Both of Larbre Competition's Aston Martin DBR9s endured traffic in qualifying for the Monza 1000kms but the team remains confident as they firmly focus their attention on Sunday's race. Christophe Bouchut qualified car 50 fourth in class,...
Both of Larbre Competition's Aston Martin DBR9s endured traffic in qualifying for the Monza 1000kms but the team remains confident as they firmly focus their attention on Sunday's race.
Christophe Bouchut qualified car 50 fourth in class, posting a time of 1m 46.763s, despite suffering with traction control issues and traffic. Steve Zacchia's 1m 49.618 saw him qualify seventh in car 51 despite set-up problems.
Team Boss Jack Leconte revealed that Bouchut was unable to challenge for pole after the Frenchman was blocked on his quickest lap. He said: "Christophe had traffic on his best lap. It was a big problem and stopped him fighting for pole position. We waited until the middle of the session to put him out, thinking that the track would be clear as cars came back to the pits, but unfortunately everybody stayed out meaning there was lots of traffic."
Bouchut explained exactly what had cost him on his two quickest laps. "On my best lap I was baulked by a GT2 Ferrari and it destroyed my lap. Then, on my third flying lap I was set for a quick time when the car started to slide through Parabolica even though I was on the racing line. The traction control should've taken over but it didn't and the car started to go sideways. Again that ruined my lap."
Fabrizio Gollin meanwhile was still full of confidence ahead of the race despite a lack of seat time over the weekend. "I've driven very few laps because on Friday the session was red flagged. However Christophe has done the set-ups and the car feels good. Our aim is to win the race, and I'm confident going into it, so pole position is not that important."
Gabriele Gardel echoed Gollin's thoughts ahead of the race. "We've improved a lot compared with the first session on Friday and I think we are doing a good job. We've changed some things, in particular the gear ratios, and I think today's set-up was much better than yesterday's."
The troubles for car 51 were more severe in qualifying as the team battled to cure a problem with the dampers. Leconte admitted "We are not very happy with the set up on the car. The balance between the front and rear axle is not perfect and the drivers aren't confident to drive the car on the limit. We are also testing new aero parts which are a little bit difficult to adjust, but we have some ideas of how we can improve for the race.
Zacchia added "The car was over steering at Parabolica and it felt really nervous so I came back to the pits. We made some changes which improved the rear balance but then the front was not as good. We now have to work hard to get a good balance for the race with a full tank."
Gregor Fisken was left slightly frustrated by traffic and incidents in free practice which disrupted his session, but felt the team had made positive strides with the car. "Free practice was a real Le Mans session. There were cars from all different classes all around me, and some off the track too! There was also gravel and oil on the track so it was difficult to find some clear space to improve myself in the car. We can still make some improvements, but I think we learned some more today."
Meanwhile rookie Greg Franchi was pleased with his sportscar racing debut and, despite only running on Friday, was immediately on the pace of his GT1 rivals. "It was my first run in the car, apart from at the Official Test, and I got a good feeling straight away. I was on the pace of the other GT1 cars and I still think I can find more time, especially under braking."
Sunday's race begins at 1pm local time and can be watched live on Motors TV.