Sean Edwards arrived in Valencia with high hopes of a good result. The Konrad team had been somewhat been re shuffled, with Jan Seyffarth going to Tolimit and being replaced by Jiri Janak in the number 23 Konrad machine.
The test session didn’t go well for Sean, as while he was running his brake pads in, there was a problem with the front suspension. He came in, but the team could not fix it in time and they missed the whole session. “It’s very unfortunate, as the track is very different to drive on the Michelin tyres and ceramic brakes and they have changed the track a bit since last time, so we are on the back foot already.” Sean said after testing.
Qualifying being forty five minutes, the team decided to use the first thirty minutes as a test session, to get the car and driver on the pace. This worked well and the car was perfectly setup for the second set of new tyres. Bleekemolen was on provisional Pole Position and already out of his car waiting to see if anyone would beat his time. Konrad sent Sean out with eight minutes to go, with the notion of full attack. He then set about a blistering lap, to secure Pole Position by only 0.004 from Jeroen Bleekemolen, with three minutes of the session to go, much to Bleekemolen’s suprise! Third was Stephan Rosina just 0.046 behind pole and Damian Faulkner was fourth, just 0.052 behind pole! It has to have been the closest qualifying in the Supercup’s history.
On the in lap to the pits, disaster struck when Sean’s car ran out of fuel. Under Supercup rules, there has to be a minimum of 2 Litres left in the car at the end of each session, so that they can analyze it. The team set about removing the fuel tank and every last drop they could find in the car, but it was to no avail, there was only 1 Litre in the car. The same problem for Sean’s new team mate, Jiri Janak, he qualified in 20th and ran out of fuel too. It was a disaster for the team, with the stewards ruling both cars to be stricken of all their lap times and start at the back of the grid! Somewhere along the line, there was a slight miscalculation on the fuel consumption and with the different temperatures between the days, qualifying used a lot more fuel than was anticipated by the team.
Sean and Jiri started the race in 26th and 27th positions, with nothing to loose they were going to work together through the pack, along with Sean’s former team mate Jan Seyffarth, who crashed in qualifying. All three got off to a good start, gaining three of four places off the line, but at turn 2, Van Splunteren got hit and caused havoc, Jiri went inside and got away with it, where as Sean and Jan were stuck outside and both got his, causing rear end damage to the suspension. Sean then set about making his way through the pack and with 7 laps to go, he was upto 15th and stuck behind Sebastian Bleekemolen, who was making life very difficult, blocking at every passing place. Eventually he did get past and made it to an incredible 12th place by the finish of the race! Jiri followed him home in 13th. “It was a good race from both of us, there was nothing more we could do starting so far back. We got some points and prize money with no damage at least, from a weekend to forget really. I am going to Spa with a lot of confidence for a good result now, which we deserve.”
The week-end in Budapest started off with a good practice. Sean and his team mate Jan Seyffarth ended up 7th and 9th, only a few tenths off the pace. Qualifying, however was a disaster. The team just didn’t get the setup of the cars or the timing of using the new tyres right, so Sean and Jan ended up down in 16th and 17th, which meant the race was always going to be tough.
The team, not letting this bad start dampen their spirits worked hard all night to prepare the cars which paid off by both Sean and Jan both getting off to good starts in the race making up around 4 places off the line! Unfortunately Jan got taken out on the first lap and nearly collected Sean on the way causing Sean to lose a few positions avoiding him. Sean then made his way past a few cars and that’s when he started attacking Armindo, unfortunately for Sean Armindo kept blocking him and closing the door. Armindo braked a bit early at turn 12 and Sean tried to take advantage of this by diving to the inside. Armindo either didn’t see Sean or tried to shut the door again but whichever it was he just turned into the corner as if Sean wasn’t there. Sean explained later “I tried to avoid contact by going over the curb, but that just launched me into the side of him and put me out of the race with broken suspension.” This was an unfortunate and dramatic finish to Sean and Konrad Motorsports race. The race as always did go on without them seeing Damien Faulkner in 1st, followed by Jeroen Bleekemolen in 2nd and Patrick Huisman in 3rd.
A weekend to forget for the Konrad team as they scored no points for the teams’ championship. They must look forward to Valencia now and try and get the best possible result to bring them back into the championship hunt.