FFSA GT Corvette Racing - Dijon Malaise

After A Promising Start In FFSA GT, The Corvette Contingent Comes Up Short in Rounds Three And Four

Andrew Jewitt Dec 26, 2006 0 Comment(s)
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Thierry Soave and Eric Cayrolle drove the SRT C5-R to a Fifth-Place finish in Race One at Dijon.

After their successful weekend at Ledenon, the FFSA Corvette teams had every reason to be optimistic when they arrived at the historic French track of Dijon-Prenois. Yet, despite tremendous promise, the weekend could really only be described as one of opportunities lost.

Strong stints by David Hallyday and Pertti Kuismanen in Race One saw the PSI Exprience C5-R and C6.R running in the top five, and with the Oreca Saleen S7R far back in the pack, things were looking good. Slick pit work then put the C5-R out in front with Phillipe Alliot at the wheel, though Markus Palttala, who rejoined in fifth, could not repeat the feat in the C6.R.

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An errant backmarker then caused enough damage to put Alliot out of the race, and while this promoted Palttala to fourth, Soheil Ayari was now second in a Saleen. When a late safety-car period closed the field, Ayari took little time to bolt to the front and take the win. Fortunately, an outstanding last-lap overtaking maneuver by Palttala gave the PSI team the final podium spot and something to cheer about.

If the first race was frustrating, Race Two was unbelievably so. Palttala led for the first 20 minutes, with Ayari in second and the other PSI Vette in third. When the safety car appeared just prior to the driver changes, the Oreca team reacted immediately and brought in Ayari. The PSI team waited for a lap longer, and the race was lost. Hallyday did his best to salvage the situation, and a mighty drive through the field netted him Second place, just three seconds behind the winning S7R.

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The next round, at Val de Vienne, brought yet more frustration. Front-row grid spots for PSI in the first race were wasted when Hallyday took teammate Kuismanen out of the lead. Phillipe Alliot, keen to make up lost time after running off track, pulled an audacious last-lap overtake on the SRT C5-R piloted by Christophe Bouchut. When Bouchut resisted, the resulting contact led to an equally physical confrontation in the pits.

The misery was compounded in Race Two. Damage to the SRT car prevented it from starting, and Alliot crashed the PSI C5-R on the formation lap. Could it get worse? Yep. Palttala crashed on Lap Two to cap a disastrous weekend for the Vettes. A change of luck will be needed before the next round at Albi.

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