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World Championship News

» Bahrain Press Conference
Kolbe, Lapchin, and Clayton (6/11/2004 15:15)

Roy Kolbe took a big step towards the 2004 title by winning the Bahrain Grand Prix at Sakhir last weekend. Yannick Lapchin finished second and Gareth Clayton was third. The three of them were up on the podium for the non-alcoholic fruit juice celebrations, and they're now with Dennis Hirrle in the FSR Press Conference Centre...

FSR: Hello you three! Thanks for being here once again at the Press Conference Center, this time at Bahrain. A new country, a new track, but still the old winner. Roy, is this today a satisfaction to you after the lean result from Monza?

Kolbe: Satisfaction? It´s more like a dream, really! I´m so happy, this victory was very important for the championship. Gareth finished 3rd, what want we more?:)

FSR: The race wasn´t too eventful for you, but I guess you didn´t spin intentionally in Lap 19 to show us at least a bit action, did you?

Kolbe: Hehe, you are crazy!! I have taken the lead during the pit stop procedure, that I planned!:) I knew I can´t overtake Yannick on track, because he was damn fast. He had a little bit more topspeed also. Then I have lost the lead, because of a stupid mistake. I lapped a car in lap 19 and lost a little bit of time. Afterwards I checked my mirrors to see how Yannick can pass him. In this moment I touched the kerb inside the fastest corner of the track and spun with more than 200kph. I pressed the clutch in time and luckily the rails are far away, so I could continue without damage, but I really thought I won´t receive a second chance to this time…

FSR: When Yannick spun, after you showed us some great and close action on track, have you been sure that this automatically meant the victory for you today?

Kolbe: Absolutely no!! I have got brake problems, because I drove many laps in Yannick´s slipstream. My brakes overheated completely and that was the main reason why he could make so much pressure on me. This problem made it so difficult to drive and believe me, not one more lap I would have hold him behind me. After his mistake I slowed down immediately to cool the brakes. I avoided stabling the car with the gas pedal in the braking zone. It cost me a lot of time, but Yannick slowed down also. I guess he had to fight with the same problem, after he attacked me that hard. However, I was really prepared to get a brake failure, therefore I couldn´t believe to cross the finish line as winner. Incredible!!!:)

FSR: It was your 6th victory of the season. Now you have got a gap to Yannick of 21 provisional points, provisional only as there are still some things from Monza under investigation. There are 2 races to go. Considering the big gap, may I ask you which track you prefer for catching the title, Interlagos or Shanghai? Or doesn´t this play a role for you at all?

Yes its true. I will lose some points, because I´m still under investigation. I spoke with Adam already and excused me. It was my mistake and I will agree the penalty, whatever it is. For me is this topic over now. Of course, I will try all to grab the title in Interlagos. But it is good to know to receive a second chance in Shanghai, if I fail in Interlagos.

FSR: Thanks Roy. Now to Yannick. You seem to be pretty disappointed, as you threw your steering wheel out of the car at the Parc Fermé.
You had a close battle with Roy, but then you obviously braked too late and spun in Turn 4. Unfortunately, Markus Kononen smashed your front wing off when you tried to rejoin the track. The situation from your point of view please.

Lapchin: Heehee yes, I was angry against my self. You know it’s the worst feeling to know that you lost the race because of yourself, and only yourself. We just had the greatest fights of our race (with Roy), and I was checking the tyres temps. You know, it’s in those times that we ask the car the worst things to do. The tyres temps were good... but I forgot to drive ! Hum, I tried to avoid Roy i front of me and took the very bad line (the outside of that turn is awfull). I didn’t want to lose much time here, and I stupidly spun on the curb. Unfortunately I restarted without seeing Markus, and I even don’t know what happened to him later. Sorry for that Markus.

FSR: In Lap 27 you made your second pitstop, and similar to the first one, you missed your crew again which has cost maybe 2 seconds. The result was that Roy, when he pitted just one lap later, re-joined in front of you. Do you think this pitstop was even more crucial for the race-result than the spin some laps later?

Lapchin: The pits problem was that one that forced bad things happen. So yes, I think it’s that crucial moment I missed, that made me lose the race. I’m not saying that if I didn’t lose time in the pits I should have won the race (I think I was a bit faster than Roy at some moments, but he was very strong), but it would have helped it. Roy did a mistake too, and this could have been the only one that made him lose the race if I was more serious in the pits. The spun absolutly failed my race, but I think this shouldn’t have happened without pit problems. This is my feeling.

