A good start to the day no rain! In fact bright sunshine greeted us as we arrived at the circuit.
FP3 starts and a busy run plan for the one hour session, each driver is getting a run and it is a chance to see if the overnight changes on setup have improved the car. Robbie is out first on old rubber and testing the different fuel maps, then its Tor he spends two laps cleaning up the used rubber that has been impregnated with the grit beads from the painted lines in the pit lane – this is a big problem in the pit lane for everybody. During Tor’s run we get the call on the safety radio that it is raining at Turn 15 so we pit Tor and put John in the car while we see what the weather does, it’s only a short shower but it gives us a chance to scrub a couple of sets of wet tyres.
The track is quickly back to fully dry so we can back on with the program of giving John a run on new tyres and low fuel in preparation for qualifying. A good lap puts the ADR-Delta Oreca Nissan to P4, John got blocked on the lap so feels there is another 8 tenths to come, not quite the one second we would need for P1, but it’s a good base point.
Qualifying is a 20 minute mid afternoon burst with just the LMP1 and LMP2 cars running it’s about finding space and hoping you don’t catch somebody on a slow down lap. John’s first hot lap is good enough for P2 just one tenth off pole position, Chief Engineer David Leach gives the call to hold back on the next lap and push for one more lap, John gets the split times on the dash so he can see as he attacks the lap if he is up on his previous best. Sector 1 is fastest overall, Sector 2 is John’s best but not the best overall, it’s looking really tight but John knows from the dash he has had a good final sector, deep on the brakes into the final chicane with the car wriggling on entry John heads for the line and takes the provisional pole by just 0.04 of a second. Six minutes left of qualifying so John returns to the pit and we all watch the screens to see if anybody can beat the time……. its over, the team’s first pole position in sportscar racing.
A great job by the whole team in being the fastest LMP2 car in the 18 strong field, however tomorrow is another day so we will take nothing lightly and see what happens.
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