First round and first point The Catalunya 1000 km, raced near Barcelona, was the opening round of the "Le Mans Series" Championship of 2008 vintage. This was the first meeting in a 5-race calendar. Trading Performance Team left Spain on a...
First round and first point
The Catalunya 1000 km, raced near Barcelona, was the opening round of the "Le Mans Series" Championship of 2008 vintage. This was the first meeting in a 5-race calendar. Trading Performance Team left Spain on a positive note, having earned their first championship point.
The Swiss team made its grand debut in Le Mans Series, a fast growing championship, with no less than 50 cars on the entry list. During the winter period, the team decided to acquire a Zytek 07S prototype, a very efficient and reliable machine which finished second in the LM P2 category last year. On the pilots side, experience, with Claude-Yves Gosselin and Karim Ojjeh, who have both run a couple of 24 Hours of Le Mans races, was mixed with the youth of Belgian driver Julien Schroyen, who is just 21 years old.
The three practice sessions of Friday and Saturday were devolved to the learning of the track and optimization of the setup prior to the race. Start was given under a bright sunshine. Claude-Yves went like an arrow and climbed through the field. Alas, by the 34th lap, the blue Zytek with the white Swiss cross was hurt by a GT2 Ferrari and pushed into the gravel pit. Fortunately, the car was not damaged and Claude-Yves so was ready to restart. However the marshals decided to maintain the car behind the safety rails and thus 5 laps were lost. When Claude-Yves could eventually restart, he shortly afterwards let Julien Schroyen at the wheel, whilst at the 27th place.
The young Belgian driver started then a long stint, determined to follow precisely the team strategy, and set very consistent lap times. He managed to run a double stint and grabbed 24th place. It was then Karim Ojjeh's turn to take place in the driver's seat, and finish the job. When he crossed the finish line, he had reached 8th position in the LM P2 category and 17th overall. The team could thus be awarded with its first point of the season, with a little bit of sadness, however, since, without the 34th lap's incident, a Top 5 finish in the category was probably achievable. In any case, this first race allowed the whole team to take their marks in the Series. The experience gained brings hope and optimism for the next round, scheduled in Monza on April, 27th... and also for Le Mans.
Claude-Yves Gosselin : "After my season in Belgium last year, I am delighted to drive an LM P2 in Le Mans Series, with a team I know quite well. When you have raced such a car once, your only wish is to come back!"
Julien Schroyen : "I am very pleased with my first Le Mans Series race. Thanks to the team's engineers' technical strategy, the car remained consistent and allowed us to do double stints without the need for tyres change."
Karim Ojjeh : "Our technical bet should have paid off without the incident which happened in early stages. I am convinced that we are on the right track to great achievements this year. We now have to work and get good results."