Tomorrow’s 1000 km of Catalunya has all the ingredients to become the most spectacular ‘season opener’ in the short history of the Le Mans Series. 13 GT2 car’s, amongst them Ferrari’s, Porsche’s and an Aston Martin, will appear on the grid for the first out of five races this season. That the series’ popularity is on the rise could also be easily spotted today; the paddock was crowded with fans, gathered to get a glimpse of their favorite team or driver at the Spanish F1 circuit.
In Mediterranean (sunny) conditions SNORAS Spyker Squadron qualified this afternoon. The first Spyker that went out in the 20 minute GT qualifying session was the number 94 car with Swiss Andrea Chiesa behind the wheel. In his first flying lap he set a quickest time of 1:50.953 good for an 8th place in the competitive GT2 field.
Andrea Chiesa: “Although we completed only 9 laps I was able to set my quickest time right at the beginning. We had a bit of oversteer in the middle of some corners and the team tried to solve the problem by adding a bit more rear wing. After two or three laps it became clear that we could not improve times as the tires were at bit degraded and already lost their optimum performance level. After the wing modification the car felt a bit more stable and balanced which will be important in the long race tomorrow. I am happy with our achieved results this weekend. There are still some small problems but we should not forget that the car just turned its wheels for the first time”.
The other car, the number 84, was parked in the pit as the mechanics had to solve a small electrical problem before Scotsman Peter Dumbreck could go out for a quick lap.
Peter Dumbreck: “It was not a smooth running session for us. Because of an electrical problem we started with only a few minutes left in the qualifying session and could only complete one flying lap with the #85. On the positive side the lap was a second quicker than our quickest time so far this weekend. We are still moving forward and I feel that there is still a lot more to come”.
Peter van Erp, Managing Director Spyker Squadron: “We have made a lot of progression so far. Yesterday we evaluated the practice sessions with the drivers and mechanics. In the meeting we agreed on a set of changes for each car and this morning, in the third and last free-practice session, it turned out that the changes on the 94 car were quite good. We had the cars setup in the same configuration for qualifying this afternoon and this accidently resulted into both cars setting exactly the same time (1:50.953) in the qualifying session”.
As both cars qualified in exactly the same time the rules say that car that claimed this time first will start in front of the other. This results in an eight qualifying time for Andrea Chiesa in the 94 car and a 9th place for Peter Dumbreck with the number 85. Both drivers will also start the race which will start tomorrow at 11:35 CET and can be seen live on MotorsTV.