Nick Tandy said claiming pole for Saturday’s Kyalami 9 Hour was a “good payback” to Frikadelli Racing after slightly damaging the team’s Porsche 911 GT3 R in Q3 amid a sudden downpour.
The Porsche factory driver put in a 1:52.825 lap time on a drying track to grab top honors in the Pole Shootout and claim the Pirelli Super Hero trophy for the first long-distance enduro at the South African circuit in nearly four decades.
It came after a dramatic Q3 session for the Englishman, who slid off course while on slicks, which ultimately brought out a red flag.
“There was more rain at Turn 7 than I was expecting,” Tandy told Sportscar365.
“I was surprised because Sector 1 was pretty much dry. I came around Turn 6 and the grip was still there.
“I didn’t see any rain on the surface so I braked early, as you would, naturally. But as soon as I touched the brakes, that was it, we snapped sideways.
“And from that point on, I was trying to pick a point to place the car softly into the barrier.”
A scrape to the nose and broken right mirror the extent of the damage sustained to the Porsche, which rejoined on rain tires to make it into the Pole Shootout, thanks to his 1:55.689 lap time.
Tandy said the break between Q3 and Pole Shootout offered time to not only repair the car but also “quite drastically” change the Porsche’s setup.
“It seemed to work,” he said. “We were happy. We had a good 20-25 minutes and most of that was changing the bodywork, which got scratched and the mirror which was broken off.
“But there’s some things you can change very quickly.
“We learned a lot. We obviously had three teammates as such, in the garages next to us. All of the Porsches are pooling information because it just makes sense.
“I’m really pleased for the team and really pleased for Porsche.
“Obviously my teammates did most of the work for us by getting their times in Q1 and Q2, which enabled me to scrape through in Q3.
“From my point of view, it was a good payback to the team for damaging a few parts whilst I ran across the gravel in Q3.”
Frikadelli Focused on Win, Despite Olsen Title Implications
Tandy said he and co-drivers Mathieu Jaminet and Dennis Olsen will “try everything” to win despite the Norwegian’s chances of the IGTC drivers’ championship.
Olsen heads into tomorrow’s race with a 10-point deficit to Mercedes-AMG’s Maxi Buhk, as one of seven drivers in seven different cars that still have a mathematical chance of the title.
“We discussed this before the start of the weekend and kind of agreed, with Dennis, that the best way to approach this race is to try everything we can to win it,” Tandy said.
“If there’s a situation where possibly we can finish second, and on a points situation Dennis can win the championship, that might happen in the last half-an-hour of the race, but it’s a case of doing everything possible.
“The pressure is off because it’s a normal, simple weekend of doing everything as well as you can and try to win the race.”