Ex-Formula 1 driver and sports car star Martin Brundle qualified his United Autosports Riley-Ford seventh for the Rolex 24 at Daytona, his first professional race start in nearly 10 years.
Q. Are you satisfied with seventh in qualifying, only seven tenths from the pole?
Martin Brundle: I don't think it was too shabby, to be honest. I didn't do a spectacular job, but I reckon I did a solid job. We were aiming for a 1m40.6sec and a top 10, maybe even a top six, and we did a 40.7sec and ended up seventh.
There wasn't a 40.3 or a 40.4 in the car and the team's other cars are behind us, so I can't complain. The track temperature had dropped and we picked up a bit of wheel spin in the traction zone, so I had to back out, let the tires cool and go again, so we lost a little bit there.
Q. When was it decided that you would qualify the car rather than your teammate Mark Blundell?
MB: It was based on what happened at the test here earlier in the month. He was fractionally quicker, but I had traffic and only did one quick lap.
Q. Were there any nerves coming into Daytona?
MB: I had a few nerves when I got up. I'd call it a case of healthy nerves, more anticipation and a bit of pressure.
Q. How does it feel to be back at one of the big sports car races?
MB: Magnificent. It feels like I've never been away. It's like a fast rewind: the years have just fallen off me. Walking through the paddock, overalls on and helmet in hand, felt good. Before the test, I was wondering if I could still do it, but it all came flooding back in a few corners.
Q. Is there still a rivalry there with Mark, your old Brabham and Ligier Formula 1 teammate?
MB: Of course, but we're not too stressed out about it. Mark is quicker than me in the Bus Stop and I'm quicker in the slow corners. We achieve similar lap times, but in a different way. Mark is quicker than me at night by a couple of tenths. He's got better eyes than me, but then he is seven years younger.
Q. How does the race compare to your previous experiences with Jaguar in 1988 and 1990?
MB: It's just how I remember it. The thing that struck me the most was that the GT cars were just as they were 20 years ago, and that's scary. You'll pass a Porsche 911 and think that the driver is pretty sensible. The next time you pass it, it will try to run you clean off the road if you're not careful just because it's got a different driver in it.
There are a lot of guys out there who are not very sure of themselves. That remains the biggest peril of this race.