Strong first impression Carlo van Dam


Dutch racing driver Carlo van Dam and his team mates will tomorrow (Saturday) start from 32nd position (9th in the GT1-class) in the 61st Spa 24 Hours, after the Full Speed Racing-team for which he drives, completed only very few laps in the qualifying sessions held yesterday (Thursday) at the Belgian circuit. Since the Saleen S7R of the Austrian team first went out to qualify when it had just started to rain, competitive lap times could no longer be set on the wet track. During the handful of laps that Carlo did, however, he managed to make a strong first impression.

“I got to grips with the car pretty quickly”, Carlo says. “During free practice I only did three laps, but when I got out of the car I was in fifth place, so that wasn’t a bad start. The team, though, was plagued by electrical problems all day yesterday and the alternator and the battery failed several times. Consequently, the car couldn’t do more than two or three consecutive laps and so we spent a lot of time in the pits. At the start of the first qualifying session it was still dry and that was when the fastest times were recorded obviously. As our car went out by the time it started to rain, we will of course have to start from the back. I did the second qualifying session, when it was still raining. It went well, in the first sector of my first lap I was one second quicker than the fastest time in GT1 set in that session until that moment. At the end of that same lap, however, the battery went flat again. That was quite an interesting experience; all the lights going out just when I was heading for Blanchimont while it was dark and wet…”

Starting from the back will not be too big an obstacle given the duration of the race, but Carlo recognizes the importance of the Full Speed Racing-team solving the problems that occurred yesterday if it does not want to retire early in the race. “Yesterday we could do two, maybe three laps before things broke down again, so there must be something short-circuiting somewhere in the car. One battery even exploded. Fortunately, today there will be no running here, so the team has some time to locate and solve the problem. Lets hope we can sort it out, because in the wet we were quite quick, especially because Pirelli’s wet weather tyre seems to be working well.”

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