FSR: In the end of the race you seemed to have a problem with your car, as your laptimes were much slower than in the beginning and middle of the race, and Gareth and your team-mate Christian caught up with you. Gareth has almost got you in the last lap when you spun again. Did you actually have a problem with your car, maybe because of the incident with Markus in Lap 42 after you spun?

Lapchin: I never had a mechanical problem. Exiting the pits at lap 43 I was so disappointed that only the best lap was possible for me and enjoying for me. I decided to cool the tyres till 2 or 3 laps to the end. I will also make a confession, it’s that I wanted to help a bit Christian, forcing Gareth to try to overtake me, and make a mistake. It happened towards the end of the race, but it hasn’t changed anything in the race results. Gareth was enough strong to keep the 3rd place. About the lap times, you can see that I did my best lap in lap 56, and spun trying to make a very good lap (that hadn’t well started anyway).

FSR: Do you like the next both and last tracks? How will you prepare for them? Full-power, or did you already give up all hopes for the title? I mean, everything can happen in F1…or don´t you think so?

I like Brasil GP. Though the layout is much different from the real one, it remembers me some good fights I had with my fathers when I was young with GP and GP2. It makes me think about Ayrton too. So yes, it is a track I like very much for the feelings I get on it. The layout is pretty nice in the infield. About Shangaï, I don’t know anything about it apart the first turn, which seems to be very interesting. I don’t think I will get the title, I’m even almost sure. I just want to have fun now, and get maybe a win ?

FSR: Thanks Yan. And head-up, it was a great duel between you both today, great racing, that’s what reporters like me love to see, so don´t worry! Gareth, your fifth 3rd place in this season. Gareth, the eternal third? Or are you going to change that for next season or already for the last 2 races this year?

Clayton: Well, third is not so bad. I never had a podium before this season. I know I'm a bit cautious in the way I drive, but I've been gradually pushing harder in recent races. I'll keep doing that in the next races and into next season.

FSR: Well, you actually had the chance to become 2nd today, when Yannick spun in the last lap. Did you cruise already at that point?

Clayton: Yes I was already cruising a couple of laps from the end. I didn't think there was any chance of catching Yannick. I wonder if he spun on the last lap just to annoy me!

There was a chance to finish second today, and that's a bit disappointing. With 20 laps to go I was already settling for third place. Then Yannick came out of the pits just ahead of me after he lost his front wing. If only I had been 2 seconds faster up to that point, it would have been quite a straight forward second place. But even though he was going slowly, he had more top speed so I couldn't pass him. Christian was catching up with us, and I was going to be in a sandwich before the end. So I made a stupid move on Yannick in the infield section, which resulted in a spin. It was a fun battle before that though.

FSR: What do you expect for the last two races?

Clayton: I hope and expect VG and Roy to win the championship at the next race. We'd have to have a very bad race not to, but anything can still happen. So that is our aim - to win the championship, and to win it by as much as possible.

FSR: Thanks Gareth. And now please, Roy, speak to our German readers.

Kolbe: Zwei Rennen sind noch zu fahren, dieser Sieg war wohl der wichtigste der Saison. Yannick war verdammt schnell, das hat sich im Qualifying schon abgezeichnet. Wir beide hätten gewinnen können. Auch wenn es anders herum gelaufen wäre, könnte ich mich glücklich schätzen die Zielflagge gesehen zu haben. Da ich viele Runden im Windschatten von Yannick gefahren bin, ist die Bremse völlig überhitzt. Das hatte zur Folge, dass das Auto sehr schwierig zu fahren war und die Bremszone länger wurde. Ich musste mich mit Händen und Füßen wehren und ich hätte ihn ganz sicher keine Runde länger halten können. Sein Fehler war mein Glück. Es grenzt schon an ein Wunder, dass ich das Rennen beenden konnte, ohne das eine der Bremsscheiben gebrochen ist. Manchmal läuft es einfach!!;) Vielen Dank an alle im Team, das war ein enorm wichtiger Schritt für beide Titel. Gareth, wir holen das Ding!!!

FSR: Thank you very much! See you at Interlagos, a real old racing track again! Have fun there guys!

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