Spa: Swiss Spirit race report

SWISS SPIRIT SCORES SECOND PLACE IN SPA 1000KMS The newly formed Swiss Spirit team scored a strong second place -- from pole position - in today's Spa 1000kms, the second round of the 2006 Le Mans Series and only the second race for the ...

SWISS SPIRIT SCORES SECOND PLACE IN SPA 1000KMS

The newly formed Swiss Spirit team scored a strong second place -- from pole position - in today's Spa 1000kms, the second round of the 2006 Le Mans Series and only the second race for the team.

The start of the race was difficult with damp weather conditions, a big pile-up at the top of Eau Rouge at the start, a long first Safety Car period where race cars were forced to run a very slow speed to avoid debris on the track and a second Safety Car period as soon as the track was cleared. The real start to the race took place fifty two minutes after the scheduled start and 29-year old Swiss driver Marcel Fassler did not put a foot wrong during his first double stint.

After the double stint, Marcel handed the car over to team mate Harold Primat whilst in third place overall. Harold drove a strong double stint despite heavy traffic and another long safety car period, doing a great job and returning the Number 5 car to Marcel still in third place.

Marcel took over until the chequered flag, gaining one position to finish a strong second, and both drivers were on the podium, the first for the new team. The result was a very good omen for Le Mans, coming less than five weeks before the biggest endurance event in the world.

After the chequered flag, Team boss Serge Saulnier was delighted: "I am very satisfied with our performance this weekend. Pole position and second place in only our second Le Mans Series race is a dream result. The entire team has been fantastic, the boys have done a first class job, the drivers made no mistakes and drove very well. This result is a great reward for all the members of the team and all our technical partners: Courage, Judd and Michelin. They are perfect, I knew when we started the programme and it was confirmed today. We have five busy weeks ahead of us. Le Mans is the big objective of the year and we will continue to work as hard as we can until 5pm on Sunday 18th June."

Marcel Fassler was equally happy as he stepped down from the podium: "The start was difficult especially after the big crash at the top of Eau Rouge. The Safety Car was going so slowly that it was getting tricky for the engine and for the clutch. Race Control made the right decision when they decided to stop the race. When the real race started, it was not easy either because the track was damp in several places. I was careful and it was important I did not make any mistakes and that we finished the race. The car was really good to drive and I could choose my own pace. Towards the end of my last stint, I got some vibrations in the rear, so I slowed down a bit to make sure we finished. I would like to thank all the guys in the team for a superb job; this result is for them."

Marcel's team mate Harold Primat, soaked in champagne, said after the podium ceremony: "We had a great race and I was careful during my double stint as I wanted to bring the car back to the pits in one piece. I had a very long safety car period, there was a lot of rubber on the track. The racing line was dirty and it was difficult to go through the traffic. Then I was able to increase my rhythm as the car felt great throughout my two stints. Today's result is great for the team but also for our attack on the championship. We are back in contention and it is a big confidence boost for the team. It looks promising for Le Mans even if we know there is a lot of work ahead of us. I would like to thank Serge and the team for an impressive job."

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About this article
Series European Le Mans
Drivers Marcel Fassler , Harold Primat , Serge Saulnier