Sailesh tops practice session at British GT

Sailesh tops practice session at British GT

Indian driver Sailesh Bolisetti, driving a Lotus Evora, enjoyed a competitive start to his second ever British GT outing here Thursday as he finished third in the time-sheets in first practice before topping the chart in the second practice session.

The Lotus Sport UK team also celebrated debut of the stunning black and gold livery - a part of the Lotus heritage for decades as seen on the Lotus Renault F1 cars driven by Kimi Raikkonen and Romain Grosjean.

However, it wasn’t a mere change of livery, but also the chassis that replaced the one that Bolisetti and team-mate Phil Glew had taken to two second place finishes in the first round at Oulton Park, England, last month where the Vizag lad made his debut.

As a result, much of the first free practice session was spent in setting up a baseline for the new car, instead of chasing lap times. The brakes and suspension were adjusted several times to get the best out of the car in terms of setup and control.

“The brakes and suspension seemed different from the car I had used in the first round, so it took some time getting comfortable,” said Bolisetti.

In addition to a new car, Bolisetti also had to cope with an all new circuit as the GP track has been extensively modified with different corner sequences for the British GT weekend.

“I thought I had known the track, playing games and so on but the layout turned out to be something else entirely. Bits of it I could recall, but the flow of each corner into another was way off what I remembered. So a couple of laps later, I just forgot about it and drove it like it was a brand-new circuit,” he added.

With additional entries from Mazda and BMW - a home race for the latter - the competition in the GT4 category is extremely fierce and closely fought with the top three cars covered in just eight-tenths of a second.

“I knew this was going to be one of the toughest weekends of the season, given that we haven’t done any testing. But it has exceeded my expectations for now and we are looking forward to qualifying,” said Bolisetti.

Lotus Sport UK team manager Gary Ayles added: “Going over the practice data, I think we have the quickest driver pairing overall. So we should be fighting right at the front. It has been a smooth weekend till now so I’m hoping for the same comes qualifying and races.”

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