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LMES – Silverstone 1000 Kms – Friday Session 2
Brighter – And Fiery

The second session began beneath brighter skies with a series of good fast laps for Shimoda aboard the #15 Zytek, a 1:38.382 enough to fend off the efforts of the Creation DBA and Oreca Audi at the 15 minute mark.

The Pescarolo was getting up to speed and as the halfway point approached was second fastest - not for long though as the Creation DBA grabbed fastest time so far with 32 minutes to run, a 1:38.189, still a couple of tenths shy of the first session’s mark.

10 minutes to go though and it was the Pescarolo that topped the timesheet, a 1:37.874 the fastest of the meeting so far. It would stand at the top of the timesheets at the end of the session

Neither of the Rollcentre Dallaras ventured out during the session – repairs still underway after 9am dramas.

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In LMP2 Sam Hancock was putting smiles on Binnie Motorsport faces, up to 6th overall in the #41 car, ahead of the Lister, and almost two seconds clear of the RML MG Lola - before Erdos began to close the gap, eventually overhauling Hancock’s mark and breaking the 1:41 barrier. RML were testing tyre options for much of the session. Bob Berridge was also closing in for a Lola 1,2,3 at the halfway point in the session, 6th, 7th and 8th overall. It stayed that way too, the three cars ending the session separated by just three tenths of a second. The fourth B05/40 (the Horag Lista car) was in the midst of an engine change and did not feature in the session.

Ah, not an engine change - rather, a flywheel change. "A nut got caught in the flywheel somehow, and bent the teeth and the crank trigger," explains John Judd Jnr. "It had us really confused for a while."

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The #37 Belmondo Courage’s dramas became rather more dramatic between sessions after a fire in the garage left a team mechanic with burns which required hospital treatment (see below): the Silverstone circuit air ambulance was swiftly brought into action to ferry the unfortunate victim away to hospital.

GT1 was a close battle between the BMS and Menx Ferraris and the Convers Team Aston Martin, the BMS pair making most of the early running - before Peter Kox in the MenX car leapfrogged them to lead the group with 30 minutes of the session to run. The Aston reappeared midway through the session to post third fastest time, with the #61 Ferrari and the A-Level Porsche also joining in the fun and getting quicker throughout the period.

The early pacesetter in GT2 was the Autorlando Porsche, well clear of the GPC Ferrari 360 and #90 Sebah Porsche, by the half hour mark though the Noble Group / GruppeM #86 Porsche was third quickest, until it was bettered by a full second by the lead #88 GruppeM car late in the session, with the Scuderia Ecosse Ferrari also leapfrogging the #86 Porsche in the last few minutes.

The #88 GruppeM Porsche was in a spot of bother with its ECU, Adan Deborre using this (dsc) laptop to download the latest software direct from Porsche – “and the diff. has tightened up”.

Andrew Kirkaldy was very pleased with that Scuderia Ecosse time from the first session: “I think it will go considerably faster. We were running half a tank of fuel, and there was oil down at Luffield. I think we can do a low 1:51. We’re running the same construction tyres that we finished Monza with, but slightly softer.”

We haven’t caught up with Marc Lieb or Sebah yet – but Michael Cotton has. Marc is getting married next week (same day as Guy Smith – must be a quiet GT weekend everywhere), and is expecting to be a father next month. The personable Le Mans GT2 winner is going to continue with his engineering studies at Stuttgart University in October, so don’t expect a full season from him next year.

Another hard charger in GT2, Allan Simonsen: “The (James Watt Automotive) car is about four seconds or so off the pace of the latest Porsches, but it’s a good car, very driveable. I was pushing quite hard in the first session, but at a level where I felt very comfortable. I was passing quite a lot of other Porsches – but we’re probably 50 bhp down, maybe 30 kg overweight, and we haven’t got a sequential gearbox. But I think I’ve put a smile on the mechanics’ faces.”

The James Watt car improved a place to eighth in the second session.

So where is Dana Brewer, Graham Nash? “I spoke to him last night, but he’s not here today. In all my years of doing this, I’ve never known a driver not turn up. We’re re-grouping at the moment.” The Saleen has yet to go out and practice today…

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Back to the prototypes – and the two Zyteks. Sam Hignett: “We only did out laps in the first session, because the vibration was so bad. We’ve taken a lot of part soff the car, and are putting them back on one by one, trying to identify what the cause was. It’s going much better now.” Kurosawa set the ninth best time – behind the three top LMP2s, all Lolas.

Hayanari Shimoda: “It’s my first time on the Grand Prix track, but now I’m getting used to it, and have just set a 1:38.3. Everything is getting better. Try for pole? - of course I will.” Chilton, below.

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The Tracsport Tampolli won’t be going for pole, of course, but al three drivers are getting laps in, Del Delaronde running at “about seven-tenths, Eddy Morris is settling in well though.”

Both drivers commented on the traffic, in particular the way the LMP1s come blasting past. LMP2s too, presumably.

Balba Camino – what a Spanish charmer. A quick lady too.

“Yes, it’s my first time in a prototype, and I haven’t raced anything for a year. I am learning the track and the car.” Rather well, one assumes, with a best lap of 1:48.3 so far, in the Lola B98/10.

“I love driving this car – but I used to love driving the Marcos LM600 too. They are very, very different of course.”

So what happened in the Belmondo garage, Adam Sharpe? “We had problems with the electrical system in the first session, so between the sessions, the mechanics were working on that, and the fuel system, and the rear suspension. One of the mechanics had his head right by the tank when it went bang. It was a big explosion, and he’s lost his hair and has third degree burns on his arm and shoulder.

“We don’t have a spare fuel cell, so that’s gone off to ATL to be repaired – and we hope to qualify this evening."

Best wishes to the poor mechanic, who was taken to hospital by air ambulance.

dsc’s Britcar 24 pit-runner (Sam Hignett) passes on the news that he and John Stack have just sold their Honda Integra, to Austin Reynolds and Nick Padmore, who will race it in the 24 hour race here next month.

Finally for now, the Pescarolo is running in the same aero configuration as at Monza ie. No fences on the rear wing. “We have tried different aero solutions since Le Mans, and this works best on this circuit (as well as at Monza),” commented the team owner.

 

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