Ginetta: Challenging for pole ‘ultimate target’ in Bahrain12/12/2019
Charlie Robertson says scoring a first FIA World Endurance Championship pole position is the “ultimate target” for Ginetta in this weekend’s 8 Hours of Bahrain.
The new-for-2019/20 success handicap system has placed Ginetta in a favourable position compared to its LMP1 rivals Toyota and Rebellion, which are both heavily penalised in Bahrain.
The Rebellion R-13’s performance has been pegged back by 1.36s following its maiden on-the-road victory in Shanghai, while the #7 Toyota has been hit with a 2.51s penalty and the #8 TS050 Hybrid has been slowed down by 2.72s.
By comparison, the #5 Ginetta G60-LT-P1 has only received a handicap equivalent to 0.024s, while the sister Team LNT-run car is running no ballast at all – courtesy of being the last-placed LMP1 car.
Robertson and his Ginetta teammates Ben Hanley and Jordan King topped the first practice in Bahrain on Thursday, before finishing second to the sole Rebellion R-13 in FP2.
Robertson, who said last month that Ginetta can target a “big result” in Bahrain, believes the pace his squad has shown in practice makes it a prime contender for pole in Friday’s qualifying.
“In Shanghai we showed some really really strong pace for our both cars,” Robertson said after first practice. “Ben and I were straight away at the front in the opening stint.
“We learned a lot about what it takes to lead a race there and obviously learnt how managing tyres because in the second stint Toyota came back to us.
“So we are now looking now to keep the tyres in a better window and we know that here in Bahrain the thermal degradation is harder as well.
“I think we’ve come with a real chance of strong result this weekend and challenging for pole in qualifying is our ultimate target.”
#1 Rebellion Racing Rebellion R-13 – Gibson: Bruno Senna, Gustavo Menezes, Norman Nato
Photo by: Rebellion Racing
Despite Rebellion being slowed down by more than a second compared to the two Ginettas, Gustavo Menezes remains upbeat about the Swiss squad’s prospects in Bahrain, particularly with Toyota unlikely to feature in the fight.
“Yeah, obviously I think Shanghai was a bit special,” Menezes said. “Regardless, I think we can finally see the success handicap coming into play. And I think it’s important for the championship as well as for us to have motivation and to see that there is a possibility to fight.
“Leaving Shanghai and coming into Bahrain obviously, it’s a different circuit first of all. So already the characteristics of the circuit suits the car differently.
“And obviously the success handicap we can feel it immediately, shifting the balance of the car as well.
“We are still trying to apprehend how we can kind of get the car exactly where we want to be.
“But I think it’s going to be an interesting race. Just looking at it with the stats and where the EoT and success handicap should be I think the boys right here on the right [Ginetta] should be quite strong but we’ll do everything we can to have a strong race.”
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