On May 3, qualifying session took place on the Belgian Spa-Francorchamps circuit before the seventh round of the World Endurance Championship. The SMP Racing squad No. 11 (Sergey Sirotkin, Egor Orudzhev, Stefan Sarrazin) showed the third result, the BR1 (Vitaly Petrov, Mikhail Aleshin, Stoffel Vandoorne) took the fifth position.
According to the championship rules, two drivers from each squad are supposed to drive during qualifying: Stoffel Vandoorne and Vitaly Petrov (car No. 11), Sergey Sirotkin and Egor Orudzhev (No. 17). The best time of the Belgian was 1: 56.322, which allowed the squad to take the sixth position in the general classification of LMP prototypes. Russian Sergey Sirotkin showed the result of 1: 55.119, which moved the crew to the third position.
Vitaly Petrov and Egor Orudzhev, who took over their teammates, improved the lap times for each of the BR1 sport prototypes. The result of prototype No. 17 was 1: 54.711 that allowed the squad to take the third place with just 0.9 seconds gap two Toyota cars. Car No.11 showed a time of 1: 56.018, moved up one position higher and will start the race from fifth place.
“We had a good qualifying session and it was my first first qualifying in the World Endurance Championship,” Sergey Sirotkin said. “Under such weather conditions we showed a good result andtomorrow we will start from the third position. I have to admit, we don’t have enough pace now to beat Toyota, although step by step we come closer to their cars. We have achieved great results today and we are pleased with it.”
“We expected that Toyota would not let us relax in qualifying, although the first two positions in the first sessions gave us additional confidence,” Vitaly Petrov commented. “In general, the weekend goes without any problem, the car behaves well. Since Stoffel drives the car for the first time, the team decided to give him more time to drive during sessions and he had a chance to try new tires. I personally used new tires only during the qualifying session and I am satisfied with the lap – I drove it without fail, showed a good time. The weather forecast for tomorrow is not great, it might be even snowing, so it have been much better to start third or fourth, but we will try to move up to the positions right behind Toyota. I think tomorrow we are waiting for one of the most unpredictable and difficult days of the weekend, mostly, because of the weather.”
The 6 hours of Spa-Francorchamps starts at 14:30 Moscow time.
Source. SMP Racing