Birchall Brothers set the pace.
The sun shone brightly at Le-Mans for the first free practice of the season for the “FIM Sidecar World Championship”Ben and Tom Birchall with their “Birchall Racing” LCR, Yamaha, set the fastest time of 1:45.310. The Brothers had a trouble free practice and were really pleased how things went. With the track in near perfect conditions, and a clear track in front of them, they steadily worked up their speed and with only six laps done they set the fastest time.
The second fastest time went to Bennie Streuer and Kevin Rousseau on their “Team Streuer” LCR, Honda. Streuer and Rousseau did not have any problems throughout the free practice session. But they will be doing some small adjustments to their suspension settings, and they will have some new rubber fitted for the first qualifying session.
Third fastest was John Holden and Mark Wilkes on their “Barnes/Sillicon Racing” LCR, Kawasaki. Again a trouble free practice for the pair. Driver Holden will be making some adjustment to his gear change pedal, and with some fuel mapping adjustments the pair feel that they can go a lot faster.
The fourth fastest time went to Pekka Paivarinta and Kirsi Kainulainen on their “44-Racing” LCR, Honda. Paivarinta and Kainulainen will be making changes to their machine. Although they did some testing before coming to Le-Mans, this was really their first real shakedown of their new machine. With suspension, gearing and some brake changes, the pair hope they can greatly improve their lap times. They were a full 3.511sec down on the Birchall’s best time.
Michael Grabmuller and Sophia Kirchhofer set the fifth fastest time on their “Polizeisportverein Wels Delta Racing” LCR, Yamaha. The Austrian pairing were not very happy how their free practice went. They had brake problems, and problems with their overall handling of the machine. They will be working hard into the night to sort these problems out.
Scott Lawrie and Ben Hughes were to set the sixth fastest time on their “Team SLR” LCR, Suzuki. Another team with a new machine, they will be making adjustments to gearing, and driver Lawrie will be making adjustments to brake and gear change pedals. The team will also be fitting new tyres and hope that they will be setting faster times in the qualifying sessions.
Jakob Rutz and Marcel Fries, were seventh fastest on their “Sidecar Racing-Team Rutz” LCR, Yamaha. The team had a trouble free practice, and with some very small adjustments and new tyres they hope to greatly improve their lap time.
Eighth fastest time went to the all-female French team of Estelle Leblond and Melenie Farnier on their “Racing Side” SGR, Suzuki. They had some small electrical problems with their machine. But apart from that, the team were really pleased how the practice went, and they are the fastest of the short tubular chassis teams.
Lewis Blackstock and Patrick Rosney set the ninth fastest time on their “Dave Holden Racing” LCR, Suzuki. The team were pleased how things went. This is the first time Blackstock and Rosney have been to Le-Mans, and they are the full “Rookie team” to the FIM World Sidecar Championship for 2017.
Franck Barbier and Goulven Crochemore were tenth fastest on their “Team FB Superside” SGR, Suzuki. The team were happy how things went, and with some small adjustments they look forward to the qualifying sessions.
The weather may be a bit cooler for the two qualifying sessions on Friday but it should be dry.