MANSELL HAS A FIGHT ON HIS HANDS- 2006 GP Masters of Great Britain – Qualifying Silverstone

MANSELL HAS A FIGHT ON HIS HANDS- 2006 GP Masters of Great Britain – Qualifying Silverstone

12.08.2006: MANSELL HAS A FIGHT ON HIS HANDS- 2006 GP Masters of Great Britain – Qualifying Silverstone

Track temp: 24.6 degrees
Ambient temp: 22 degrees

A captivating qualifying session today gave us some real edge-of-the-seat action, as only 700ths of a second separated the top three drivers. Ex-Formula One driver and German Touring Car Champion, Christian Danner, took pole position with 1:36.916, followed by Stefan Johansson with 1:36.932 and local hero Derek Warwick with 1:36.982.

Nigel Mansell meanwhile had a day he would rather forget. A hydraulic failure caused a pipe to blow on his first lap out of the pits, and the 1992 World Champion spun on his own water at terrifyingly high speed. He will start from the back of the grid tomorrow. Will he be able to carve his way through the pack? Well, this is ‘il Lione’ after all.

Not classified – Nigel Mansell (Britain): "First of all I’d like to congratulate GP Masters on the most fantastic qualifying session yet. To have nearly four cars separated within a tenth of a second is a tremendous success. For me the session was quite difficult. I didn’t get out until half way through and then we had a major problem with the engine and gearbox. Eventually there was a hydraulic lock on the water system which blew one of the pipes off. Then I had a huge spin at about 170mph, which woke me up a bit! Knowing the problems we have, I parked it as soon as I could so we didn’t destroy the engine. Success tomorrow will be tough, coming from the back of the grid. Plus I’ve had so little running. I’m not holding my breath, but I would love to have a great race tomorrow."

Scott Poulter (CEO, Grand Prix Masters): "Today has again proven the scintillating and close competition that GP Masters promotes. There’s less than a second separating the top eight drivers, and I’m certain the action tomorrow will be enthralling. We are, however, extremely disappointed in being let down by our engine supplier this weekend. We have undertaken 32 engine changes in two days and many drivers have suffered as a consequence. Nigel, for example, has done hardly any running today and his qualifying lap ended with frustration. Mind you, if anyone can come up from the back of the grid it’s him. He is a master of overtaking in any environment, and Silverstone has witnessed some of his most iconic moves. As ever, he’ll be relying on his fans to drive him on."

1st Christian Danner (Germany): "I was lucky to finish the session ahead of Stefan and Derek, as it was very close. The car is easy to set up and I was able to dial it into my driving style, and I had no problems from the car or engine. It’s so much fun to drive a car with this much power on big slick tyres around a track like this – you think you’re never going to make it through the corner, and yet it manages to find the grip. I’m in a great position to get down to that first corner first. We’re a pretty experienced bunch and we’ve got a few race starts to our names, so hopefully we’ll all keep it together."

2nd Stefan Johansson (Sweden): "I had a few problems this morning to do with the engine mapping, but I’ve been happy with the handling and I think the session went pretty well and it’s looking good for me. The long fast corners of Silverstone are such a challenge, and I’ve always loved to drive on circuits like this. You can really really push it."

3rd Derek Warwick (Britain): "Full credit to GP Masters for getting all the cars onto the grid for tomorrow. There have been 32 engine changes over the course of the past couple of days, and they’ll have changed 40 by tomorrow. We as drivers feel very let down by the engine manufacturer, Nicholson-McLaren, but we’re also very proud of the GP Masters guys for dealing so well with the problem, by juggling engines and giving everyone time on the track. So, full compliments to them. On my quickest lap I mistakenly went from fourth to sixth gear as I exited Becketts and the car bogged right down. I went back for new tyres but on my last run pushed a bit too hard. I think I just got a bit frustrated with myself and overdrove. However, we all out-qualified Nigel Mansell. Okay, so he only managed half a lap, but that’s not our problem! Nigel, coming from the back, should be an interesting spectacle.

4th Riccardo Patrese (Italy): "I made some small mistakes, so I’m happy with fourth on the grid. The times are very close, closer than we’ve ever seen them. Everyone’s pushing harder than ever because we all want to win this. Silverstone has so much history and tradition that coming here again after all these years, with our old colleagues, is a wonderful treat."

5th Jan Lammers (Netherlands): "I think it’s incredible that I’m only three tenths off pole and I’m fifth on the grid. It goes to show what a great job the guys have done with these cars. I was pleased today because I managed to get quite upset, and that just shows how much we care! I had a collision with Andrea DeCesaris in the complex. He apologised to be afterwards, explaining ‘I was looking in my mirror, just the wrong one!’ He’s a character."

6th Eddie Cheever (USA): "Many of us haven’t driven around here in a single-seater in 20 years, and it’s fantastic to blow the cobwebs out of my head. I love the level of commitment Silverstone demands. It’s a shame what happened to Mansell. I got caught in traffic, which slowed me for a while. We’re all focused on victory tomorrow and the racing tomorrow will be tight and exciting."

RACE START: Tomorrow’s 30 lap race starts at 1pm local time.


- Sidhu & Simon -


12.08.2006 / MaP

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