GT

Barcelona: Lola Cars qualifying report

SRTS are second quickest in the Sr2 category. The Sports Racing Team Sweden (SR2) and Bob Berridge's Racing Team (SR1) compete in their Lolas in a grid of 18 at the opening round of the FIA Sportscar Championship in Barcelona, Spain. Saturday...

SRTS are second quickest in the Sr2 category.

The Sports Racing Team Sweden (SR2) and Bob Berridge's Racing Team (SR1) compete in their Lolas in a grid of 18 at the opening round of the FIA Sportscar Championship in Barcelona, Spain.

Saturday was a fine day for practice and qualifying whilst Sunday warm up session was a very wet morning.

"We are concentrating on finishing this race" declared Bob Berridge on Saturday morning, gazing up the Barcelona pit-lane at an array of French sports cars preparing to battle for pole position at the opening round of the FIA Sportscar Championship.

Berridge, who is perhaps better known for racing historic Formula One cars, has recently taken delivery of the black, ex DAMS Lola Judd B98/10, a chassis with the impeccable pedigree of four Sportscar Championship wins in 1999 with Jean-Marc Gounon at the wheel. But, as the new owner of a private team, Berridge sensibly would not take on the likes of Franck Montagny, Sebastian Bourdais, Didier Cottaz and Jan Lammers in the battle for pole position. His co-driver, Ian McKellar, forged a fine reputation last season driving a Saleen S7R in the European Le Mans Series but this was his first time in an open sports car, and his first visit to the Spanish Grand Prix circuit.

Franck Montagny claimed pole position in the Team Oreca Dallara Judd, but then had it taken away when the inlet air box was found to be leaking. Pole position was then awarded to Sebastian Bourdais in the Pescarolo Sport Courage Peugeot with a time of 1:35.428, followed by Didier Cottaz (Courage Competition C60JX Judd, 1:35.443), Jan Lammers (Racing for Holland Dome S-101 Judd, 1:36.989) and Berridge on 1:38.574.

The English Lola team starts the race from the second row of the grid, but the two and a half hour race this afternoon will be a lottery if the rain continues to fall in Spain.

The Sports Racing Team Sweden Lola Nissan B2K/40 is second quickest in the SR2 category with new drivers Mattias Andersson, who qualifying the yellow car, and Niklas Loven.

The Swedish team, formed by Le Mans winner Stanley Dickens, easily won the SR2 title last year, and now champion driver Thed Bjork has moved up a class and drives the 'works' Courage at Barecelona, in readiness for Le Mans. Surprisingly, pole position in SR2 was claimed heroically by Ian Flux, the popular Englishman, in the Nissan powered Team Sovereign Rapier 6, repeating his success at the Nurburgring in the final round last season. The Swedish Lola team has the better driver pairing, and is hopeful of starting the new season with a victory at Barcelona. Five Alfa Romeo powered Lucchinis have been pushed down the order as the Nissan engines prepared by Graham Dale-Jones (IES) have the edge on power and torque.

-lc-

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Series GT
Drivers Jan Lammers , Franck Montagny , Didier Cottaz , Thed Björk , Jean-Marc Gounon , Bob Berridge , Mattias Andersson , Ian Flux , Stanley Dickens
Teams DAMS