Chang International hosted the second round of the GT1/GT4 championship, I spoke with the drivers of the GT4 podium after the race.
First up, double winner and championship leader, Damien Laurent:
DB - 2 out 2 wins Damien, that is a great way to start the championship! Do you think the field are starting to narrow the gap to you?
DL - I think so, the time gaps in qualification were smaller than in the round 1.
DB - In a race like Chang where you finished 32 seconds ahead of Jim, what do you do to maintain concentration, especially in a multi-class race?
DL - It's not easy to maintain concentration for 75 minutes, sometimes I lose it but the multi-class create constant action that keep me alive.
DB - Do you think you will be able to make it 3 out of 3? Who do you think will post the biggest threat to yourself?
DL - It looks like David Dhoore is improving his pace with the Cayman so I think we could have some battles in the next races, Jim Britton is also a potential threat but it looks like the KTM lacks a bit of power on tracks with much straight lines, the Nordschleife race in round 5 could change this.
Next, flying the flag for KTM, Jim Britton:
DB - Congratulations Jim, that 2nd place was impressive given the general consensus that the KTM isn't the fastest GT4 car out there. Were you on the limit or did you have more up your sleeve if you needed it?
JB - That 2nd place was bloody hard work. The car is good - it handles brilliantly and is predictable and progressive at the limit so it's (relatively) easy to drive it very hard - if you overstep the mark it'll slide around but won't try to kill you. There's no doubting it's a bit down on power and slightly slower overall than the Porsche but the handling makes up for this - I can drive many laps at or close to the limit without stuffing it in the wall. So on balance it's probably quite even and Damo's 30second+ margin out front is all down to his awesome pace.
David (Dhoore) also kept me on my toes all race at Chang - he was constantly snapping at my heels, making every corner exit really really important so that helped the overall pace too.
To answer your question, no, I had absolutely nothing up my sleeve - I couldn't have driven any faster and was a stinking sweaty mess by the end of the race.
DB - According to the stats, you have taken part in 183 races, scored 32 wins, 16 2nd place finishes, 20 3rd place finishes and have an impressive 3 drivers titles (all of which were in the same season of racing!). I think the question we all want to have answered is what on earth do you have for your breakfast that makes you so quick?! On a serious note, what drives you to keep going? No, there was no pun intended there!
JB - So what's my secret? Well, truth be told, the pace of the RRL front-runners has been steadily increasing since those heady days of my 3 driver championships. And my pace has remained about the same. So if you're looking for tips on how to be an awesome driver I suggest you might have more luck elsewhere. As for breakfast, James Hunt was absolutely correct - there's only one "breakfast of champions".
I keep at it because it's a laugh, it's a thrill, and I just love the competition all the way through the field. It's also great to have a grid filled with real personalities, and this is reflected in the racing. You get to know the racing style of the other drivers and can plan your racing accordingly. This adds a huge amount to the immersion.
DB - What aspect of racing do you enjoy the most?
As for what aspect I enjoy the most, the build-up is pretty awesome. The gradual building-up of the butterflies in the stomach as the event draws nearer, up to the peak as you sit on the grid waiting for the lights (or trundle round on the formation lap). Then that mad dash to the first corner where you need eyes in the back of your head is just such a massive buzz. I love it
David Dhoore, who pushed Jim throughout the race, finally finishing 3rd, spoke with me next:
DB - Congratulations on your 3rd place finish David! You are sitting 2nd in the championship and 14 points from Damien, do you think you can turn the tide at Hockenheim and stop Damien's winning run?
I will certainly try and do my best Daniel , I think I was a bit closer to Damien's pace on Chang then I was on the Ring , but had some unfortunate incidents in the race on Chang so couldn't test if I could compete with Damien. I also think that the KTM will be stronger on Hockenheim than on the previous races
DB - What class is your favourite to race? What would you like to see at RRLeagues in the future (cars/format)?
Its no secret that I love touring car action but I also really enjoy modern DTM too. For wishes on series in the future I don't think there is something I could wish, as we had so many awesome series in the past . If I had to choose I would like a rerun of S19 the summer slam, it's always nice to drive the not so popular content in R3E, especially with their latest released content.
DB - Do you feel that you have become a better driver whilst racing at RRLeagues? If so, what do you think you have improved at/in the most?
Yes I am definitely improved since I joined RRLeagues. I remember my first race for S7 DTM on Moscow and my fastest lap was a 32.7. Some time ago I raced on the same track for fun and I was lapping 30s easily. This season I am struggling a bit with consistency where I have good races and I have races where I am nowhere and utterly slow so that's something I need to work on. For next season I will have a small break and only sign up for 1 or maybe 2 series (yeah right ) because I can use a break after 146 races in 19 months
Once again, congratulations to all and good luck to all drivers for this evening!
For the GT1 interviews, please see http://rrleagues.com/forum/index.ph...tional-gt1-driver-interviews.1168/#post-13869