SRT, supported by Champ Car, Gordon, DHL and Castalia Springs competing in the Total 24 Hours of Spa on 28th and 29th July, will take the start at 16:00hrs from thirteenth place on the grid. On Thursday Maxime Soulet clocked up a 2.18.901 in the early evening, perfect for a place on the grid between the Lamborghini of amongst others Bouchut and the Aston of Babini & co.
“And to top it all Maxime Soulet really didn’t want to start off from a thirteenth place”, Patrick Selleslagh jokingly remarked after the qualifying sessions.“All in all I reckon we have a pretty constructive two days behind us and that our team is fully prepared for this our ninth 24 Hour race with the Corvette. Our experience, our homogeneity and a little bit of luck on our side should be the ideal ingredients for a strong race, and if on Sunday we finish up amongst the top ten I’ll be really very happy.”
“During the free practice sessions we spent some time finding the ideal set-up”, Patrick Selleslagh explained, but with a little help from the Pratt & Miller people we got it all sorted out well in time. The tyres seemed to be the major problem, new to us and we didn’t have any references to hand. In itself the rubber is perfect, but the symbiosis between the new Michelins and our C5-R is a bit haywire. Our American friends provided us with their expertise and now we’re there…”
Maxime Soulet had the honour and pleasure to clock up the fastest lap time in the Corvette and the young driver from Brussels acquitted himself very well. “I’m sure I could have gone faster, but heavy traffic stopped me from setting a lap time of 2.17. All my attempts were interrupted by a slower competitor. But OK, 24 hours is a long time and on top of that our intention was not to aim for lap times within the top-3 or top-5 during qualifying”, Soulet told us.
Newcomer Vanbellingen also took some time to find the perfect rhythm. “I lacked some confidence, but I have sorted it out. It comes mainly from the enormous difference between the power of my BMW Silhouette which permanently requires high revs and the highly supple engine of the Corvette which needs a different handling. But all the same this is an incredible experience and the car has been greatly improved. We also need to thank the people from Pratt & Miller for this.”
Marc Duez, now competing in his thirtieth Spa race, is as always full of stoicism. “We’ll analyse the situation on Sunday at 16:00hrs, such a 24 hours race is very long and with the rainy conditions forecast just about anything could happen. Let’s keep our fingers crossed and make sure all our supporters are out there!”
(credit: SRT Press)