NURBURGRING PRACTICE AND QUALIFYING The weather has been the biggest talking point at this year's practice laps and qualifying rounds at the ADAC 24hr Race on Germany's famous Nurburgring race track. Temperatures have been hovering between 2 and...
NURBURGRING PRACTICE AND QUALIFYING
The weather has been the biggest talking point at this year's practice laps and qualifying rounds at the ADAC 24hr Race on Germany's famous Nurburgring race track. Temperatures have been hovering between 2 and 8 degrees for the previous 5 days and the entire Nordschleife has been covered in fog and light rain. Kiwi Team Nurburgring's manager Brian McGovern says that the conditions are likely to remain this way for race weekend, and the Honda drivers caution will be paramount to survival. The damp and cool conditions are favouring the all wheel drive traction of the Audi RS4.
All 4 drivers from each cars - Honda Civic # 243, Honda Civic #244 and the Audi RS4 #71 must complete one night time qualifying lap of the Nordschleife before the race starts on Saturday 15th May at 3PM local time. For five of the Honda drivers, qualifying will be only their 2nd lap in their race cars, and for Alistair Taylor, his 2nd in the Audi, following the afternoons practice laps. "I'm a little nervous stepping in to the Audi this year from my previous few years behind the wheel of a Honda. It's a big step up in performance and handling, and with my experience racing in the 24 hour race, I know how testing the environment can get" said Alistair before his practice laps.
The three race cars went out on to the track at 7PM with a cold wind blowing and the light fog lingering. Almost all of the drivers got the wobbles on the first corner of the grand prix circuit as they found their feet in the relatively new cars as the track was very damp. First time Honda driver Greg Spark reported that his qualifying lap was "a very daunting experience rubbing shoulders with some very fast vehicles, and some heavy traffic which I haven't experienced in practice. It was certainly an eye opening introduction to race day and the level of respect for the track and the event has risen substantially" Honda #244 being driven by Brian McGovern, Mat Noonan, Nick Chester and Spark had a faultless night qualifying round clocking the quickest time of 11min 28.113seconds, placing them 3rd in class on the grid.
Honda #243 driven by Rod Hicks, David Glasson, Peter Milliner and team veteran Mark Corbett had a very similar qualifying night registering their quickest lap time of 11 min 28.837 seconds placing them directly behind the teams #244 car. Rod Hicks had the night's only minor pit stop to check electrical systems, as the vehicle spun and stalled on the grand prix track early in the evening. All of the checks passed with a full bill of good health for car #243.
The Audi RS4 provided some very exciting lap times during the evening with NZV8 driver Andy Booth getting the vehicle in the top 20 overall qualifying times during the session. The all wheel drive traction of the car provided a significant edge over the 2 wheel drive competitors in the greasy conditions. As the night grew on however, a dry drive line had formed on the track and the faster vehicles had clawed their way back with the fastest time being logged by the Hankook team Ferrari F430GTC of 9 min 20 seconds. By 10PM in the evening the fog on the grand prix circuit was so thick driving that Kiwi Team Nurburgring decided to head back to the hotel and prepare for the qualifying the next day.
Qualifying on the Friday was a different story with a dry but cold track. This meant the faster teams were really starting to push for better placings on the grid, and Kiwi Team Nurburgring chose to test some hardware for a few laps to try a few setup changes. The Audi tested a new set of slick tyres and with Andy Booth behind the wheel set a very respectable 9 mins 46.326 lap time which put the KTN RS4 in 74th position on the grid, which will be in the first bunch of three rolling start groups. Lewis Scott says "the position is ideal for the start as we will be on the back of the faster cars which means the track in front will be relatively clear and the traffic will be easier to work around.
The 2010 ADAC 24hr race qualifying times have been dominated by Audi R8's with the top 4 positions being held by the R8 LMS vehicles. Kiwi Team Nurburgring's RS4 is up against 2 very quick Lexus LF-A vehicles being driven by Japanese drivers from Gazoo Racing Team who are currently sitting in positions 1 and 2 for the SP8 Class. Both Honda's have similar rated vehicles in the N2 class and with KTN's experience at the 24 hour event coming in to play, we are looking forward to another great 24 hours of racing.
-source: kiwi team