For the 23-year-old Sailesh Bolisetti, the only Indian competing in the British GT car racing in Qulton Park (Cheshire, UK) it has been a demanding experience under trying conditions in his first outing.
The British GT format includes two qualifying sessions, the results of each, deciding grid position for the two main races.
“It wasn't the kind of start I was looking for. The track was soaking wet and the lines were completely different”, explained Sailesh in an interaction with The Hindu from UK.
The Indian driver then managed to make the most of his half-an-hour session behind the wheel (one hour of practice being split between him and his team-mate Phil Glew sharing the Lotus Evora GT4).
Later, with conditions improving, Sailesh was able to get closer to his experienced team-mate's bench-mark.
“I got into the groove as the track dried up and the car was working well under those conditions,” Sailesh said. Buoyed by his progress, he was looking forward to qualifying.
During the short session it was Sailesh who took the wheel ahead of team-mate Glew but his relative inexperience hampered him.
“I was feeling a lot of vibration, and the car didn't seem to have any grip. I wasn't sure what was wrong, and was under pressure as I knew the clock was ticking away,” said Sailesh.
The team later discovered that Sailesh had not got the brakes and tyres warmed up since during all preceding sessions, it was Glew who always took the wheel first, thereby leaving Sailesh ignorant of this aspect. Sailesh ended up fourth on the GT4 grid.
As per regulations, he will now start race one and hand over the car to his team-mate during the mandatory pit-stop window between the 20th and 40th minute.
In the second qualifying session, Glew went on to clinch pole position for the second race in the GT4 category, confirming the potential of the team's Evora GT4.
“I am aiming to move through the field quickly and finish as high as possible,” says Sailesh. “The circumstances were a bit unusual on the first day today, but there is something to learn from every experience — especially so early in my stint here”, the Vizag boy concluded.
The two one-hour races are scheduled on April 9 (Monday).