The SNORAS Spyker Squadron cars will start from a seventh and twelfth position on the grid tomorrow. The #94 Speedy Racing Team car with the Swiss trio Andrea Chiesa, Benjamin Leuenberger and Iradj Alexander will start from the 12th place while the #85 car with Peter Dumbreck, Ralf Kelleners and Alexey Vasiliev, qualified seventh.
The weather in Spa was excellent for qualifying – it was hot and sunny today – and, with a bank holiday this Monday, many visitors arrived early for Sunday’s 1000 km race. Amongst the visitors that arrived today a large group of orange colored Dutch race fans found there way to the Spyker pit-box to get a closer look at the team’s new C8 Laviolette GT2R.
Both Peter Dumbreck and Ralf Kelleners have not raced at Spa for respectively 9 and 11 years. For Iradj Alexander it was even the first time in the Spyker Laviolette this weekend. He will drive the Swiss car at the 24 Heures du Mans and got the chance this weekend to learn the car and crew before the 24-hour race mid-June.
Iradj Alexander: „I am really happy to rejoin the team [Iradj tested the C8 Spyder at Valencia last year] and the opportunity they have given me to drive the 24 Hours of Le Mans. My first impression of the car is very positive. After six or seven laps I started to get more confidence in the car and really enjoyed it“.
„Although the car gives you a lot of confidence it is always the same“ he said „when you want to go fast you need to explore the limits of the car. I have not driven close to the car’s limits off course – I need to spent more time in the car to do that – but I should be much faster in the race when I have the opportunity to drive a long stint. What is really great about Spyker is the team: the people are very kind and friendly and the crew are real professionals. It really is a high level team and their way of working creates all the conditions for a driver to deliver results“.
Peter van Erp, managing director Spyker Squadron: „The weekend has been though so far although our pace is good. This morning, in the third free practice session, the car was already 0.7 seconds quicker than last year’s qualifying time while there is still a work to do. Spa is a ‘drivers-track‘ and you need to know the track well to be able to be quick. Famous corners like Eau Rouge and Blanchimont are seriously challenging for the drivers and the team has the task to deliver a setup that gives our drivers confidence in the car“.
„I must say that Iradj did a great job today and he is learning quickly. We have been running a new engine-configuration in the #85 car. Both the crankshaft configuration and the firing order have been modified. The new engine is definitively better. Based on our tests this weekend we will decide if we will use the engine at Le Mans next month. I think our pace should be good tomorrow and if we do our job properly and stay out of trouble we should be able to finish in the top-5.
Andrea Chiesa: „Off course I am a bit disappointed about my qualifying time. At the beginning of the weekend we started working towards a setup that we thought would work best for us. Based on the knowledge gained in previous races we worked on improving the car but I guess we have taken the wrong route and it did not work in qualifying. We have also lost valuable time in the setup process due to the many red flag situations and a small oil leak that had to be solved. Although I am disappointed at the same time I am happy with the results of the other car. Peter did an excellent job and the new engine proofed to be well“.
Peter Dumbreck: „The seventh place does not really mean so much to me, it’s the time that matters. I wanted to do a mid-2:23 because I did a 2:24 this morning. We made some changes to the car before qualifying to try to improve it but I am not convinced they were a good move. We were trying to stiffen the rear and give it less of a roll. I was probably the wrong way so we will go back for tomorrow’s race“.
The race will start tomorrow at 12:50 and can be followed live on MotorsTV and Eurosport.