A very wet and windy morning practice session on Saturday resulted in the session being cut short. Here’s how the morning ended up:
|7||33||1.55.257||EURASIA||ORECA||ORECA-NISSAN||DE BRUIJN||JUN JIN||BRADLEY|
|9||21||No Time||SMP||BR01||GIBSON-NISSAN||SHAYTAR||LADYGIN A||ALSESHIN|
I can confirm that the problem with the wind Saturday morning was that signage boards were being blown all around the track and potentially the pit lane. Both Gibson teams were happy after their short wet runs.
We’re into an extended second session. The (now) two hour session has started in bright sunshine. Even the wind is dying down. It sounds like the worst of today’s weather has moved to Jerez, where the Gibson World Series by Renault crew are securely strapping down the most important personnel.
After thirty minutes, it’s Algar ve at the top of the timing screen. James Winslow is almost half a second clear of Lapierre’s TDS Oreca. Gary Hirsch is third, but has the last sector nailed, hitting the purple sectors several times. Simon Dolan is in fifth, just behind the first of the SMP cars.
Lancaster (Greaves) and Aleshin (SMP) get close to Winslow’s time, but are still one tenth away. One hour gone, and it’s time for home favourite, Felipe Albuguerque, to have his first run of the weekend. He moves the car back up to fifth place.
Forty minutes to go, and the positions look a bit upside-down. The two fastest cars, from this morning, are the two slowest cars this afternoon. At the top, we have Eurasia, followed by Algarve.
Alburquerque moves up to second, but is seven tenths behind the Eurasia Oreca.
Lancaster puts in a flyer. One second clear of the rest. Harry Tincknell joins him, in second place.
Ten minutes remaining, and TDS make their move. Lapierre moves to second place, with his first attempt (presumably with new tyres). He cannot better this time, so brings the car in, for Badey to have a go.
Just as we were thinking that the SMP cars were struggling (last and second from last at the time), Aleshin slots into third. And this is where he finished. So here are the final times for the session. Qualifying is at 9.Sunday. We’re expecting a cloudy day, with several interruptions from thunderstorms.
|5||33||1.33.320||EURASIA||ORECA||ORECA-NISSAN||DE BRUIJN||JUN JIN||BRADLEY|
Moving on to Sunday morning qualifying. We have a radio, so that we can hear race control messages. Eduardo Freitus has declared qualifying to be ‘wet’. ‘because it is wet’. That’s a fair summary, of the conditions, although it’s currently quite sunny.
As I said, it is sunny at the moment, but if there is any serious amount of rain in the next fifteen minutes, the prototype cars will not be able to go any quicker than the GTs. That would make it interesting, and not exactly what we want.
The prototypes are in the pit lane, and the rain is holding off. We’ve seen onboard shots of Jota and Greaves joining the queue. Albuquerque and Lancaster will be the Gibson pilots for this session. They will probably all be staying out for the full twenty minutes.
There’s a lot of spray around, and it’s the Michelin cars (Krohn and Pegasus) that are setting the purple sector times. The three championship contenders are sitting in 6th, 7th and 8th. TDS come in for new intermediate tyres. Jota and Greaves are also in. Presumably, they have also put inters on. We see a shot of Greaves adjusting the ride heights on their car. Lap times, at the moment, are about 14 seconds off of yesterday’s times.
8 minutes to go, and the SMP cars are challenging the Pegasus Morgan.
They’ve had their first flying laps, on their new tyres, and Jota move to 6th, TDS 5th and Greaves 2nd. Pla (Krohn) now leads.
Next lap, it’s TDS 6th, Jota 3rd and Greaves 1st. To confirm – it’s Lapierre (TDS), Albuquerque (Jota) and Lancaster (Greaves).
Lancaster has a messy middle sector, then Albuquerque sets 3 purple sectors to go P1. But there’s a car in the gravel, on the last corner. Lancaster sets 2 purple sectors, but the truck cannot remove the car in time, and Lancaster brings the car into the pits.
It’s a front row lock out, for Gibson. We have taken pole in every ELMS race, this year. Lapierre is 4th. What a session, and Jota pick up another point. That could be crucial, later in the day.