Prodrive Ferrari final qualifying report

Glory Lap From Enge to Take GTS Pole A sensational lap of 3m 49.438 from Czech driver Tomas Enge - just ten minutes before midnight - saw him claim GTS pole position for the third consecutive year and set a new GTS pole record. The Czech ...

Glory Lap From Enge to Take GTS Pole

A sensational lap of 3m 49.438 from Czech driver Tomas Enge - just ten minutes before midnight - saw him claim GTS pole position for the third consecutive year and set a new GTS pole record.

The Czech driver's feat was all the more remarkable given that he had heavily crashed his Care Racing owned Prodrive Ferrari 550 Maranello during the evening's first two-hour session. The car was not returned to the team's garage until 2115 hrs and the Prodrive mechanics once again proved their excellence and superlative teamwork by repairing it in just over two hours, to such a level that Enge was able to go all out for pole. A new front splitter, parts of the steering system, right rear suspension, bodywork and fixings were the main areas of the Ferrari which were repaired or replaced.

After one installation lap, he left the pits on a set of Michelin qualifying tyres with just 15 minutes of the session remaining and stunned and delighted all within the Care Racing supported team when the lap time appeared on the timing screens. Enge's team mates Alain Menu and Peter Kox, neither of whom drove this evening, were among the first to congratulate him.

The team's second car will start from the 2nd row of the GTS grid, with the three drivers having concentrated principally on finding a race set up with which they were all happy. Swede Rickard Rydell's best time of 3m 51.775 was set on qualifying tyres during the earlier part of the evening.

Prodrive Ferrari Team Director, George Howard-Chappell: "That's the first part of the weekend accomplished! Obviously the circumstances were difficult and it's a real tribute to the team and particularly Tomas to go out there in the dark and deliver a lap like that. The team have once again performed at the highest level."

Tomas Enge: "You can see how good these guys are in the Prodrive Ferrari team. I shunted the car quite badly and they repaired it in two hours time and they made it so good I could put it on the pole. Fantastic and a really big thank you to everyone. This is the best team I've ever been in. They like me and they know about me and I love them because the co- operation and working relationship we have is really huge and you can see the results. This is just the first part of the weekend though and I hope we can repeat what we did last year too and finish on the top step of the GTS podium again."

Rickard Rydell: "I am quite happy with what we have done over the last two days. Our main target was finding a good race set up, and the other car was going to go for a qualifying time. All three of us are happy with our car now for the race. I think I could have done a low 51, and split the Corvettes, but I had a few problems with the gearshift, and it was also in my mind not to have two cars off in the wall! Really though, for a 24 hour race, I was happy with the time I did and particularly for the race set up."

David Wilcock, Race Engineer, car 65: "We've had a really good evening. The first session we worked a bit on qualifying, although our main target was our race pace. Once we got a time in, we called it a day on qualifying and then concentrated on our race set up. The most promising thing from my point of view is that Darren and Colin were both very consistent with Rickard's times, right on the mark and where we need to be."

-crd-

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series Le Mans
Drivers Tomas Enge , Rickard Rydell , George Howard-Chappell , Alain Menu