Qualification on Saturday morning produced a good result for Ellis, who would start that race in pos. 11. At driver changeover, it became apparent that the new soft “A” tyres were showing considerably more wear than expected, as a result, Dymond struggled with reduced traction together with slow traffic during the second half of qualification, consequently starting the second race towards the back of the grid in 34th.

With the newly homologated Jaguar XKRS set-up based on the 2008 season’s harder tyre compound, it was clear that the new softer tyres did not suit the 2009 car. The Apex Operations Director, John Christie, appealed to the FIA to use a harder compound tyre on grounds of driver safety, however the FIA decreed that the car must race on the same tyres as qualification.

The first race saw Ellis pick up a place on the opening lap, moving up to 9th position by the end of lap two. As the tyres began to lose grip, Ellis dropped to 10th, but remained in contention, and brought the car into the pits for driver changeover in 9th. Chris Dymond took the driver’s seat, and with the tyres showing considerable wear, had a challenging second half of the race, finishing 20th overall.

For the second race on Sunday, the team made the decision to substantially reduce tyre pressure in the compulsory super-soft “A” tyres. The tactic proved successful, with Dymond gaining 5 places from start to the point of driver changeover. Ellis took the wheel and had a tremendous 30 minute run, taking a further 10 places to bring the V8 Supercharged Jaguar across the line in 19th place.

Ellis commented; “This has been a really positive development weekend for the car, and we knew early on that we couldn’t do very much about the tyre compound and we had to treat these opening rounds as a test session. It’s impressive that the Apex Jaguar completed two full race distances without a technical glitch virtually straight out of the box.

“We had a good second race. We took a big gamble on the tyre pressures and the cooler air temperature certainly helped, but to make up 15 places in this series is no easy task.

“The car still needs the correct tyre compound before real progress can be made, so that the car set-up doesn’t have to be compromised to cope with the tyre degradation. Apex Motorsport can take a lot of positive development points away from this weekend as the Jaguar has shown real potential.”

Apex Operations Director, John Christie, commented “An excellent effort by the team considering where we were last week. The car, having had so little running, has shown great potential for Jaguar and Apex in the GT3 Championship. Many, many thanks to all involved for helping us get this far.


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