3rd PLACE IN ITALY FOR SUGDEN Tim Sugden and Iradj Alexander took their third podium in 5 FIA GT Championship races at Adria near Venice on Sunday in an eventful race on a track new to most of the FIA GT Championship field. The tight circuit...
3rd PLACE IN ITALY FOR SUGDEN
Tim Sugden and Iradj Alexander took their third podium in 5 FIA GT Championship races at Adria near Venice on Sunday in an eventful race on a track new to most of the FIA GT Championship field. The tight circuit is just 1.69 miles long and has 3 genuine hairpin bends putting a severe strain on brakes and front tyres in particular. Qualifying was very close in GT2 and Tim's 4th place time was just 0.056 seconds slower than 2nd place but 0.447 slower than pole, set again by the Scuderia Ecosse car of Kirkaldy who has shown the qualifying strength of the Michelin tyre this season.
The rolling start was taken very slowly with the result that the cars bunched up badly and the GT2 cars were 4 abreast across the start line and to avoid an "early bath" Tim was forced to take to the grass and lost 4 places back to 8th at the end of the first lap. Steady progress was made however despite a short pace car period and Tim was able to close up and hand over the Ferrari F430 to Iradj from 2nd place.
The track layout did not allow the team to attempt the one stop strategy tried last time out and so Iradj took a short 45 minute middle stint before handing the car back to Tim who drove a total of 2 hours 15 minutes of the 3 hour race. The car ran a rapid 4th for the remaining laps closing on the third place Ferrari of Ruberti and Giamarria, to finish 4th on the road. However, at post race scrutineering the second placed Ferrari of the factory backed AF Corse team was disqualified on technical grounds and so the JMB GruppeM car of Sugden and Alexander was declared 3rd.
Tim felt that a better result had been possible but a misunderstanding when the pace car was on track caused them not to refuel at that time and cost valuable seconds later in the race. Afterwards Tim was typically frank:
"We made a rather basic error and didn't pit under the safety car, because of confusion between me and my engineer. ...Of course we then pitted under greens (Full racing conditions). We might not have won, but we could have had a better result. It's frustrating when you've done as many races as I have - I should have known better. The car was running really well, no problems and Iradj did a really good job."