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6 May  2012

Lotus LMP2 at the Six Hours of Spa

#31 Thomas Holzer (GER) – Mirco Schultis (GER) – Renger van der Zande (NED)
#32 Luca Moro (ITA) – Kevin Weeda (USA) – James Rossiter (GBR)

Day 1 - 3 May 2012

Practice 1
#32 Position 14 (overall) Position 6 (LMP2) Lap time 2:11.340 (Rossiter)
#31 Position 26 (overall) Position 16 (LMP2) Lap time 2:16.779 (Holzer)

Practice 2
#31 Position 10 (overall) Position 2 (LMP2) Lap time 2:10.407 (v. d. Zande)
#32 Position 26 (overall) Position 16 (LMP2) Lap time 2:18.559 (Moro)

At the first day of the second round of the FIA World Endurance Championship, Lotus run with two cars for the very first time. The event is the first of three European races and the rehearsal for the legendary 24 Hours of Le Mans.
Both cars could do many laps and were running trouble free. Lotus showed a good performance being second in LMP2 class at the second practice session.

Renger van der Zande, Race Driver #31:
“I am happy to drive for Lotus and I am very looking forward to being at the wheel of the Lotus LMP2. It was good for me today to get some valuable mileage and to get used to the car. It is a great result being second in LMP2 class and nice to see that we have a competitive car. We will now go through the data and work on the setup for the next sessions, I am sure there is more to come. I hope that we will have a good result here and we are working hard for that.”

James Rossiter, Race Driver #32:
“It was a good first day for us and we could learn a lot for the race on Saturday. We fulfilled our program and got a lot of data during both sessions. The weather is quite unpredictable in the Ardennes and it can start to rain here any minute so we have to be prepared for all conditions. I can’t wait to race for Lotus at the 6 Hours of Spa and we are working hard to have a good result.”

Day 2 - 4 May 2012

Practice 3
#32 Position 3 (LMP2) Position 12 (Overall) Lap time 2:10.168 (Rossiter)
#31 Position 15 (LMP2) Position 25 (Overall) Lap time 2:16.574 (Schultis)

#32 Position 2 (LMP2) Position 12 (Overall) Lap time 2:09.34 (Rossiter)
#31 Position 5 (LMP2) Position 15 (Overall) Lap time 2:10.120 (v. d. Zande)

Lotus kept on improving at today’s third practice session and qualifying at the 6 hours of Spa.

James Rossiter qualified the Lotus LMP2 car #32 in the front row of the LMP2 class, just four hundredths behind pole position. Renger van der Zande in car #31 will start from position five.

This is a phantastic result for Lotus at its only second race in sports car racing.

The 6 hours of Spa will start tomorrow at 2:30 pm.

Renger van der Zande, Race Driver #31:
“We can be happy with P5 in qualifying. With a bit more track time this morning we could have improved, there is room for more progression of the car and driving. I am happy now and let’s see what we can do tomorrow. I will be starting the race for Lotus and with 42 cars it will be interesting to see what happens at the first hairpin. I will try to stay out of trouble and do a good race.”

James Rossiter, Race Driver #32:
“We had a great qualifying session and the car was set up perfectly. It is great to be on the front row with Lotus. We did a lot of hard work and it was worth it. I hope that we will have a great race tomorrow and I can’t wait for the start. Being in the front row is a real bonus for us especially at the start of the race. Six hours can be long so we will see what happens.”

Day 3 - 5 May 2012

#32 Position 11 (LMP2)
#31 Did not finish

Lotus has experienced highs and lows during the 6 Hours of Spa.

After an engine change, car #32 got a penalty which meant that James Rossiter had to start from the pit lane with one lap down. Especially after the great result in yesterday’s qualifying this was a real shame for the team. Rossiter made his way through the field and went up to 6th position in LMP2 class. However, the Lotus LMP2 #32 needed to be repaired after an accident and lost some positions. The car finished the race in position 11 of the LMP2s.

Car #31 was 5th in between but did not finish the race after a crash one hour before the end.

Lotus has shown a good performance all over the weekend and has proved that the team is competitive. The crew has learned a lot from the incidents during the race. The team managed these situations very well and repaired the damages very quick.

Renger van der Zande, Race Driver #31:
“It is a real shame that we could not finish the race. Being hit from behind is hard to prevent. The pace was very good until then. There is still some improvement on all areas but the base is there. It was a weekend to learn from for the next races.”

James Rossiter, Race Driver #32:
“It is a real shame that we had to start from the pit lane and were one lap down already from the start on after the engine change. We tried to stay out as long as possible, so I did three stints in order to gain some positions. We managed to unlap ourselves again and were in 6th position. It was a good run for us. Unfortunately, we couldn’t show our potential after we got the penalty, but we learned a lot as a team and I am sure that we will have a great future.”