Spa: Olivier Pla race report
A promising potential! Setting the best lap in the LMP2 class, Olivier Pla led the class of the 1000Km of Spa before a GT hit his car. After getting second place on Le Mans Series debuts, Olivier Pla and Quifel-ASM Team hoped to repeat their ...
A promising potential!
Setting the best lap in the LMP2 class, Olivier Pla led the class of the 1000Km of Spa before a GT hit his car.
After getting second place on Le Mans Series debuts, Olivier Pla and Quifel-ASM Team hoped to repeat their good result in the Belgian hills. The No.40 Ginetta-Zytek had surely the potential to do it, as Olivier's best race lap demonstrated it, but a race incident decided otherwise.
The practice session had started very well on Friday despite changing weather conditions. "We were very pleased with our basic set-up", said Olivier. "We noticed that the car could be efficient in wet or drying conditions." The next day, although the track was dry, the tests have been more difficult. "We had to work on the set-up", continued the driver from Toulouse. "The qualifying session turned into a real practice session, with hard tires so we were sure to double-stint during the race." The Portuguese team was able to post the fourth time. Promising...
The race start was also promising. Olivier indeed passed the pole-sitter Porsche at Turn 1 and was then second of the LMP2 class. After the first full-course caution, he put the pressure on the No.33 Lola and overtook before the Combes corner to take the lead of the class. "We had good, but very sportsmanlike fights with Xavier Pompidou and Manu Collard," reported Olivier.
"I was able to keep the lead until the second safety-car period, but an Audi made a mistake on the restart. A number of cars touched and a Ferrari crashed into the front of my car. There was nothing I could do..."
The Ginetta-Zytek could come back to the pits, but with a broken wheel and left front suspension. The 40 minutes needed to fix the car put an end to the hope of success, but Olivier Pla, then Miguel Amaral came back on track, determined to push as much as possible. As Olivier was the fastest driver on the track at that point, he is disappointed, but also has great promise: "The whole team is disappointed because the podium, maybe even a better result, was within our reach. Our Ginetta-Zytek was very competitive and the team did an excellent job. We could keep up with the Porsche or the Speedy/Sebah Lola's pace and they finished first and second. We missed a good opportunity to score good points for the championship, but on the other hands, the Porsche won't enter all the races left, several cars retired and we scored two points. The ranking is so very tight and everything is still open in the Le Mans Series. But now, let's focus on the 24 Hours of Le Mans!"
Olivier Pla and the Quifel-ASM Team Ginetta-Zytek will be testing for two days next week on the Algarve circuit to get ready for the round-the-clock race in Sarthe. In Portugal, the team will do tire tests with Dunlop.
"It will be interesting and instructive" concluded Olivier...