Steady improvement for Charouz Racing System at Le Mans - 12.06.2008 Charouz Racing System dedicated today's opening qualifying sessions at Le Mans to preparation for the legendary 24-hour race. Both two-hour sessions proved challenging, but the...
Steady improvement for Charouz Racing System at Le Mans - 12.06.2008
Charouz Racing System dedicated today's opening qualifying sessions at Le Mans to preparation for the legendary 24-hour race. Both two-hour sessions proved challenging, but the Aston Martin powered LMP1 prototype gradually improved. All three drivers, Jan Charouz, Tomas Enge and Stefan Mucke completed the mandatory laps to qualify for the race.
Wednesday traditionally marks the real start of racing after two days of scrutineering in the historic city centre. The focus of the Charouz Racing System team was on preparations for the race and to refine the set-up, which was far from ideal during the recent, rain-affected test day. A transmission problem limited mileage in the first qualifying session this evening, however this was resolved for the following session.
All three drivers completed their three obligatory night laps and the team was also able to improve the car's handling, which is still in an early phase of development. Stefan Mucke set the car's fastest lap time just before the end of the session; an encouraging sign for tomorrow.
Grid position is less important at Le Mans compared to other races as the priority is to have a well-balanced car for a very long and demanding race. However, it is obvious that everyone in the Charouz Racing System team is determined to move forward from the provisional 15th position in the overall qualifying order during tomorrow's sessions.
Jan Charouz: "It was not an easy day for us. We are still not where we want to be with the set-up of the car. I am also feeling a little unwell, so I finished earlier in order to be fully fit for the rest of the week."
Tomas Enge: "We would definitely have preferred a more straightforward day. We have had some problems in adapting the car to the La Sarthe track and we have not found a full solution yet. We tried different set-ups so didn't do so many laps. At least we all managed to do three mandatory laps in the night. It seems that the car improved towards the end when Stefan set our fastest time. Driving a prototype here is a new experience for me and I needed some time to get used to it in the dark. Compared to a GT1 car, prototypes are 30 kph faster on the straights and also brake later, so I had to find different markers. Anyway, I am more confident in the car now and want to build on this tomorrow."
Stefan Mucke: "Initially we experienced a similar set-up issue as we had during the test day, but I think that we now understand the car much better and we know what to do tomorrow. Looking at the times it seems that we are quite quick in the dark compared to the others, but there is room for further improvement. We have tomorrow to verify everything."
Antonin Charouz, Team Principal: "We had clearly expected more and our current position is not satisfying. However, it seems that we finally found the right direction just before the end of today's qualifying. We were not chasing lap times today, as the main aim was to set up the car for the race. Tomorrow we will continue to focus on the set-up."
George Howard-Chappell, Technical Director, Aston Martin Racing: "The main thing was to give all three drivers some time in the car during the session and we accomplished that. We're happy with our race pace and we look forward to continuing our progress during second qualifying tomorrow."