Difficult Weather Conditions and Few Points - 23.04.2012
Cool and wet weather conditions caused difficult circumstances for teams and drivers at the FIA GT1 World Championship’s second round. Like Nogaro for the first round, the 4,004m (2.49 miles) long track in Zolder, Belgium was not an easily predictable component.
The Reiter Engineering team again participated with two Lamborghini LP600+ in Zolder, with both driver duos, Peter Kox (NDL) and Darryl O´Young (CHN) as well as Thomas Enge (CZE) and Albert von Thurn und Taxis (DEU) sharing a car. Kox/O´Young had scored 6 and Enge/Thurn und Taxis 8 World Championship points at the first round in Nogaro.
Both, Darryl O´Young and Albert von Thurn und Taxis started the first qualifying session on wet tyres. Both made the cut for Q2, with Thurn und Taxis setting the fourth fastest time in that session.
Kox and Enge used the same tyres for Q2, making the top 8 and consequently Q3. Thurn und Taxis stayed on wet tyres for Q3. At the drying track he failed to grab a better position than P8, the start position for the Qualifying Race. O´Young in the Gallardo #25 on slick tyres grabbed P3. This result was later corrected to P2 because the Porsche in that start position was given a three-place grid penalty for a qualifying infringement.
Peter Kox managed a good start in the qualifying race on Saturday, grabbing and defending the lead. However, shortly afterwards race control indicated that he seemed to have overtaken the car in front of him before the actual start signal. Consequently, he had to serve a drive-through penalty and lost places. Tomas Enge (#24) also managed a good start. He had reached P4 in the second lap before he was forced to retire with gear box issues in lap 9. Darryl O´Young took over Peter Kox‘ Lamborghini Gallardo, rejoining in P7. However, he failed to defend this place until the end of the race.
Albert von Thurn und Taxis was forced to start the main race on Sunday from the back (P14) due to the broken gear box in the qualifying race. Having gained three places by lap 5, he was not able to defend his place due to rapidly deteriorating tyres. Tomas Enge took over, managed a good performance and grabbed P8 in the end.
The team decided to use slick tyres for car #25. However, in the third lap Daryll O´Young had to come back into the pit when it started to rain. That additional pit stop made a good place impossible.
Albert von Thurn und Taxis #24: “I do not really understand what the problem is exactly. We have experienced rapidly deteriorating wet tyres on several occasions now. It was extreme in the race on Sunday and in the end the car was virtually non-drivable. All teams faced the same conditions and started on wet tyres but some just sped off. At the beginning we manage to keep up well but after a few laps we just do not stand a chance. We definitely need think about and analyse these conditions because on some occasion we will be faced with them again”.
Tomas Enge #24: “I think the race went well for us considering that we had to start from the back due to the broken gear box in the qualifying race. We should be pleased with the result. I was able to attack a nd gain a few places. And I am happy about having scored a few points. Overall, considering the chaotic weather this weekend it went quite well”.
Peter Kox #25: “It was not our weekend. We were supposed to reach a much better result because the car worked well during the free practice sessions. Later, we did not make the right call with regard to the tyres but the weather conditions just did not work in our favour”.
Darryl O´Young #25: “The weekend started off quite well and we managed to set good lap times in the free practice sessions. We grabbed P3 in the qualifying session and started from P2 because the Porsche in P2 was given a three-place grid penalty. We were given a drive-through penalty in the qualifying race which set us back, making a better place than P8 for Sunday’s race impossible. The position was extremely difficult for us, with the weather conditions is was not easy to find the ideal strategy. Well, the weekend is behind us now and we are looking ahead to Navarra”.
Hans Reiter (Team principal): “The weekend was quite disappointing for us and we need to face this. We grabbed P3 in the qualifying session, our car was capable of winning and we are still coming back home with almost empty hands. We had the wrong pressure for these conditions in Albert’s car (#24) and the tyres overheated. Starting with the second car on slick tyres was a risk and it did not work. We switched to wet tyres when it started to rain and we should not have done that. Now we need to analyse the weekend before we travel to Navarra in a few weeks time”.
The next race will take place in Navarra (ESP) from 26 – 27 May 2012.
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