LMES – Monza – Friday Second Session Report
Stefan ‘Juhandon’(Johansson) – “It’s
A ******* Good Car”
all about Audis here – although they were 1-3-4 in the very
wet afternoon session. The thunder and lightning turned into heavy
rain throughout, and a brief red flag period to retrieve the DBA
saw the track even wetter in the second ‘half’, only
three significant cars improving.
The best moment
was as the afternoon 45 minutes started. Stefan Johansson, only
announced yesterday in the factory Zytek, had his first go in the
car at the start of the session, and was third quickest on his third
lap… we thought.
quickest on my second lap!” pointed out the genial Swede.
The third lap must have been the one when he passed the pits with
Jamie Davies right behind him, and kept him there under braking
into a very wet first chicane.
the comment (in the heading) about how good the Zytek is, David
Brabham pointing out that his time this morning was set in only
two flying laps. These guys are different, aren’t they? Andy
Wallace arrived at the track late this afternoon, none the worse
for his ordeal at Mosport. Jon Field was understandably very interested
to know what had happened.
Field Snr. incidentally
is driving in place of Duncan Dayton, and with John Hugenholtz in
the Cirtek Ferrari (here and Le Mans) and Romain Rusinov in the
JMB 360 (here), that’s all the driver changes, as far as we
go back to the Audis though. Allan McNish (Bert, his father, is
here - and thoroughly enjoying it) was fastest this afternoon, before
the pause, his 1:55.798 over 1.3 seconds quicker than the Advan
Dome, which has been going so well on its Yokohamas in each session
that one wonders about the absence of other Domes.
had a moment in the third fastest 88 Veloqx Audi, which Gabriele
Tosi observed from the first chicane. The Audis were spinning their
wheels in the first four gears, and Davies got it very sideways
in fourth, and spun into the barrier on the right, before the Curva
Grande. He glanced the barrier with the front and the back, and
the nose came off as he made his way back to the pits.
“We were running more downforce at the end than when I set
my time, and the car felt better, but then I had my moment. It felt
like quite low speed: I was following the Goh Audi, and he had a
sideways moment, so I was steering left to avoid him, and hit the
water that he’d hit. The damage is only very light.”
did more damage than that in another significant entry – the
Freisinger Porsche…. under braking into the first chicane.
He got the RSR sideways under braking, hit the barrier on the left
with the rear, spun through more than 360 degrees and hit it with
the front, damaging the radiators.
Dallara still seemed to be in gearshift trouble, but it was a more
reasonable fifteenth fastest, behind the Vitaphone Saleen. The S7-R
was nearly three seconds faster than the next best GTS, the 62 Barron
Connor Ferrari. Gabriele described these cars as struggling with
traction out of the very slow first chicane, especially compared
to the Vitaphone Saleen.
The Larbre Ferrari
was third in GTS. Pedro Lamy: "This afternoon I couldn't see
anything in the rain. The car is not so bad but as soon as we have
some cars in front we can't see anything, there was too much water.
There was some aquaplaning - it was not very easy.
"I am happy
to be with Larbre and with the Ferrari. It's a shame I didn't get
the chance to drive the car before this weekend but I hope to drive
a bit more tomorrow. It's my first time with Larbre and they seem
very nice and easy to work with."
get much time tomorrow, with just the two 45 minute qualifying sessions
Back with the
prototypes, the repaired Jota Zytek ran well, straight ‘out
of the box’ to twelfth fastest, set in the even wetter second
period, just ahead of the RML Lola, which Mike Newton admitted was
being treated as a test car for Le Mans, rather than a race car
The RML B160
seemed to create the highest rooster tails down the front straight,
Peter Elleray (Bentley designer, now with RML) suggesting that this
was because the wing on this car is so low. In contrast, the ’04
spec. cars, the Nasamax and the Belmondo Courage, were creating
roosters only half the height of the older cars.
DBA was fractionally faster than the Zytek, in the end (two thousandths),
but Johansson had made his point in those opening couple of laps.
Johnson’ also made the point that “I haven’t raced
or driven anything since Le Mans last year.” His navigating
was fairly crap though: it took him three hours to get from Malpensa
to Monza yesterday, partly because he was ‘rabbiting’
on the ‘phone and missed his exit. “The trouble is,
I’ve been coming here for 20 years and I end up at the track
by taking a different route every time.”
was here for the first time, but was enjoying himself, even in the
wet. “The Dallara was really nice in the wet. The only problem
we had was with the brakes, the fronts heating up too much and causing
them to lock – so we need to look at blanking them off at
the back, for the wet. But the Dunlops were great and the car felt
absolutely ‘planted’ on traction. We could have done
a 1:59, but in fairness we’ve never driven the car in full
was in the same position (never driven the Pescarolo in the wet),
and was fairly cautious during the first 25 minutes, while Emmanuel
Collard was more aggressive later on, but the track was wetter and
slower. Henri was happy to see his car seventh fastest.
was happy with eleventh fastest in the PiR Pilbeam: “We have
less power than the Courage, but that doesn’t matter so much
in the wet. We are using the diffuser for the first time, and Michelins
for the first time, and Marc (Rostan) did a very good job. We have
different mapping for the wet, and with engineers from Magneti Marelli
and Mader (JPX) here, the engine was very good. The car is almost
all new – engine, gearbox, diffuser, tyres….”
With Rob Schirle
happy to have Jones and Maassen going well in the RSR – “Wet
or dry, they know what they want, these professionals” –
while Clint Field reckoned that he normally “likes the wet,
but the water just hangs here, I didn’t enjoy that very much,”
and finally for now, we find that each driver will have to complete
at least an hour of Sunday’s race.
has brightened up at 19.00 Friday. An accurate weather forecast
for Saturday and Sunday could be a very useful piece of information.
Gabriele reckons it will be more settled than today.
Oh, a Kevin
Buckler story to finish: "Patrick (Long) and I arrived about
a hour before the afternoon session. We've been at Sears Point this
week, with Jim Matthews: Jim ran a string of times that I couldn't
believe, while Patrick was substantially - I'm not going to tell
you how much - under the pole at last year's Sears Point race. Patrick
and I worked on that car for two days. He only did three laps this
afternoon, because we feel it's more important to get the other
guys up to speed."
We'll tell you
the qualifying tyres tale tomorrow.