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Friday 6th May 2016, 19:54

Unusually warm and sunny weather set the scene at Spa for the weekend’s WEC 6 hours of Spa-Francorchamps.  The race marks the second round of the FIA’s World Endurance Championship and as at Silverstone, Manor Endurance Racing is running its two Oreca 05 chassis.

Both cars ran well and completed a full programme in Free Practice 1 and 2 yesterday and Free Practice 3 today, giving all six drivers the opportunity to get to grips with an LMP2 car on this classic circuit.

The two silver drivers, Tor Graves and Matt Rao always take part in qualifying, and for today’s session, Will Stevens and Roberto Merhi shared the responsibility of setting an average lap time.

Car 45 was classified third in the qualifying session, Car 44 was fifth.

John Booth, Team Principal
“I’m very happy to be P3 and P5, although it could have been even better if we hadn’t had problems with traffic. It’s a clear sign that the team is improving and working well together. Spa is not an easy circuit to find an optimum setup and it’s very encouraging to have both cars well up the grid. Our long run testing on full fuel indicates that we are well prepared for the race and tomorrow we’ll be looking to carry on learning, as we did at Silverstone and focusing on continually improving.”

Roberto Merhi, Driver Car 45
“It was a good qualifying, I think the track got a little better during the session and ending up with P3 is very positive. All three drivers are setting quick times so maybe we have a shot at the podium tomorrow. Matt did a great job with his lap and the whole crew is working well together.”

Matt Rao, Driver Car 45
“Personally I’m happy with P3. Today we’ve shown good  pace both on low fuel and on the longer runs earlier. I’m a little disappointed, I think the red flag bunched everyone up again so I wasn’t sure whether to push on the out lap or back off. Roberto did a fantastic job though,  as did the whole team and I think that P3 is more where we belong.”

Will Stevens, Driver Car 44
“I am a bit disappointed personally as I was on a really good lap, especially as it was on mediums, and lost a lot of time with the Kolles car in the last corner, a massive amount. Overall though P5 is a good place to start and our strategy looks good for the race. We can definitely do a good job starting from where we are.”

Tor Graves, Driver Car 44
“My lap wasn’t great, it was my first using the soft tyres and I would have liked a few more laps. On my best lap I made two or three mistakes and I found the balance moving and I kept getting understeer. I should have been in the 2:08s. The car should be strong for the race though, we are not far off.” 

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