This year, the Ferrari 458 Italia #333 Rinaldi team was among the five vehicles with the Russian representation in the race “24 hours Spa”. The crew team Vadim Koga in the race were the Rinat Salikhov, Marco Sifrid, Norberg Zidler and Step Vancampenhout.
His impressions of the race in which the crew Rinaldi finished in seventh place in its class, with shared Rinat Salikhov, who won earlier this season together with Norbert Zidler victory in the first round of the Blancpain Endurance in Monza, beating about 60 crews.
Rinat, share their main impressions of the race “24 hours of Spa”…
Rinat Salihov: Already after the race and having finished, I can say that I had a whole different thought. This race required a different attitude, other efforts. But now I’m glad we just finished the race, albeit not on the best position, although with glasses. Attitude, of course, very important. This is my first finish in 24 hours, I am happy and very satisfied.
During the race I had changed her perception. At first I thought it will be very easy. But I absolutely did not sleep, would not sleep, was very excited. And already the first cut showed that I have no strength, and that I was not ready. Should be quite different to prepare, otherwise tune.
How to prepare for a race like this?
R. S.: I think that I needed much more sleep than four hours before the race. I had to sleep in the evening, while the boys rode in a challenging environment. Feature 24-hour race is that you can call cut at any time. I was not ready for this, but, thank God, I already passed, and now I know how to handle it. In the 24-hour race, whether you’re a pilot or a mechanic, you should always be ready.
There was a situation, when you suddenly called for a cut?
R. S.:Yes, my first cut just as it began. I have been informed that I need to get in the car in literally two minutes. Good thing I was already dressed, but I expected that going in an hour. And they put me in two minutes.
Why did this happen? After all, the first part of the race usually have a plan of who goes when…
R. S.:Yes, there’s a plan, but early in the race, a lot of things changed, we decided to do double cuts, Marco (Sigrid) and Norbert (Zidler) went on two segments in a row. According to the rules the pilot must drive into the pits every 65 minutes, that’s the rules. A few teams got a penalty for failure to comply with this rule. Here are there cars of different brands, they all have different flow rates, someone could be on the road longer and thus the organizers call this moment.
The pilot could go three lines in a row. And then you need at least one hour to give the car to someone from the partners. Note that every 65 minutes, you wouldn’t have to drive through the pit lane, but must be refueled.
What was for you the most difficult?
R. S.:I got It on Sunday morning. Despite the fact that at this point, we have already passed more than half of the race, there was a feeling that it will never end and that we need to pass many more. The remainder was seen as something infinite.
Was precisely such feelings. I first reached the mark in the race, and to be honest, even to the end I could not believe that we will get to the finish line. We had car trouble, in the end we lost the clutch after the finish.
Of course, passions are very large in this race, because even the factory pilots sometimes make utter stupidity that was evident in the broadcast. In this race it is very difficult to tune it psychologically.
That is, if you’re used to such races, or are you very quiet man by nature, then they will be easy going, but I, as a pilot who is used to speaking in short races, was not easy. Even the daily three-hour race after the marathon is perceived as short.
You like to participate in the daily marathon?
R. S.:It is a wonderful experience, I am thrilled that we finished, even though that showed not the result we wanted. In addition, we finished in the points in his class, where in seventh place.
As I said, in this race there is a sense of infinity. At some point you just lose sense of reality, and realize that now you sit and go. When finishing the cut, you can sleep, eat, or just lie down, you can watch the race, and then again you sit behind the wheel and it is an endless process. But it has some of its joy.
I’m so grateful to the team for the fact that I was given the opportunity to drive honorable extreme cut, for me it was very important. It was very nice to finish the race. We were greeted by the marshals working the race 24 hours. They welcomed all who came to the finish – the finish reached only half of the peleton.
When you spend cut, you just concentrate on the flying and the track?
R. S.:In the daily marathon consists of trifles, including pit stops and replacement pilots. So you need to monitor everything. And being in the pits, resting, I tried not to think about riding. But it was hard, I was even hard to talk to friends, start very badly to perceive it. I tried to keep in the mind the empty space, because all of the prevents and begins to strain.
What do you remember of owned events on the track during your periods?
R. S.:we’ve had two incidents with other cars, in one of these episodes the car was damaged, and did manage not that specific, and dangerous. At the exit of fast turns, the car begins to slide, and this introduced the specifics of the piloting.
I was accustomed to, and only to the extreme cut I was able to catch the rhythm and feeling. Only your fourth hour I went more or less normally. I, of course, lost a lot, driving carefully, trying just to get there.
What can you say about the work of your team on this race?
R. S.:We are a young team, and of course that sometimes we have a small disadvantages. But I can say that we’ve worked in the technology, in terms of replacements pilots. We have some difficulties, but it is only a question of long work, the work within the team and with each other.
I’ve never seen such a support in our team. I wanted to drive it in our team, and at the time, Vadim S. (kogai) I was very quickly convinced of this. When he invited me to go with them one race, I felt a warm attitude within the team. This, of course, determines a lot.
What are your future plans?
R. S.:We will continue, we have a huge amount of plans, but we will tell about them later. This year we have three races of the Blancpain Sprint series and one race of the Blancpain Endurance series, which will be held at the nürburgring in late September. Unfortunately, it’s not coming with us Marco Sigrid, as he will be performing this weekend in the race series, WEC (in Austin), so we will go together with Norbert.
We have not yet decided whether we will go in the category Pro-Am or Pro. This year there is a three-hour race, and it is good that six-hour distance moved to Paul Ricard, which allowed all the teams to prepare for the “24 hours Spa”. At the Nurburgring, depending on the class, I’d have to drive two hours or one. But as shown today, I quickly recovered and ready to travel a lot.
We had a very successful race in Monza, where it all came together perfectly. It was probably a one in a million. To win a stage of the Blancpain series at Monza in an Italian car is very honorable. But we look forward. This year we had a series of failures that we sometimes angry, upset and frustrated. In Motorsport, like any other sport, need fortune and good luck.
Of course, there are situations that cannot be avoided, but we are looking forward, and even the current leaders of the championship at all always well formed, that proved the race. Whatever the pilots, whatever the support team, all happens. Motorsport is a very passionate sport, and this is its charm.
Rinat Salikhov, Norbert Zidler, Marco Sigrid and Step Vancampenhout
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