LMS - Istanbul 1000 Kms - Saturday Lunchtime

No, not Thierry Perrier’s team, we haven’t caught up with them yet. But in the rush to write about what is going on, almost as it happens, it’s sometimes hard to step back and see the bigger picture.

Such as the fact that in yesterday’s first session of this event. Judd-engined cars were 1-2-3 in LMP1 and 1-3-4-5 in LMP2.

The evolution version of the Engine Developments GV5 is certainly playing its part at Pescarolo Sport.

Emmanuel Collard: “On the straights here we are faster than last year, with the same downforce. That is because of the new aero we have on the car but also the revised engine.

“But it’s difficult to quantify: on a track like this you don’t feel it like you do at Le Mans. We’ll feel it on the straights there.”

The Frenchman was cautiously optimistic about the chances of the French team taking on the Audi R10s. “We won’t know how competitive we are until we get to Le Mans…”

Similarly from Henri Pescarolo: “We have worked very had over the winter, but I don’t know if it is enough to beat the Audis.”

What a story it will be if the green cars can take on the new R10 diesels – in what will be the last year for the Courage-based chassis.

Incidentally, Henri is suffering a little with his right eye here, after a skin graft last month – a ‘repair’ that dates back to an injury he suffered in his big accident at Le Mans in 1969. There’s a bit of perspective for you.

In LMP2, Martin Short reckons that “we’ve got a missile – but as you know, if a part of the car is running well, it’s not a story.” That was a reference to the 3.4 XV Judd in the back of his “missile”.

Short has a problem though: The starter – and it’s probably not solvable here. “I expect we’ll have a starter motor problem in the race, and we’re doing our development in public. But this is really only day 3 (with the Radical), because we did so little running on day 1 at Ricard.”

A little more perspective – the fact that “everyone is off the times of last November, but the track is still very dusty, particularly off-line.”

Tommy Erdos added to that comment: “You can’t compare times from last November to now – although I’d hope to qualify in the 1:40s.” He set a 1:41.7 last year, although that probably wasn’t an absolute lap time.

“We’ve got a quicker car this year.”

A little more perspective (from M. Short): “Joao was in traffic every lap in that first session – and we’ve got understeer and too much rear downforce. We’re changing the front springs for the second session, and taking off some rear wing. That will be the first time we’ve really changed the set-up of the car.”

So it’s still very early days – in the season, for everyone, but especially for the Rollcentre Radical (which incidentally is a huge talking point in the paddock here – as you would expect). Expect more orders for SR9s…..

More perspective. We haven’t seen the best of the Chamberlain-Synergy Lola B06/10 here yet, the yellow car suffering a fuel pick-up problem this morning “but that’s sorted,” says Bob Berridge. He and Peter Owen and Gareth Evans are enjoying themselves immensely, as usual, “and spent half an hour yesterday ribbing Warren Hughes about his driving boots (see below).” Peter Owen has a very similar pair, but isn’t allowed to wear them!

Slight mistake from yesterday: Vincent Vosse did go out in the Larbre DBR9 – “I did eight laps”. He’s thoroughly enjoying being in a top GT1 car, but doesn’t want this entry referred to as a favourite in the class, “because it is a long race and anything can happen”.

Cirtek’s Garcia / Kinch Aston Martin was fastest this morning, a 1:49.960, with Palttala next on a 1:51 in the PSI Corvette.

Graham Shuter at Dunlop reports that the prototype and GT teams are using tyres that “we tested at Estoril and then at Ricard. We’ve developed a new compound and new construction – basically a new formulation of race tyre. The teams tell us that they have more overall grip, and the consistency is there even after long runs.”

Gareth Evans confirmed that with a 1:46 this morning after nearly 40 laps on the same rubber.

So what about those Warren Hughes race boots?

First things first though – Hughes was fastest in GT2 this morning with a 1:56.445, ahead of the GPC F430 GTC, the Lieb RSR and the Virgo 430 GTC. Pole here in November was a 1:55.1, by the Scuderia Ecosse 360, so the GT2s are approaching lap times from five months ago, despite the dusty track.

“We’ve cured it (the bouncing we had yesterday),” commented Richard Dean, “Allan fixed it.” Allan is Allan Mugglestone.

It’s a very different atmosphere in this team this year. “Last year we spent all our time changing engines, but with the reliability we’ve got now, we can spend all our time developing the cars.” And creating a very smart seat for Richard Dean (41).

Chip Lewis from Elan is here with the team, “just looking after a customer”.

Lawrence Tomlinson has had a new seat made, and his ribs shouldn’t be a problem. The team owner reports that LNT has entered the FIA GT race at Silverstone, “with one car, for Richard and myself.”

So those Warren Hughes boots. “We call them his Billy Elliott’s,” says Richard Dean. Notice that “Wazza” can even do the ballet movements.

Whatever anyone thinks of the location of this track, there are plenty of happy faces here – plenty of Turkish Delight, in fact. David Stephens reckons that “I probably fit in well in Turkey because I ate a lot of Turkish Delight as a kid.”

The Spyker team is a happier place today. "Yes, we've fixed it," says Hans van Rennes. "I'm not sure exactly what they've done, but it was a set-up change."

No joy at Barazi-Epsilon though, where problems surround the wiring loom, which will be replaced before Spa.

PS. The Lamborghini is out of the event. Some crew members have returned home already, so we’re down to 36 cars. Why come here without a spare engine?

PPS. There are spits and spots of rain about for the second session, so we’ll hope the moisture stays away for qualifying. Meanwhile, we’re all behind with posting the times. Marc Lieb was into the 1:56s in the second session, like Hughes - but Tim Sugden was quickest in GT2 so far here, a 1:56.054 in the Virgo Ferrari. Norbert Singer, helping Autorlando, is pictured below. Collard and Erdos were fastest in LMP1 and LMP2 respectively, with a 1:40.625 and 1:43.032 - faster than the Radical this morning.


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