STEADY START FOR SWISS SPIRIT AT LE MANS As the first rain for nearly two weeks fell on the La Sarthe circuit, the Swiss Spirit team took a pragmatic approach to the first qualifying session. Like most of the teams, their Courage Judd left the...
STEADY START FOR SWISS SPIRIT AT LE MANS
As the first rain for nearly two weeks fell on the La Sarthe circuit, the Swiss Spirit team took a pragmatic approach to the first qualifying session. Like most of the teams, their Courage Judd left the garage in dry set-up and simply switched to wet tyres as the warm weather turned wet, minutes into the first session. The team made set-up changes to the car for the second, full dark session and were rewarded with seventh fastest by the end of the evening.
Commenting on the day's work, Team Manager Serge Saulnier said; "We started with Harold, as he didn't get much running at the test day. Then Philipp took over, to learn the car in the wet conditions, which was working nicely. We started with Philip at the beginning of the second session as well and it turned out that this was the best time to do a good lap. Then Harold took over to do his three laps to qualify for the race before Marcel went out. He pushed hard to get a good time, even though it was tricky, in the dark and the wet. But Marcel had no lights on the straight, which had also cut Harold's run short. The rain was patchy so it was a case of doing a quick lap at the right time. But we had no problems and the car is in one piece, while others are not. Maybe we could have done a better lap time but we stuck with the plan and it worked for us."
For Harold Primat, it was a tricky way to start his second Le Mans. "There was so much standing water on the track, it was very difficult to get confidence in the car. We know it works well in the wet but we started with a dry set-up and wet tyres and that wasn't ideal. We made some changes to the car between the two sessions and that seemed to improve traction and grip. But it was still very difficult, especially when you came up behind other cars. When I went out for the second session, I was having problems with visibility and it turned out that only the small lights were working. I didn't get as much running as I'd hoped for but we still have tomorrow, so hopefully we can improve then."
For Marcel Fassler, who is competing at Le Mans for the first time, it was a difficult time to learn the circuit. "Le Mans is very hard to drive in the wet. I was driving safely, just learning the circuit and not taking too many risks. So hopefully it will be dry tomorrow and we will try to improve our times. We had no real problems with the car, although because the surface was very slippery, the braking and traction were not as good as I would have liked. It was very easy to make mistakes. That's why it was so important to keep the car in one piece."
Philipp Peter, who finished third at Le Mans with Audi in 2002, was also pleased with the way the evening had gone, despite the conditions. "It was not too bad. The gearbox worked well, which was important after the test. It's tough when it's this wet and the car is aquaplaning though - it's quite scary. Sometimes it's impossible to go flat, as there is no traction. But I was quite happy. I did one fast lap, so I think there are improvements to be made. But most importantly, everyone did their laps for the night qualifying, so a good evening."