe we should--"

Adam Jones, nr 64 Porsche 996 GT3RS, Cirtek Motorsport: "It was very difficult to get a clear lap, and there were still some damp patches around the place. I did not know where I had finished up because I was seventh before the rain came and when I went out, we had a problem with the communication in the helmet. I just kept going to the chequered flag, and wound up fourth fastest, so I was very pleased with that."

Bart Hayden, nr 65 Porsche 996 GT3RS, Sebah Automotive: "We had not really expected to do the Super Pole! We are finding more and more speed every lap."


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Series Blancpain Sprint
Drivers Andrea Piccini , Fabrizio Gollin , Christian Pescatori , Stéphane Ortelli , Jamie Campbell-Walter , Anthony Kumpen , Mike Hezemans , Christophe Bouchut , Jean-Pierre Jarier , Paul Belmondo , Bart Hayden , Fabio Babini , Claude-Yves Gosselin , Bobby Verdon-Roe , Adam Jones , Toto Wolff
Teams Larbre Competition