The Green Hell is synonymous with challenges that have spanned generations. So, when Sailesh Bolisetti sent me a copy of a press release after the practices sessions, I realized it was important to give you an update on how things are panning out in Nürburgring. Sailesh will of course share his experiences at this German circuit, but only after the race is done. The free practice sessions threw up new challenges. Sailesh and his teammate Phil Glew finished third in the timesheets in first practice. But practice two saw them topping their time.
The Lotus Sport UK team also celebrated the debut of their stunning black and gold livery – a part of the Lotus heritage. We have seen it often during F1 race weekends, on the Lotus Renault F1 cars driven by Kimi Raikkonen and Romain Grosjean.
However, it wasn’t a mere change of livery – the #48 chassis is an all-new affair, with Bolisetti and his teammate Phil Glew having taken the earlier #49 to two second-place finishes at the Indian’s debut outing in Oulton Park last month.
As a result, much of the first free practice session was spent in setting up a baseline for the new car, instead of chasing laptimes. The brakes and suspension were adjusted several times to get the best out of the car in terms of setup and control. “The brakes and suspension seemed different from the car I had used in the first round, so it took some time getting comfortable”, stated Sailesh.
This was also the first time Sailesh was getting a taste of the infamous GP circuit that has been extensively modified with different corner sequences for the British GT weekend. “I thought I’d know the track, playing games and so on, but the layout turned out to be something else entirely. Bits of it I could recall, but the flow of each corner into another was way off from what I remembered. So a couple of laps later, I just forgot about it and drove it like it was a brand-new circuit.”
The competition in the GT4 category has also upped its ante, with new entrants Mazda and BMW – a home race for the latter. The race has now become extremely fierce and is closely fought with the top 3 cars covered in just eight-tenths of a second (0.8seconds). Still, there is everything to play for.
“I knew this was going to be one of the toughest weekends of the season, given that we haven’t done any testing. But it has exceeded my expectations for now and we are looking forward to qualifying”, Sailesh said. The press release quoted his teammate Phil Glew as saying, “He is coping really well – I have raced here before and know the layout, but it is still a very challenging circuit. Sailesh has already shown a lot of improvement from last race and is posting competitive lap times, so I am feeling positive.”
Lotus Sport UK team manager Gary Ayles also said in the press release, “Going over the practice data, I think we have the quickest driver pairing overall so we should be fighting right at the front. It has been a smooth weekend till now so I’m hoping for the same comes qualifying and races.”
– From a press release issued by Sailesh Bolisetti