Mixed First Qualifying for Nasamax Green Fuel Team First session The Le Mans 24 Hours race finally arrived for Team Nasamax after days of waiting and South African Werner Lupberger was first out of the pitlane at 19.00 on Wednesday for first...
Mixed First Qualifying for Nasamax Green Fuel Team
The Le Mans 24 Hours race finally arrived for Team Nasamax after days of waiting and South African Werner Lupberger was first out of the pitlane at 19.00 on Wednesday for first qualifying on a warm evening. Hopes were high after a good showing at Monza with 8th place in the LMES 1000km in May with the wholly-renewably fuelled Nasamax DM139, also the only car to run to the new regulations which principally improve the aerodynamic stability of the car and driver protection.
'Since the test day we have made so many improvements and in Monza the car was even better, Lupberger said. 'It's very exciting to be involved again with the team and see all the supporters at Arnage corner, I may even wave to them on my out lap!' Werner's flying lap was a respectable 3:53.597, his speed past the pits staying fastest for another three quarters of an hour, but after two laps he was forced to pit for changes to gear ratio. The Nasamax Judd had run 6kph faster than the test day, with more to come in the top two gears. At 19.50, Lupberger returned to the track but soon reported a problem and pitted again. Gear ratios had been incorrectly adjusted, and much time was taken after correcting this to double check all settings and gears, as no-one wanted to lose the car out on the track.
20.34, and Werner left again to set a time, a 3:50.115 before pitting again. Kevin McGarrity, the new boy on the block, took the wheel to end the session. 'It will be new for me since I haven't been here since 2002, so I'll be getting my bearings first,' said Kevin, then setting a 3:53.047 final lap time to keep 14th position despite the engine not running well.
A session of ups and downs for the team. Gear ratios continued to cause problems, to the annoyance of Technical Director John McNeil, and an apparent misfire lost the team time with changes of spark plugs, injector coils and ECU before Robbie Stirling tried a few laps although a decent time was not possible and the problem was finally traced to a broken injector connector. Kevin McGarrity set the best time of the night of 3:49.779 at 23.45. 'The engine is going fantastically now, it's a matter of getting a clear lap,' said Kevin, 'there's some gravel on the chicane which makes it difficult as well.'
All three drivers completed night laps and only Robbie Stirling is under the minimum qualifying time. "Not a good session," said a disappointed John McNeil. 'We have to hope the heavy rainstorms hold off for tomorrow for some much better times."