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Papis predicts tough fight

Max Papis believes his Corvette Racing team have a big fight on their hands in the GT1 class in the 24 Hours of Le Mans, and it will not come only from main rivals Aston Martin

While the American squad have won the last two editions of the race, last year was a very close affair with the British marque, the latter eventually suffering some reliability problems towards the end of the race.

"I think it will be an extremely tough fight," the Italian told autosport.com. "I'm not really worried [about the Aston Martins], but we are paying attention to what they're doing. I don't expect any gifts from them and there will be none from us.

"However, I don't see only the works Aston Martins as being strong. The [Luc Alphand Aventures' Corvette] C5 isn't bad and the guys at BMS Scuderia Italia [with a customer Aston Martin) are working quietly but they aren't far behind."

Papis, in his third consecutive participation with Corvette, praised the outfit and said the car's speed has improved.

"The team are solid. Perhaps we are not the fastest on track but we are faster than last year. The difference in top speed with the Aston Martins is not as evident as last year. We are within acceptable limits."

With rain marring yesterday's qualifying, times in today's sessions will count for the grid. Papis, however, says that unless there is a change in strategy, his team will concentrate on preparing for the race rather than go for qualifying laps.

"I'm not expecting too much," said the Italian. "We'll try to use tonight's sessions in order to validate our race set-ups. We'll have to see if our bosses will be tempted to give us something extra to fight for pole against the Aston Martins.

"Yesterday we were scheduled to test plenty of stuff but we are a bit late with the programme. Most of all we still need to validate two or three aerodynamic set-ups that we didn't try out when we came here last time.

"To set up our car you need to dedicate to it a lot of time. The speed of the C6 is not to be found on the straights but in the corners, so we need to make sure we have a car that enables us to attack for the entire race.

"Come rain or shine, tonight I'm going out in the car unlike yesterday. Last night we had hoped the second session would get dryer. We went out in dangerous conditions without having previously done any laps in the wet, and at night it wasn't the best thing, but we needed to get a lap in to check the car.

"I don't think it'll rain tonight: we use a satellite weather forecast system and at the moment it looks like the conditions will be good both tonight and during the race."

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