LG Super Racing Weekend Round 5 - Anderstorp (SWE) - 28th - 30th June 2002 Four weeks after leaving the Spanish track of Jarama, the teams taking part in the various events of the LG Super Racing Weekend series will meet up once more, this time...
LG Super Racing Weekend
Round 5 - Anderstorp (SWE) - 28th - 30th June 2002
Four weeks after leaving the Spanish track of Jarama, the teams taking part in the various events of the LG Super Racing Weekend series will meet up once more, this time in Sweden, at the Anderstorp circuit. This will mark the first visit of many of the competitors to Scandinavia, and an interesting weekend of racing is in prospect. The FIA European Touring Car Championship has raced at Anderstorp on three occasions in the past, although this will be the first time since the Championship was revived last year. This will be the FIA GT Championship's first visit to Sweden, although the Championship raced in Scandinavia in 1997, in the Finnish capital Helsinki.
The Scandinavian Raceway in Anderstorp was built in 1968, and hosted the Swedish Formula One Grand Prix between 1973 and 1978. It is a medium-fast track, best known for its long straight. Built alongside an airstrip, this straight is extremely wide, before funnelling into a very tight second-gear corner at the end. After a right-hander, the track has two corners that are slightly banked. After a second straight and a left-handed corner comes the track's second famous feature, the carrousel, which is quite fast and, according to drivers, seems never-ending. "The key is to stick to the right side and wait and wait," explained Swedish driver Carl Rosenblad, who will be at the wheel of the nr 2 Larbre Competition Chéreau Chrysler Viper. "It's important not to have any oversteer. Generally, I think the track should be good for endurance as only one corner could give problems for overtaking : the tight left-hander leading back onto the pit straight. There are good run-offs, the grip is medium and tyre wear is generally good. It's a track that is easy to learn, and I don't think my local knowledge will give me much of an advantage after the first couple of laps."
The FIA GT and European Touring Car Championships will be joined by the Formula Renault 2000 Eurocup and the Renault Sport Clio Trophy, while the S60 Volvo Challenge replaces the Lamborghini Supertrophy for this event. Anderstorp is in southern Sweden, between Jönköping and Halmsted. The nearest town is Gislaved, and the circuit is located on the 27 route towards Värnamo. The nearest airport is Jönköping, which is 50 minutes away. Gothenburg airport is one of the best connected, an hour away, with Malmoe a two-hour journey away.
FIA GT CHAMPIONSHIP
In 2002, the FIA GT Championship has seen one of the closest and most varied starts to the season in its history. The four races so far disputed have seen three different winners, with three different manufacturers and teams represented. Lister Storm Racing has won twice with the Lister Storm, at Magny Cours and Brno. Paul Belmondo Racing took their first victory since 2000 at Silverstone with their Chrysler Viper GTS-R, while BMS Scuderia Italia were victorious in Spain with a Ferrari 550 Maranello. The N-GT category has been equally exciting, with the Ferrari - Porsche battle currently evenly balanced with two wins apiece. JMB Racing has a healthy lead in the Championship, but Freisinger Motorsport, winner of the past two rounds, is catching up fast. Anderstorp, the first brand-new venue of the season, should be an interesting challenge for teams and cars alike, while the flat, medium-speed circuit should prove a welcome contrast after the hilly, twisting circuits of Brno and Jarama.
JARAMA RESULT PROVISIONAL
The results of the GT class of the Jarama round remain provisional, pending investigations into sealed parts on the nr 3 Carsport Holland Chrysler Viper GTS-R.
LISTER STORM RACING LOSES WEIGHT (1st in GT, 30 points)
Despite a relatively disappointing performance in Spain, with only one point being scored by the two cars, British team Lister Storm Racing is still leading the Championship in the Teams classification, while Jamie Campbell-Walter and Nicolaus Springer are joint first in the Drivers points table. "Neither the team nor the drivers have been to Anderstorp before," team principal Laurence Pearce explained. "I think that is the case for many teams, so it should be a level playing field. We will only have 40 kg penalty weight, which should be better. We were really surprised by how penalising the weight was in Jarama, especially under braking." Bobby Verdon-Roe and Paul Knapfield, who share the nr 15 Lister Storm, finished second at Silverstone but have retired in the last two races. "Although we've only finished one race, we proved we can be competitive when everything goes our way," Verdon-Roe explained. "We need some luck and no problems. We finished second at Silverstone despite three spins, which proves we can be up with the leaders. Jamie and Nicolaus are doing a great job, and I think we are capable of equalling their performance. Anderstorp will be new to us, like to most people, but we have no penalty weight, and hopefully we should get a good result. Paul is doing extremely well; he has proved he has the speed and I am lucky to have such a quick team-mate. I haven't given up hope of a good result in the Championship; a few good races would put us back in contention."
