Ecurie Ecosse: Solid qualifying on international return at Spa

Friday, July 29, 2011

Legendary Scottish racing team Ecurie Ecosse has made its sportscar return at iconic Belgian circuit Spa-Francorchamps, enjoying an encouraging qualifying session for tomorrow’s Total 24 Hours of Spa.

Contesting the event in conjunction with Aston Martin Racing Partner Team Barwell Motorsport, drivers Alasdair McCaig, Andrew Smith, Joe Twyman and Oliver Bryant quickly acclimatised the updated GT3-spec DBRS9, which bares the iconic Saltire livery first made famous by Ecurie Ecosse’s Le Mans 24 Hours triumphs of 1956 and 1957.

Faced with the sort of challenging weather conditions the Belgian venue is notorious for, the team took a satisfying mid-pack qualifying result, claiming 15th in class and 31st overall on the 62-car grid, ahead of several big name teams and drivers. Ollie Bryant was the man to set the time, keeping his cool with a slick-shod car on a damp circuit.

With dry running forecast for this weekend’s twice-around-the-clock event Ecurie Ecosse have high hopes of scoring a strong result, with Avon’s slick tyres proving extremely durable so far. But, with 24 hours of racing still ahead of them, the team is naturally focused on running at a solid pace and bringing the car home.

Hugh McCaig, Team Boss: “We're pleased with what’s been achieved today. To be ahead of all three McLaren cars and in such difficult conditions is very satisfying. We've taken a measured approach through practice, and the drivers have adjusted well to the car. Tomorrow it's a case of keeping it on the black stuff, being sensible and getting to the flag.”

Alastair McCaig: “First of all, it's great to be here and to be racing in the Ecurie Ecosse colours – there’s a real sense of pride throughout the team. On track, everyone has settled in to the car and coped well with driving in the dark and in wet, misty conditions, so there's a lot to be positive about. Whatever the weather brings we'll aim to settle into a rhythm, work our way up the order and run a steady race.”

Joe Twyman: “It's fair to say that the conditions have been a challenge but the tyres worked well on a damp track and Ollie pulled out a great final lap late in qualifying. The level of interest in Ecurie Ecosse's return has been amazing - we've been adding sponsorship to the car since we arrived at the circuit! I hope we can repay everyone’s hard work and support with a good result on Sunday.”​

Ollie Bryant: “Finding a rhythm was difficult as the red flags made the session very stop-start. At the end I had just one lap to improve but had to play it relatively safe on the slick tyres as the track was still damp. There’s a lot more time in the car, but I’m still very pleased with the effort we put in today. I will be starting the race tomorrow, and with drier conditions I believe we can make real progress.”

Andrew Smith: “It's fantastic to be here and competing after the effort that’s gone in to getting the team on track. The weather has been a challenge, but we've coped well even when the going has been very rough. The car is in great shape, particularly for dry conditions, and I can't wait to get my stint underway tomorrow.”

This year’s Total 24 Hours of Spa will be broadcast live on Motors TV across Europe throughout the weekend of July 30/31 (check local listings for times), while will also provide live commentary of every session from the event.
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