Indian driver Sailesh Bolisetti rounded off the fifth outing of the 2013 NASCAR Whelen Euro Series at the Monza circuit with an eighth place finish – his best result of the season so far. The first Indian to compete in the European Stock Car championship, Sailesh’s run up to the weekend at the legendary grand prix venue was far from ideal as mechanical issues once again ate into crucial track time on Friday.
Monza’s high-speed layout is extremely demanding on the brakes and some fading issues had surfaced during the practice sessions, along with clutch problems which meant the 25-year old did only seven timed laps before going into qualifying on Saturday.
“Given the start of the weekend, I am really happy that we managed a good result after a long time. I haven’t had the best of luck through the season so overall it was quite satisfying”, said an elated Sailesh.
The lack of track time manifested itself during the qualifying session when he could do no better than 16th on the grid, out of 22 drivers.
“Qualifying was quite difficult, we were still having issues and I was just focused on learning the circuit as we had hardly done any laps on Friday”, he revealed.
Starting near the back of the grid, the first race turned out quite eventful as the first chicane produced one of the traditional Monza pileups and Sailesh had to take avoiding action, which sent him over the bumpy run-offs.
By the time he rejoined the track after the melee he was dead last but started gaining lost ground soon thereafter. Some strong consistent pace and brave overtaking meant he was running seventh, just five laps from the finish.
But then the aforementioned brake issues surfaced once again, which meant he had to lift off and coast into the corners to nurse the overheating brakes – losing a significant amount of lap time in the process. As a result, he lost three places and eventually finished tenth.
“It was a tough race, but the car worked well for the first half and I was able to put in some fast times and catch drivers ahead after the messy start. But the brake issues forced me to back off so I defended the best I could and held on to the finish”.
Race two saw Sailesh start 12th but the first corner turned out to be tricky once again as 22 stock cars tried to filter through, and left him towards the back of the field. In what seemed to be an exact replay of the previous race, he drove vivaciously to regain lost positions and a few more to finish eighth.
He had a prolonged battle with the seventh placed driver throughout the final two laps, passing him several times only to be forced off the circuit each time, and the duo was finally separated by just 0.7 seconds at the finish line.
“It was quite close battle, I could have finished a place higher if I had taken some more chances but I didn’t want to throw away a good result in the last two laps so I settled for eighth”, remarked Sailesh.
“We still haven’t been able to put together the perfect weekend in terms of practice, qualifying and race but today we did the best in the circumstances at such a historic venue, so it was good overall”, he concluded.
The season finale of the NASCAR Whelen Euro Series is scheduled at the Le Mans circuit in France on 13-14 October.
2013 Euro Racecar Series calendar
- Round 1 31 March Nogaro, France
- Round 2 11 May Dijon, France
- Round 3 8 June Brands Hatch, UK
- Round 4 6 July Tours, France
- Round 6 28 Sep Monza, Italy
- Round 7 12 October Le Mans, France
SCORPUS RACING CHEVROLET CAMARO SS SPECS
- ENGINE: 5.7-litre naturally-aspirated Chevrolet V8
- POWER: 400bhp
- TORQUE: 550Nm
- FUEL: Bioethanol E10
- DRIVETRAIN: Four-speed sequential, Detroit locker rear differential, triple-disc competition clutch
- WEIGHT: 1200kg