Julian Bailey Q&A

Julian Bailey and team-mate Jamie Campbell-Walter are still well on course to take the FIA GT title for Lister Storm Racing. After their fourth victory of the year at Zolder on Sunday, they have a 14-point lead over their nearest rival, with four races left on the schedule. However, life is not being made easy for Lister; the GT rules handicap winners with extra ballast at the next race, and before the last weekend the team also lost some vital bhp to a tighter restrictor. Zolder was by no means an easy afternoon. In the closing stages Bailey was in second place, sandwiched by the Belmondo Vipers of Marc Duez and Vincent Vosse. Struggling with severe brake problems, Julian looked like he might have to settle for third. Then he had a stroke of luck; the car chasing him dropped back when it ran low on fuel and had to make a splash and dash, and then with just two minutes to run the leading Viper lost a rear wheel! Julian gratefully accepted the chequered flag. If Bailey and his team-mate can stay in front, the 38-year-old would certainly be a popular champion. Adam Cooper spoke to the former Tyrrell and Lotus driver

Julian Bailey Q&A

"It's always nice to be at the front. But you can't kid yourself - the championship is not top draw at the moment, although it's always hard to win a race. The first three are OK, there are some good drivers, but there isn't the depth that there is in other championships. But it's still hard to win in anything. You've got the Belmondo cars, which are quick, and the Dutch Viper. It's hard to pull away in the championship, because they're always there."

"Once you've lost confidence in the brakes, you can't do anything. It was OK when I was on my own, I could compensate and change down a bit earlier, but when you try to pass someone, it's impossible. They're waving you past and you can't come down the inside of them, because you can't brake like that. There were a couple of cars I just couldn't get past. I was flashing them with the lights, trying to get them out of the way. They were going 'Go on, go past,' but it was impossible. I knew I'd go straight on."

"About three times I went off, and at one stage I nearly packed it in. I had a really big slide into that fast corner onto the straight. I thought any minute now I'm going to smash it up, so I better settle for third or fourth. It was getting worse and worse. But then the car behind me in third seemed to give up. I thought all I've got to do now is stay on, and I came round the corner and saw one of the Vipers off. I didn't know which one it was, and then on the last lap I got 'P1'. I thought I must stay on now - If I go off now I'll look a right idiot!"

"It's a good car to drive. It's quite forgiving with the front engine. You can slide it around, and the centre of gravity is in a nice place, to help you control it. Obviously we've got a few problems with the brakes. We thought we'd fixed them, but here last year we ran out of brakes completely, so obviously it's a tough place. But everyone who drives it likes it, it's a user friendly car."

"Well, there's nothing we can do about it. That's the rules, and now I've got another 40kgs on the car for the next race at the A1-Ring. So I'm up to 100 again. But at least the Belmondo cars keep gaining weight as well. With 100kgs it's even harder to stop the car, so we're going to have to look into the brakes."

"Not a lot of people realise that Lister run on a shoestring budget. We don't have catering and that sort of thing - we just have a sandwich! Everything's spent on the car, so there's no wastage. That's the thing that Laurence (Pearce) does well. He's running most if it out of his own pocket at the moment."

"I don't know. I think this series has got a future, because a lot of people can't afford the budget to go into the ALMS. That's obviously the premier championship at the moment, because that's where the budgets are. There's always going to be room for the next tier down, if you like. The plan next year is to go to Daytona and possibly Le Mans, and we're going to Suzuka next month. There's plenty going on, so we'll see what happens. We've got to try and win this championship first and then go from there."

"I've been very fortunate to earn a living for a long time as a racing driver. I've seen lots of friends who've fallen by the wayside. Some have made it, like Damon, but not everyone can do that. So I'm still lucky to earn my living driving. It's better than having a real job!"

"It's one of those things. He got the right breaks, he's a good driver, and he deserves to be where he is. It's as simple as that. I might think one day that perhaps I could have had a better chance, but the fact is I had some chances and it didn't work out. Some do, some don't."

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