Aston Martin and Nissan Make Light Work of Hot Conditions
Under clear blue skies and blazing sunshine Richard Westbrook, in the nr22 JR Motorsports Nissan GT-R, went fastest In the first session of the weekend at Paul Ricard with a lap time of 2:04.335. David Brabham, in the nr21 Sumo Power GT Nissan GT-R, went 2nd fastest with his best of 2:04.840. It looked like a Nissan 1-2-3-4 until Andrea Piccini, in the nr4 Hexis AMR Aston Martin DB9, split the four cars with a time of 2:04.863, which was good enough for third on the time sheet and pushed the nr20 Sumo Power GT and the nr23 JR Motorsports Nissan GT-Rs to 4th and 5th respectively. GT1 Pre Qualifying will take place at 14:25 (CET) this afternoon.
CLICK HERE for the result from Free Practice
After another strong performance by the Nissan GT-Rs, led by the nr23 JR Motorsport Nissan of Michael Krumm as the air temperature soared to over 30 degrees, it was the nr8 Young Driver Aston Martin DB9 of Stefan Mucke that was at the top of the time sheets at the end of the 80-minute Pre-Qualifying session. In a last gasp lap Mucke posted a time of 2:03.897, the only GT1 driver to go faster than 2 minutes 4 seconds so far this weekend. Mucke's time was two tenths faster than Krumm's best effort and three tenths ahead of the third placed Andreas Zuber in the nr11 Exim Bank Team China Corvette.
CLICK HERE for the result of Pre-Qualifying
Qualifying will take place at 10:40(CET) on Saturday 16 July
Nr8 Young Driver Aston Martin DB9
"We know that the hot conditions are not ideal for our car. We concentrated on a good Quali set-up and we seem to have found it. I'm also quite optimistic for the race as we know what to change and which way to go, we understand how the car works on this track quite well. We are really hoping that it’s not getting any hotter as that will affect our performance quite a lot.
"In general the Aston is an aerodynamic car which is quite strong on aero circuits. But as soon as you have a higher air temperature you lose downforce and also engine power. We love the cold conditions but we have to make the best of it. The Nissans are strong in the straights so they are going to be hard to beat. So far, so good, I am looking forward to tomorrow."
Nr22 JR Motorsport Nissan GT-R
"It's been a good days' work. We were first in Free Practice, not quite top three in Pre-Qualifying but we are very close. We stayed in the window of the car on set-up. This is a good track for Nissan. It's definitely not as good for us as it was in the Algarve where it was really good but here it is going to very close.
"Obviously you have the Aston which is strong, the Ford is very quick, particularly in the last sector, the Lamborghini is quick as is the Corvette. It is going to be very tight during the race."
Nr11 Exim Bank Team China Corvette Z06
"We can't seem to get three good sectors together. We are both strong in the middle sector, but if you put my first sector together the last sector of Andreas (Zuber) then I think we can go for pole. It's very easy to lock up the fronts. If we can get it together and we get a good overall lap, then who knows.
"This track for us is better for the tyres for sure. At least we have the speed. If you don't have the speed then you really want to go home and cry. It was another good Friday for us. So far this season we are competitive - starting with Friday but we just need to get it right for the race and stay out of trouble."
Nr40 Marc VDS Racing Team Ford GT Matech
"In the morning it was OK but we have lost our way a bit on set-up with the No.40 car. We don't know exactly what went from this morning (Free Practice) to this afternoon (Pre-Qualifying), but all of a sudden the car was undriveable. We changed some small things but it was completely the wrong direction.
"The No.41 seems to be doing a lot better so maybe we will copy their set-up which will not be ideal for us but that is the only alternative we have at the moment."
Nr37 All-Inkl.com Münnich Motorsport Lamborghini Murcielago 670 R-SV
"We are not too bad. We weren't able to run with new tyres at the end because we had some technical issues with the engine which we can solve pretty easily for tomorrow. We are looking OK considering the weight we have with the success ballast added.
"It's too difficult to say on a Friday where we will end up for the race but we hope we can finish in the top five. That would be a great result for us. That is what we are aiming for."
Nr21 Sumo Power GT Nissan GT-R
"We had a good day today. We did all we needed to do and I’m happy with the car. I was a bit surprised as to how much the wind is affecting things on the long straight, you can really feel it pushing you into the corners, but overall I think we’re in a good position for tomorrow."