FORMULA ONE – SINGAPORE GRAND PRIX
It was a trying weekend for Lotus Renault GP who failed to build on recent points-scoring finishes and, on this occasion, never threatened the top ten. The R31 struggled with traction, high tire degradation and disappointing outright pace, which had also been the case in Monaco and Hungary – circuits with similar characteristics to Singapore.
Vitaly Petrov could do no better than qualify 18th while Bruno Senna put in a heroic lap to get into Q2 and secure 15th.
In the race there was little improvement on these positions. Vitaly had a KERS problem which cost him lap time and made overtaking and defending all the more difficult. He finished 17th.
Bruno, meanwhile, made a good start but, having just pitted on lap 10, made a mistake into the hairpin, locked up, and hit the barrier. He pitted for a new front wing, by which time he was down to last place. He fought doggedly to climb back up the field and crossed the line where he started, in 15th.
“My first lap was very good but then we suffered from some very high tire degradation. Then when I came to the hairpin I hit the wall. This made my race very, very complicated firstly because of the time lost there and secondly because of the extra pitstop. It could have been a much better race for us, but we did what we could and we will now start to think about Japan, where hopefully we can bring out more potential from the R31.”
"Today we had a race to forget. First of all I had KERS problems shortly after the start, which cost me a few tenths each lap and made it difficult to overtake. Then, the tires started to behave poorly. As cars came to lap me, I was forced to slow and this caused the tire pressures to drop severely. We haven’t performed at our usual level today, but the final five venues are all places where the R31 should perform better.”
BRITISH GT CHAMPIONSHIP – DONINGTON PARK
Lotus Sport UK was triumphant in Round 9 of the British GT Championship, with the red, white and gold No.48 Evora winning the GT4 category from pole position. It was the first class pole for the team.
Touring Car regulars Phil Glew and James Nash lapped Donington Park 100 times during the three hour endurance race, which started in wet and tricky conditions. No.48 incurred a stop-go penalty late in the day after speeding at the exit of the pitlane, but the car was already a lap ahead of the competition. Other than a faulty pitlane limiter, the car ran reliably. It was the perfect GT debut for 25-year-old Nash, who is currently fifth in the BTCC standings. They finished a lap ahead of the second-placed No.42 Ginetta of Josh Wakefield and Jake Rattenbury, and even took the fight to a number of the faster GT3 cars which failed to match the Evora GT4’s grip in the wet.
The sister No.49 car of Freddy Nordström and Leyton Clarke qualified fourth. The junior pair were hunting down third when, 25 laps from the end, the car suffered a drive shaft failure.
“It was a fairly straightforward race. We got a good start, we had great pace in the wet and pulled a massive lead, and we kept that lead pretty much all through the race. We had a scary moment towards the end with the stop-go penalty, but we had a big lead so it didn’t matter too much. James and I got on really well, we have a good team around us, and it’s been a great weekend.”
Gary Ayles, team manager:
“The boys drove a blinder and the cars were brilliant. Apart from the pitlane speeding it was an absolutely faultless weekend for Evora 48, and fantastic to claim another victory and our first pole of the year. Phil and James actually had to run an extra 25kg of ballast to get us above the driver pairing minimum weight, but it didn’t slow either of them down. Today it’s my birthday, and this is the perfect present.”
Claudio Berro, Group Lotus director of motorsport:
“Lotus Renault GP will be taking important upgrades to Japan and these, as well as the remaining five tracks on the calendar, should produce more satisfactory results for the R31. And while F1 was racing into the darkness in Singapore, our Lotus Sport UK team was braving the daytime conditions at Donington. A dominant victory in the GT4 category from pole position is something Group Lotus and Lotus Sport UK can be very proud of. It was a brilliant demonstration of our Evora’s abilities, and we’re thrilled with the result. Happy birthday Gary!”