LMES – Nurburgring 1000 Kms – Second Session
Dry, But Oily - & Lots Of Traffic

Ignore the driver line-ups – some of them at least – against the cars in our table of practice times from this morning: the complete list has now been released, so the names on the table of second session times are accurate, the first less so.

We need to make that point very clearly, because until late morning it wasn’t apparent who is partnering Lars Nielsen and Thorkild Thyrring in the Farnbacher (was Racer’s Group at Le Mans) Porsche RSR: it’s Mike Rockenfeller.

With the track dry but oily, the young German was nearly two seconds faster (2:01.468) than the rest in GT, headed up by Stephane Daoudi in the JMB Ferrari (no Melo in this car this time) - 2:03.304.

Staying with GT, third was the Freisinger Porsche (Vassiliev joining Collard and Ortelli), then Cirtek’s RSR, the Choro Q (or is that Choroq?) RSR, Sebah’s R and JWR’s RSR.

Sebah sixth quickest then, and with Marino Franchitti only having completed about six laps so far, on his debut on the F1 track, it’s Xavier Pompidou setting the times in Hugh Hayden’s GT3-R. “Xavier is really helping me to learn the track,” said the Scot. “This car is quite a change from the GT3 I drove in the 24 Hours…..” that car having ABS brakes and no restrictors. Marino’s description of driving down the long home straight on the Nordschleife, through the mist and rain, with almost zero visibility, shows what these guys are made of.

Liddell and Jordan were working on the rear end of the team’s new RSR, and a slight change got rid of the understeer they had at the start of this 45 minute period, but “traffic” was the problem, hardly any of the cars seeming to spend any substantial time in the pits: everyone wanted to be out there, with such limited track time before first qualifying this afternoon. “We’re not quite there,” summed up the Mid-Ohio LMP2 winner.

So straight onto LMP2 here, where Jean-Marc Gounon was fastest early on, but the Belmondo car pipped his best, with a 1:52.245. Randaccio’s Tampolli was third on a 1:59. Hmmm.

Tracsport were pleased to be in the ballpark of the bulk of the (older) LMP2s, John Gaw setting a 2:03.048. Six of the class set times between 1:59 and 2:03. the Palmyr car stranded alone on a 2:10. Tracsport’s TM Dudley Wood was pleased with progress with the Lola, all three drivers being new to this circuit. “Our aim is to finish the race and learn.” Driver John Ingram: “We had a slight problem this morning with the engine cutting out, but that’s been resolved. I’ll run in the second half of qualifying, John Gaw will set the time.” It sounds as though traffic will be a problem this afternoon…. which looks as though it should remain dry.

GTS saw the two shining lights from Monza at the top of the list, Vitaphone still ahead – by about a second and a half, from Larbre. Only the MAC Racing Viper was adrift of the bulk of the class, led by the Barron Connor 61 car, then the Force One GTS-R then the other 575. John Bosch’s team has been testing at Oschersleben recently, but set-up work more than testing new developments… The GNM Saleen was seventh fastest, just behind the turbo Porsche. Graham Nash is seeking a two minute pace for the race, and isn’t too worried about a specific qualifying time. Phil Bennett and Gian Maria Bruni do not have a third partner.

dailysportscar.comSo LMP1 – which ended up with Audis 1-3-4, split by Nic Minassian in the Creation DBA. The R8s ran with a dry set-up earlier this morning, explaining why they collectively weren’t terribly quick, but form is being to be asserted.

Minassian is bouncy and confident though: “My 1:47.4 was my first flying lap, and it wasn’t a very good lap.”

Sam Hignett was pleased with sixth quickest in the Jota 04S, but didn’t feel that he made the most of new tyres, because of oil on the track. John Nielsen was a very good seventh in the Lister, which was running trouble-free - the team concerned though that there is just insufficient time to make any meaningful changes to the car in the limited track time, made worse by the wet session this morning.

Patrick Pearce put the Dallara into the gravel on his out lap, hence no time – or set-up time – for this car. It will go into qualifying not having completed a dry lap….

Reader Julian Roberts (thanks Julian, no time to get email working here yet) forwards this image, of the Le Mans-winning Goh Audi during Dindo's Sunday lunchtime conflagration on June 13: none of us here realised quite the extent of the flames... Courage indeed, Dindo. Comments from Mr. Kazumichi Goh on the reaction in Japan to his team's Le Mans win to be added here ... now.

It was a very happy Kazumichi Goh in the Nurburgring paddock today – the proud team owner of the first privateer squad to win the Le Mans 24 Hours since 1997 and the first ever non-European privateer to do so.

“I’m delighted of course and very, very proud.”

The news of the Team Goh win was received very well indeed back at home in Japan

“Ironically it was the first time for many years that the race was not well covered by terrestrial television, instead there was cable coverage but the newspapers’ coverage was fantastic. We had a quarter page in colour on the front page of Japan’s biggest daily newspaper. Everyone heard about it. My mother, who is 77 years old, was called by her friend who had seen the result and rang to congratulate her.”

Here’s hoping that a popular and newsworthy result like this might persuade the Japanese manufacturers to look again at sportscar racing.


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