SRT floored by bad luck in home race

SRT floored by bad luck in home race

20.10.2008: SRT floored by bad luck in home race

SRT – 2008 / FIA GT R9 ZOLDER

This weekend the last European round of the FIA GT championship was held at Zolder, prior to heading off for San Luis, Argentina on 22nd and 23rd November. For SRT this was the ideal opportunity to race and clinch a good result in front of a home crowd.

During the free practice sessions the Corvette of Bouchut and Maassen was constantly up amongst the top players and they finished the qualifying session in fifth place. Xavier Maassen drove a strong race, up until a piece of hard rubber damaged the drive belt of the oil pump and his race came to an abrupt end.

Saturday morning and midday are traditionally reserved for the free practice sessions during the FIA GT-weekends. Once more the Belgian SRT team provided excellent work with the Corvette C6.R in so far that during the second session Xavier Maassen was up on the front row.

"I have very rarely heard drivers comment after the practice sessions that the car was running perfectly, but in fact this was now the case.", Patrick Selleslagh laughed afterwards. "We’ve obviously found the correct set-up and we’ll keep it as it is."

During the short qualifying session Xavier Maassen registered the seventh best time, however two drivers who had finished ahead of him had ignored a yellow flag situation, and were therefore penalised.

"And you then shove up two places", Xavier Maassen remarked. "In addition we opted for harder rubber as compared to the other teams, because we were convinced that this would be beneficial to us in the second part of the race. And with that hard rubber you can’t actually match the rhythm of the softer compounds during qualifying."

The actual race stared off under a glorious autumn sun and in front of some 20,000 spectators. This quite clearly inspired Xavier Maassen to make a good start.

Patrick Selleslagh: "Our Dutchman was well away and drove a good race. He was permanently keeping guard up front, defended his position fervently and held off some highly reputable rivals. But unfortunately Lady Luck is not on our side in Belgium. In Spa we’ve experienced trouble twice, and we didn’t make the finish in Zolder. Here a piece of hard rubber, lying out on the track, affixed itself to the drive belt of the oil pump and this resulted in the belt coming off its pulleys.

The outcome was a pretty obvious one; it was over and out for us. For the team this is a hard nut to crack, all the more so that we were right up there once again and able to fight for a podium place. Not once this year have we retired due to a technical problem with the car. This must surely prove my team’s strength. Too often in the past the culprits were race incidents, but this time it was pure bad luck. It should not have happened..."

The SRT team are now readying themselves for the journey to Argentina, San Luis, for the final round of the season. Drivers for this competition will be made known shortly.

 

- Vincent Franssen, photo Evers Media-

Permanent-URL: http://www.automobilsport.com/fiagt-srt-zolder-home-race-patrick-selleslagh-san-luis-argentina-november---46300.html

20.10.2008 / MaP

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