Round 2 Silverstone - 5 May 2002 Volvo gains first podium of the season Race one Rickard Rydell No. 60: Grid: 3rd Finish: 4th James Hanson No. 61: Grid: 15th Finish: DNF Rickard Rydell...
Round 2 Silverstone - 5 May 2002
Volvo gains first podium of the season
Rickard Rydell No. 60: Grid: 3rd Finish: 4th
James Hanson No. 61: Grid: 15th Finish: DNF
Rickard Rydell demonstrated the dramatic improvements in performance of the Volvo S60 since the first round at Magny Cours, when he led the first race for more than six laps and set the fastest lap.
Starting from third on the grid, Rydell made the perfect start and immediately passed both the factory Alfas of Larini and Giovanardi before the first corner. Within three laps, he had opened up a comfortable lead of more than a second and was managing to hold off Larini despite the Italian's straight line speed advantage.
However, disaster struck on lap six, when, for a few seconds, Rickard was unable to engage a gear and ended up coasting in neutral. While he soon regained control, the temporary loss in speed was enough to let past both the factory Alfas of Larini and Giovanardi, as well as both the factory BMWs of Jorg and Dirk Muller.
Once back on the pace, Rydell began challenging the leaders and on the penultimate lap of the ten lap race, passed Dirk Muller to finish the race in fourth - his third consecutive fourth place in three rounds.
The problems which affected James Hanson's car in the morning warm up session, and which the team believed they had cured, returned to ruin the British driver's day. Hanson joined the race shortly after the start, but within half a lap, the engine began to lose power and he was forced to retire.
Rickard Rydell No.60: Grid: 3rd Finish: 3rd
James Hanson No. 61: Grid: 15th Finish: DNF
In race two, Rydell went one better and claimed his and the Volvo team's first podium place of the championship.
Starting from third on the grid, the Swede did not get the excellent start he managed in the first race and was pushed down the field running up to the first corner. However, a collision at the front of the field between the factory BMW of Jorg Muller and the AGS Motorsport Alfa of Ruberti allowed Rydell to take second placed behind the factory BMW of Dirk Muller.
Rydell managed to keep the factory Alfas behind him in third and fourth places for the first three laps, however, their extra straight line speed soon told when first Giovanardi and then Larini passed him, putting him back into fourth. Within a few laps, both Alfas powered their way past the leading BMW of Dirk Muller, allowing Rydell to attack the German driver.
With both cars showing similar straight line speed, Rydell used the superior balance of his Volvo to close in on the BMW through the corners and then overtake Muller again on the penultimate lap as he had done in the first race. Once past, Rydell was able to pull out a comfortable gap and take the chequered flag in third place.
"A very successful afternoon. If it wasn't for the momentary problem selecting a gear, then I am sure we would have had two podium positions.
"In the first race, I got off to a really good start to pass both Alfas. However, the Alfas clearly still have a straight line speed advantage. As a result I was perhaps trying to change gear a little too quickly and then couldn't find any gear. By the time I manage to get a gear, four cars had passed me! In hindsight, perhaps it would have been better to let Larini pass and to try and finish second but when you are in the lead you do not think like that."
"Still, I am really happy with the improvements we have made on the car since Magny Cours. The car's balance is really good, which means that we are quick through the fast and slow corners. All we need to do now is get some more power from the engine."
"There's not a lot I can say, other than I am very disappointed, particularly for the team, who have worked so hard all weekend and then been thwarted by an, as yet, unknown fault. We had no problems yesterday and everything was looking good for the races, however, the fault which occurred in warm up, and which we thought we had cured, appeared again and I wasn't even able to get one complete competitive lap.
"On the positive side, Rickard has proved that the car is quick and I can look forward to some more testing before the next race at Brno in two weeks."
Dave Benbow, Volvo S60 Racing Team, manager:
"It's a shame about the gear selection problems for Rickard in the first race and an even bigger shame that James did not get any racing this weekend.
"However, we came here looking for a podium place and have proven this weekend that we have closed the gap on the Alfas and are on equal terms with the BMWs. With some more development on the car and the engine, we could become the team setting the pace. However, I do not expect either Alfa or BMW to standstill as they will also be looking to make their cars quicker too."