Bad weather makes qualifications challenging for Racing Engineering drivers in Zolder! Both qualifying sessions for the second round of the 2003 World Series by Nissan were characterized by heavy rains. Racing Engineering's drivers Bas Leinders...
Bad weather makes qualifications challenging for Racing Engineering drivers in Zolder!
Both qualifying sessions for the second round of the 2003 World Series by Nissan were characterized by heavy rains. Racing Engineering's drivers Bas Leinders and Stephane Sarrazin proved how much their cars has been improved during the first session, which saw Stephane in third and Bas in fifth position. In the second session both drivers suffered from having made the decision to put new tires and therefore spun due to the amount of water on the track. Stephane will start the second race from position eight, Bas from tenth.
After the satisfying private test sessions on Thursday and Friday, Racing Engineering's expectations before the first qualifying were high. Both Bas and Stephane were continuously improving their lap times until they were stopped by the red flag due to an accident by Gonzalez. This was especially bitter for Stephane in second position as he was on his fastest lap so far given the previous sector times. At the restart of the session there was not enough time for all cars to finish one more timed lap -- one of the lucky ones was Gene, who in this lap overtook Stephane, who therefore starts tomorrow's race from third position. Bas will start the first race from fifth position.
In the second qualifying the rains became stronger and there was a lot of water on the track. Stephane and Bas were content with the set up on their cars whereas the decision to change to new rain tires turned out to be not at all as expected. Both lacked grip and spun and therefore lost precious time to improve their lap times. Stephane will start from eighth position, Bas from tenth.
After the Saturday sessions Stephane Sarrazin announced, "We had a very good first qualifying. The second one was more difficult as it was much harder to push and it was not a good choice to put new tires. I spun and therefore lost time. We made a lot of improvements since Jarama and the most important thing is that we have a very good car -- under any condition."
Bas Leinders stated "From Jarama and the free practices on we worked very hard on the rain set-up and that this work was well done as we proved during the first qualifying. In the second one Stephane as well as I had back luck but we showed in the first session that we were ready for the first two rows. However we went one step too far in the second qualifying and struggled to be as competitive. I hope the weather will be better tomorrow to prove we are quick and have a good result in Zolder."
Alfonso de Orleans Saturday afternoon said, "Considering the circumstances the team has done an excellent job and I am proud of them. Also the drivers have shown that they are real stars."