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LMES - Nurburgring 1000 Kms - First Qualifying Report
What An Eifel Day

A busy old day in the Eifel Mountains, with three sessions, the last of which at 15.20 this afternoon seemed to sum up the day. The track was dry as the session began, but there was already a spattering of moisture in the air: basically, if you didn’t get a lap in in the first few minutes, you didn’t get a quick lap in at all. Major suffererer was the Pescarolo entry, which only went out when the track was very wet, the rain having come down in torrents. The session then ended in bright sunshine, and the Belcar boys have been busily drying out the track….

Jamie Davies was fastest of all - "The track was very 'tricky' but I managed to achieve a good lap" - his 1:47.009 taking provisional pole by 1.4 seconds, from Seiji Ara, with Pierre Kaffer another four tenths back - "I was held up by a slower car" - then Tommy Erdos fourth in the RML Lola, on vitually a 1:50 dead. “I’m very happy: we got lucky and I put a lap on the board. We made a change to the rear end set-up after the morning session, and the car feels really nice. You could say our timing was lucky, but you make your own luck. The team made the right call and that gave me the chance to set the time.”

Jean-Marc Gounon was the class of LMP2, fifth fastest overall, with Michael Bartels sealing the head of a another session for the Vitaphone Saleen – but Mike Hezemans was second quickest, showing what commitment can do, when time is of the essence.

GT was Adam Jones for Cirtek, then the Rockenfeller Porsche (listed as Thorkild Thyrring at the wheel) and Ortelli. In the very wettest conditions, Mike Jordan was fastest in GT in the JWR Porsche: “I don’t know why a lot of them take shelter when it’s like this. After all, it might be like it in the race. In fact, I hope it is, because although we may not have ultimately the quickest car in the dry, we’ve got a car that works very well in all conditions. In fact, I wouldn’t mind if it pours down all day and all evening tomorrow.”

Jordan’s “bit of fun” included chasing after Ortelli in the wet, and passing him.” Liddell likes the wet too.

A Renauer moment (this team is hoping for better weather tomorrow): The team was not entirely happy with its first qualifying session. "We had our fastest lap disallowed for speeding on pit lane", says driver Hannes Gsell. They are hoping for dry weather for tomorrow. Manfred Jurasz: "There were so many puddles on the track now, we don't need that in the race."

Similarly, “there were lots of opportunities to have an accident out there,” summed up Martin Short. Fortunately he didn’t, and although he’s hobbling (after the Le Mans accident), he’s fit to race.

Allan McNish had a moment in the wet, damaging the left front of the no.8 R8, but only bodywork. We haven’t properly caught up with the Audi drivers yet – but it has been a busy old day. Sphincters here are getting ready for a lap of the Nordschleife, care of Wolfgang Kaufmann – who has a gleam in his eye. ‘His’ Porsche turbo has water in its oil though, hence no time this afternoon. The Larbre Ferrari missed the opening dry minutes, so currently lines up seventh in GTS. The electronic readout on Christophe Bouchut's dashboard was not working correctly so he returned to the pits for it to be fixed. By the time this was done, the rain had set in. "For us, qualifying will definitely be tomorrow.”

 

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