LARBRE COMPETITION CHEREAU CLOSES ON THE LEADERS (2nd in GT, 26 points)
The 2001 FIA GT Champions, Larbre Competition Chéreau, placed their two Chrysler Viper GTS-R cars in third and fourth places at the previous round in Spain. With Bouchut and Terrien finishing on the podium at every race, the two Frenchmen will now be carrying 90 kg penalty weight in the nr 1 Chrysler Viper. For Carl Rosenblad, the sole Swedish driver competing regularly in the FIA GT Championship, Anderstorp will be a rare occasion for him to compete with an international Championship on home territory. Carl knows the track extremely well, having competed there in the Swedish Touring Car Championship over the past four seasons. "I think the Viper should go well at Anderstorp," he said. "However, I can imagine that our rivals will be fast there too, and I think the grid will be similar to those of the rest of the season. There are unlikely to be any dramas. The track is very easy to learn, so I will not have much of an advantage, and I don't think those cars with penalty weight will suffer too much there." David Terrien is looking forward to the race. "Although I don't know the track, and our car will be very heavy, I am looking forward to visiting Scandinavia. It is very interesting for someone like me, with international sponsors, to visit new ground."
CARSPORT HOLLAND LOOKING FOR FIRST WIN (3rd in GT, 21 points)
Carsport Holland continues to accumulate points this season, with Kumpen and Hezemans finishing second in Spain. However, their second car, driven by Luca Cappellari and Fabrizio Gollin, failed to finish the race, after suffering an electrical failure. Nine points behind the leaders, and five behind the reigning Champions, everything is still to play for in the category.
"We really hope for another podium finish in Anderstorp," Anthony Kumpen explained. "We need the points ! If we don't have any problems, we should finally be able to win this weekend. The track is new to me, but Mike Hezemans has driven there before, so that might give us a slight advantage in terms of set-up. I don't know much about the track, but I think the long straight might be to the advantage of the Ferrari, which will be fast again. The Lister has lost weight, so they will be tough to beat. I think it's going to be a fast and close race. We are also making plans for the Proximus 24 Hours of Spa, which will be our most important race of the season. It's my home race, too, and both Mike and I have driven there twice already this season, so we have plenty of recent experience. We should be sharing our car with Thierry Tassin, who raced there for Carsport Holland last season, and is a four-time winner of the event in a touring car - so we've got a really good package."
DELETRAZ HAPPY AFTER FIRST FIA GT WIN (5th in GT, 11 points)
BMS Scuderia Italia's Jarama win was also the first win for Jean-Denis Deletraz in the FIA GT Championship, despite having taken part in a variety of cars since the start of the Championship in 1997. He continued his run of luck by taking the LMP675 class victory in the 24 Hours of Le Mans, driving a Noel del Bello Lehmann Reynard. "It's incredible. After having a run of minor problems, you begin to have doubts. But with two results like that, you gain extra confidence, not only for yourself, but for the whole team," explained the Swiss driver of the nr 23 Ferrari 550 Maranello. Deletraz is looking forward to the next round in Anderstorp. "The car is now running very well, and after four races, the team is getting to know the car and everything is going well. We hope to take advantage of Anderstorp, where we will only have 40 kg penalty weight, to get another good result and to improve our points score. It is certain that the fact that we had no weight in Jarama played to our advantage, and it is going to be a lot closer for the next race. No-one in the team knows the track, but that is what free practice is for. As for my team-mate, Andrea Piccini, he is fantastic. Coming straight from F3000, he has all the speed and aggressiveness from that level of driving, but he adapted very quickly to the needs of endurance racing. It is great working with him." The team should have a new evolution of their engine ready for Anderstorp.
JMB RACING STILL IN COMMAND (1st in N-GT, 43 points)
Despite finishing second in the past two races, JMB Racing currently has a comfortable 19-point lead in the FIA N-GT Championship, while Christian Pescatori and Andrea Montermini lead the Drivers classification. Pescatori, who finished in second place at Le Mans with the Audi factory team, will be back in his Ferrari 360 Modena for Anderstorp. "It shouldn't be too difficult to change back to the Ferrari, as I know the car extremely well and I have done so much work on it," he said. "As I don't know much about Anderstorp, I do not know whether it will suit us or the Porsche cars, which have been very fast over the past few races. I know that my team and Pirelli both want to win the Championship and so they will all be working hard to get us back into the first position in the races. We hope to do some more work on the car before the Proximus 24 Hours of Spa, in order to make the car more reliable, as we have to finish the race this year."
