A misty adventure for Yelmer in Baku
Yelmer had no chance putting his stance on his sprint-race. Having started fifth he finished eighth after a smoky race through the streets of the Azerbeidzjan capitol.
In fact the misery already started during qualification. By the time Yelmer had warmed up his tyres on the 1.3 mile contemporary race track his cockpit was filled with a weird sort of smell. Instead of putting a few fast laps on the clocks he had to return to the pits. There the team discovered that the exhaust hit the chassis causing the paint melting. The team sent him out again but by then his tyres were over their top, resulting in a disappointing fifth time. “It’s a shame because I am sure I would have ended up on the front row”, Yelmer later explained.
After the qualification sessions the team put new parts on the car. But as soon as Yelmer started his warm-up laps for the race the cockpit filled with an annoying smoke, coming from the new exhaust. As a precaution the team already had taken the right window out but that was not sufficient. “I’ve driven the two warm-up laps with my door open. I had to hold the door with one hand so I couldn’t warm-up my car properly. And it also disturbs your concentration. The first four laps were lousy with a lot of smoke and bad smells. Thereafter it was better”, Yelmer told afterwards. Meanwhile he had lost two places in the process. One to four times DTM champion Bernd Schneider who drove a very wide line, almost collecting Yelmer at the inside of a turn. Yelmer had to give way. “I haven’t seen him coming. Suddenly he was there. I was wondering whether he came from outside the track or so. Anyway I was still too much struggling with the smoke and the car”.
The second sprint race was stopped due to a few crashes. Overtaking proved to be very difficult on the narrow street circuit, turning the races into a rather dull procession, compared to the regular FIA GT1 Championship races. The 60 minutes main race with compulsory pit-stop is scheduled at 12.10 hrs (UK time) tomorrow. It can be seen live on the internet at http://www.citychallenge.com/baku/live-streaming
1. Frédéric Makowiecki - McLaren MP4-12C 28 laps
2. Sean Edwards - Porsche 911 at 1.288
3. Rob Bell - McLaren MP4-12C at 11.842
4. Mathias Lauda - BMW Z4 at 12.836
5. Bernd Schneider – Mercedes SLS at 13.207
6. Mike Parisy – Mercedes SLS at 15.429
7. Greg Franchi – Ferrari 458 at 16.368
8. Yelmer – BMW Z4 at 17.734