Team Trading Performance : What a let-down after so much effort!

02.05.2008: Team Trading Performance : What a let-down after so much effort!

Team Trading Performance, Zytek07S-Zytek #41 (Gosselin/Schroyen/Ojjeh)

Le Mans Series, 1000 km of Monza - April 27th 2008

The second round in the Le Mans Series was held at the Monza circuit, in Italy. The Swiss team, Trading Performance, has done a lot of development work on its Zytek 07S LM P2 prototype, and until Saturday its three drivers were very pleased with the car’s potential. But mechanical problems put an end to their hopes when a broken suspension forced them to retire on Sunday, two hours into the race.

In Catalonia, the team had won its first championship point. So the trio of drivers—Claude-Yves Gosselin from Normandy, Karim Ojjeh from Saudi Arabia, and the young Belgian Julien Schroyen—arrived on the great Monza track with plenty of motivation. During the first open practice sessions they found a car that was sound, fast, and easy to handle. They all praised the impressive work done by the engineering crew since Barcelona.

For his second race at this level, Julien found his feet very quickly and turned in good times. His team-mates therefore decided to give him the responsibility of qualifying the car on Saturday afternoon. The junior member of the team showed he could handle it by placing 7th in the LM P2 qualifying session. On Saturday night, Trading Performance’s morale was set fair.

But in the Sunday morning warm-up, Karim Ojjeh was unable to repeat his performance of the day before. He had to use his driving skills to make up for the prototype’s poor road holding. Right from the start, Claude-Yves also felt uneasy.

He lost more than 2 seconds on the times he clocked in open practice. Karim took over and made up several places in the ranking, but was not pleased with his times. Coming out of the first chicane, he spun out, and upon restarting noticed a problem at the rear of the car. So he came back into the pits early. The report was unambiguous: the suspension was broken, and they had to abandon the race.

Trading Performance hopes to forget this disappointment at Spa, on May 10-11, during the next 1000-km race in this gripping Le Mans Series.

Claude-Yves Gosselin: "As soon as I started I felt that the car was behaving strangely. So I didn’t get into any battles during my turn at the wheel. Since I had driven over some debris scattered on the track, we first thought there might be a slow puncture, and the wheel was changed during the refueling. My impression was then confirmed by Karim, who got into a spin for no reason. He cut short his shift to assess the problem, and we found that two of the right rear suspension joints were broken. "

Karim Ojjeh: "During the race I didn’t recognize the car that I drove in practice. Its rear end moved around, and lost traction: I didn’t feel confident. When I spun out—fortunately in a slow chicane—I realized that there was a problem with the right rear. I brought the car back into the pits and we took the decision to drop out after we’d looked into the matter. I’m disappointed because the team has done an enormous amount of work since Barcelona to give us a car that delivered, and also for Julien, who couldn’t take part in the race."

Julien Schroyen: "The team showed a lot of confidence in me by letting me take the wheel in qualifying. I had a very good lap because the car was going great, and I felt good. Obviously I’m very disappointed not to have driven on Sunday, especially as we had the right weapon to fight for about 3rd to 7th position in the LM P2 class. Monza left me wanting more, but I’m really hoping to catch up at Spa, where I’ll be driving on my home terrain. This will be a big challenge for me!"

Short brief about the Le Mans Series : Since 2004, Le Mans Series organizes races of 1000 km (or a max of 6 hours) at the most prestigious European racetracks (Spa, Silverstone, Monza, Nurburgring...). There are 4 classes of racing cars competing together (Sports-Prototypes LM P1 and LM P2, Grand Tourism LM GT1 and LM GT2), each class following the very same rules as established for the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

2008 Le Mans Series Calendar : Barcelone (ESP) April, 6th - Monza (ITA) April, 27th - Spa (BEL) May, 11th - Nürburgring (GER) August, 17th and Silverstone (GBR) September, 14th.

 

Romain Didier, future racing commm - videos on automobilsport.com under RACE CATEGORIES - VIDEOS and photos under PHOTOS - LE MANS SERIES

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02.05.2008 / MaP

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