JMB Competition will have a new driver in the nr 52 Ferrari 360 Modena, with Swedish driver Tony Ring replacing Gianluca Giraudi for this race only. Ring is an experienced Ferrari driver in the Ferrari-Porsche Challenge, and also commentates for Eurosport in Sweden.
FREISINGER AIMS FOR THREE IN A ROW (2nd in N-GT, 24 points)
Following their Brno win with an equally dominant performance in Spain, Freisinger Motorsport doubled their points score during the past round, with Daoudi and Longin scoring two points for a fifth-place finish, while Stephane Ortelli and Sascha Maassen claimed the ten points for the win. After a fine second place finish in their class in the 24 Hours of Le Mans, the team is gearing up for Anderstorp, where the nr 54 Porsche 996 GT3-R will have to carry 40 kg penalty weight for Anderstorp, just 10 kg less than the nr 50 JMB Racing Ferrari 360 Modena.
Team regular Ortelli should be partnered by French driver Emmanuel Collard, who twice won the Sports Racing World Cup. Collard last took part in the FIA GT Championship in 1997, when he drove the JB Giesse Porsche 911 GT1.
JVG RACING HOPING FOR ANOTHER PODIUM (3rd in N-GT, 13 points)
Jürgen von Gartzen and Ian Khan have been one of the greatest surprises of the N-GT category. They have scored points at every round, and are currently lying third in the Championship, despite only having one car, compared to the two entered by the teams above them in the points. "Our current position is quite good, but we are not improving," team owner and driver von Gartzen explained. "We were second at Magny Cours, then finished in fourth place twice, followed by sixth in Jarama, which is not the sort of progression we want to continue over the next races. That is why we have been working on the car, and we will be trying very hard to finish in the top three in Anderstorp. However, the level of competition in the Championship is also increasing, so it will be difficult. But I am still optimistic."
STRONG LINE-UP FOR CIRTEK MOTORSPORT
Rob Schirle's squad of Porsche 996 GT3-R cars will see another impressive line-up of drivers climb behind the wheel in Sweden, as the British outfit will be joining up with well-known Danish driver John Nielsen for the weekend. "John's team has a 675-class Reynard, which they are preparing for various sportscar races, but he also wants to get into GT racing," Rob Schirle explained. "If this weekend goes well, we might collaborate further, with me working on the GTs, while he concentrates on the prototype. It will be very good to have him driving for me this weekend, as he knows the track backwards. He is likely to drive with Adam Jones, who already drove for me at Silverstone. I was very impressed with Adam's speed, and as he knows the car, they should make a good team." With people such as Kelvin Burt and Jean-Marc Gounon having driven his cars this year, Schirle would nonetheless prefer a stable line-up. "With the level of the Championship, you cannot hope to compete with the top cars when your line-up keeps changing, as you can't be on the pace right away. It is really professional out there, with some of the world's top GT drivers taking part, which means it can be tough for small teams like us. But we're still here, and that is the important thing." The second car will be driven by team regular Raffaele Sangiuolo, who will be joined by Thomas Pichler, a former Formula Renault driver who drove two races for MAC Racing in 2001.
SWEDISH TEAMS AND DRIVERS
A record number of four national teams with five cars will be joining the FIA GT regulars in Anderstorp. In the GT class, JPS Porsche Racing Team will enter a Porsche 996 Turbo for Swedish drivers Bosse Jonasson, Anders Levin and Claes Lund. Henrik Roos Team has a Chrysler Viper GTS-R. Team owner Roos will share the car with a familiar FIA GT Championship figure, Magnus Wallinder, who last drove for Pennzoil Quaker State G-Force in a Porsche 996 GT3-R in 2000. Podium Racing will be entering two Porsche 996 GT3-R cars. Their drivers include Johan Sturesson, whose father Per Sturesson finished third when the European Touring Car Championship raced at Anderstorp in 1987, in a Volvo 240 Turbo, Tomas Nyström, who was battling for the Swedish Touring Car Championship lead last year, Marcus Gustavsson, who drove for Elgh Motorsport in the final two rounds of the FIA European Super Touring Championship last year, and Hubert Bergh, who is a leading GT driver in Sweden.
Team Eurotech Scandinavian will also be entering a Porsche 996 GT3-R. The drivers are Pontus Mörth, a young driver out of single-seaters, and Norwegian Thomas Faraas.