Nissan Power to the Fore in France
Nissan-powered cars finished the ‘6 Heures du Castellet’ in first and second position today with the Thiriet by TDS Racing team taking the win and the Sebastien Loeb Racing team finishing in the runner up spot. Greaves Motorsport were heading for a win when some bodywork damage caused Alex Brundle to come in for an extra pit stop. The team settled for fourth place at the flag.
Qualifying duty at Greaves fell to Tom Kimber-Smith on Saturday and he put the Zytek-Nissan on the second row of the grid in third position. A clean getaway during the rolling start would be crucial for the Englishman on Sunday.
“The start was interesting as I managed to get a good run on (Mathias) Beche across the line but then he turned across me,” explained Tom. “This made me lose momentum so (Warren) Hughes was able to slip past me. I got him back though and settled into the race in third place. My first stint was pretty easy. I didn’t push too hard as I was on the soft tyres and knew I needed to save them.
I steadily caught the leaders and then after a great pit stop I switched onto the hard compound and passed the Status car for second. The last part of my triple stint was a lot harder as the Status car started to catch me as my tyres went off so I had to push hard. Considering the fact there weren’t a huge amount of cars out there it was very busy on track. All in all though everything went perfectly to plan for us in the early stages of the race.”
Next in the car was the 2008 GT Academy winner, Lucas Ordonez. This was Lucas’ first race with the Greaves Motorsport team and he showed great pace throughout the meeting, completing the race with the fastest lap time of the three Greaves drivers.
“I went into my run feeling very confident and really enjoyed the first stint,” said Lucas. “The second stint was hard work though as I had to fight to stay on the track as my tyres started to go off. There was also some rather un-gentlemanly driving going on out there today. I was cross with myself when the TDS car passed me but I didn’t know at the time that he was on fresh rubber. It was a great pleasure to lead the race for so long and I was very aware of the responsibility on my shoulders. I think we deserved a better result today but I also think that our time will come.”
Also making his debut with Greaves Motorsport this weekend was Alex Brundle, who like his team-mates showed fantastic pace throughout the meeting. The luck didn’t go Alex’s way this time but his performance bodes well for the races ahead.
“I was on my first flying lap and I went wide over the kerb at the exit of turn two,” he said. “This was enough of a jolt to take the bodywork off the front left wheel. I was a little surprised at the damage but even after pitting for repairs I thought we had a shot at P2 but then the stop-go penalty put us out of contention for the podium. I tried to catch (Alexander) Sims in third and I pulled back about 15 seconds but we just didn’t have enough race left.”
The team received a lengthy two-minute penalty for a pit stop infringement and, as Alex explained, ran out of race time to make up the deficit.
Despite finishing in fourth and just off the podium, Lucas, Alex and Tom, all showed a great turn of pace this weekend and made it clear that they will be a force to be reckoned with during the 2012 season.