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LMES – Monza – Friday First Session Report
Wait For Brabs

Times hovered around the 1:42 mark initially, then 1:40 (in this quick 45 minutes session – which they all are), then the two Audi Sport UK Team Veloqx Audis dipped into the 1:39s. Allan McNish finally topped the session with a 1:38.943, including a hairy old moment at the Ascari, the Pescarolo LMP1 and McNish exiting the chicane right together, the Scot having to go well to the left to miss the Pescarolo and a Porsche.

So a continuation of McNish form in France 12 days ago, and no surprise at all.

But was third fastest a surprise? 30 minutes into the session and we hadn’t seen either Zytek on track. The black factory car had a minor issue with “the off-board jacking system,” explained Trevor Foster, “and the minutes trickled away.”

At that point, David Brabham went out and set a 1:40 almost straight away, and then the third fastest time, a 1:39.924. Observers reported that he was “awesome” into the Parabolica, visibly quicker than anything else. He only had time for eight laps. The three Audis completed more like 20.

Have you addressed the straight line speed matter that arose at Le Mans, Trevor Foster? “Yes, we have. We found a number of small issues, and we’re confident that we’ve solved that.”

The other interesting Zytek (factory) news is that Stefan Johansson (officially he is Stefan Juhandon here!) is the third driver in this car. Trevor Foster: “I’ve known Stefan for years, and we met up at a couple of CART races last year. We’ve been talking ever since and we finally organised it yesterday. It was just coincidence that Andy has his mishap on Wednesday, because I didn’t know anything about that at the time.”

The other Zytek, the Jota car, was in trouble at Vallelunga on Monday of this week. “Gianni Collini had a big accident right at the end of the day, and we’ve been working flat out to have the car here,” commented Sam Hignett. “John Stack hired a van to get the tub from Italy to URT at Bognor Regis (he drove it himself), and they worked flat out on it for 15 hours. The tub arrived back here at 5am on Thursday morning, and Zytek has sold us a large portion of their spares. At this point the boys have been up for 37 hours, but we’ll be out this afternoon.”

Hignett was apparently ‘blue’ yesterday, having sprayed a lot of body panels himself.

Gabriele Tosi is out gathering more comments at this moment, so for now a quick summary of the other action.

The Creation DBA was fast early on, but JC-W had a spin after the throttle half stuck open: a new cable had been fitted, and it wasn’t quite ‘just right’. The Advan Dome (which arrived in an RfH truck) was quick throughout the session (sixth fastest), just ahead of two other ‘big boys’, the Pescarolo car and the Rollcentre Dallara (Short and Barff only so far).

The Belmondo C65 was fastest of the C65s (only five timed laps), ahead of Taurus’s Judd-powered Lola and RML’s AER-powered one, while the Nasamax had its predicted careful start and was 12th fastest, just ahead of the Vitaphone Saleen – which has the look of a winner, although it wasn’t that much quicker than the faster Barron-Connor Ferrari: just a few hundredths.

The Intersport B2K / 40 split the two, early GTS heavy hitters, Clint Field commented that he had “a very well balanced car and the engine is very strong.” Larbre was very close in third in GTS, the second 575 also well in touch, seven tenths ahead of the Force One Viper.

Seikel was quickest in GT, ahead of the Maassen / Jones Cirtek RSR and the late entry, the Emeraude Porsche (two big lock-ups for Seikel at Ascari, so trying hard already).

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The Sebah Porsche was on track for the very first time since the November 1000 Km race, so more of a shakedown for Masarati / Hayden, but Piers was happy, apart from some snap oversteer amd soft brakes, while the Taurus diesel only completed three laps and the Spinnaker Dallara didn’t set a time (although it was seen on the track).

Gabriele Tosi adds…….

The Clandesteam Dallara has a paddle shift sequential gearbox, but seems that neither part of the system was working perfectly this morning, and Gabbiani and Agusta were distinctly unhappy in an Italian sort of way.

Allan McNish: “We had probably too little time to do a proper test, maybe an hour would have been better. Pierre did the initial laps, then after a quick pit stop I jumped aboard. The pole time will probably be a low 37 or high 36.”

Peter Kox: “We had problems with the gearbox, which Is not a sequential one, but when I go to change I hear crrrrrr then the gear enter. I had a wheel coming loose too, but we are trying to fix everything for this afternoon.

Stephane Ortelli: “It is the same car from Le Mans, but with Dunlops instead of Michelin. The best time I`ve done so far is when I entered in the pit…so we can go much faster.”

Sascha Maaseen: “It’s a promising start (he was very happy): we can improve so much…I have a lot of ideas to improve the car and all we need is the time to adjust something and maybe trying something.”

Johnny Herbert: It has been ok, the track is not so dirty, I thought it would be worse…(about the GT cars) There`a lot of traffic…seems to be everywhere, they seem to be stuck in the trees!!! We did some set-up work…but we haven`t enough time to test properly.”

Dennis Leech (Peninsula TVR): “We’ve got a little bit of notchiness on the downchanges, but we’ll wait until after the afternoon session to change the gearbox.”

Hugh Chamberlain (Chamberlain-Synergy): “A bit of a gearbox problem this morning, which made setting good times very difficult for the drivers, with the sequential ‘box.”

Taurus Sports is in trouble with the Judd-powered car, which had the gearbox fail (parts being sent from the UK tomorrow), while the diesel car doesn't seem to have any more power than it finished with at Le Mans.

And at 15.15, 30 minutes before the second 45 minute session, it's come over very dark here (after a fine day so far), and a wet session looks distinctly possible..... more so as thunder crashes round the Royal Park.

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