News
02.07.2011

Free Practice 3 résumé

This morning's practice started on time: the track was wet due to last night's rain, but the skies cleared, helping the surface dry and hence become faster over the course of the session.

Phil Keen was first out, to warm the car, coming in to the pits once for a brief general check over. After returning to the tarmac, he put in a blindingly fast first sector time, which help produce the first competitive time of the day: 1min55.7secs, placing the car ahead of it's rival Formula Le Mans. Two even quicker laps followed, improving the time to 1min49.8secs. Phil stayed out for a few more minutes, keeping his consistantly fast pace, before handing the car over to John Hartshorne.

The circuit now drying up, the other Oreca 09 prototypes were gaining speed, and two tenths separated the team from the car ahead. John ameliorated his time down to 1min57.7secs, taking off a second a lap during the whole of his stint.

On the Formula Le Mans' 18th tour, Phil Keen hopped back in, to see if the new conditions brought even more speedy times. Sure enough, he set an incredible 1min46.8secs lap, then a 1min45.5secs; three Oreca 09's battling for the top spot on the timing sheets.

Frustratingly, on an in-lap moments before the session was red-flagged, Phil ran wide at a corner, avoiding some debris and shot straight into the barriers, damaging the front of the car. The team were making preparations for qualifying when the prototype crashed out, but now unfortunately their attention will be fixed on repairing the no.92 Formula Le Mans in time for qualifying this afternoon. The damage isn't too serious, and Phil is unhurt, but remains disappointed as he had started to set incredible lap times before the incident: "An unfortunate mistake by breaking early at the Villeneuve chicane, hopefully the damage will be repaired, and we'll set off on the right foot tomorrow".

Qualifying is going to be extremely exciting, at 2.25pm local time here in Italy.

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