Brno: Qualifying report

Weather After chilly weather on Friday, Saturday dawned clear and bright, and temperatures rose during the day to around 19° Celsius. Matteo Bobbi takes pole for BMS Scuderia Italia Reigning champion Matteo Bobbi broke the run of Saleen poles...

Weather
After chilly weather on Friday, Saturday dawned clear and bright, and temperatures rose during the day to around 19° Celsius.

Matteo Bobbi takes pole for BMS Scuderia Italia

Reigning champion Matteo Bobbi broke the run of Saleen poles in Brno today, claiming his second-ever FIA GT pole position, with an excellent time of 1:56.654 around the 5.403 km track. The nr 1 BMS Scuderia Italia Ferrari 550 Maranello's time was just over a tenth faster than that set by the nr 5 Vitaphone Racing Saleen S7, with Uwe Alzen being the only other driver to go under the 1:57 barrier.

"I was pushing very hard and found the perfect lap," Matteo said afterwards. "There was no traffic, no mistakes. I'm very happy to be on pole, but tomorrow will be a different story. We're fast, but we're not fast enough, and the Saleens will be tough competition."

A close session, with the top 11 cars within two seconds, saw Fabrizio Gollin set the third-fastest time, despite carrying 100 kg penalty weight.

The nr 28 Graham Nash Motorsport Saleen will start from the second row of the grid, showing an excellent improvement for the British team. Brno has proved to be a Saleen track, with the RML cars in 5th and 7th places, the top seven being entirely composed of Ferrari 550 Maranello and Saleen S7 cars.

Pescatori fastest in N-GT

Christian Pescatori took pole position for the nr 62 GPC Giesse Ferrari 360 Modena in Brno today. The car, which only has 20 kg ballast compared to 50 kg for its main rivals, the nr 50 and nr 99 Freisinger Porsches, continued to show the good form it had previously demonstrated in Hockenheim. A lap of 2:01.185 for the Italian placed it 15th on the starting grid, and 1.5 seconds ahead of the second-fastest N-GT car, the nr 50 Freisinger Yukos Porsche of Collard and Ortelli.

"I did a good, fast lap," Pescatori said. "The new Pirelli tyres are very fast - great for qualifying, and hopefully for the race as well! But we don't know yet. It's going to be a very hard race."

Maassen and Luhr, in the nr 99 car, were third, only seven thousandths of a second slower than their sister car. Vasiliev and Fomenko were fourth in the nr 77 Porsche, with Felbermayr father and son fifth, in the JVG Racing Porsche.

First Qualifying Session

A close and exciting first qualifying session saw Matteo Bobbi claim provisional pole, with an excellent lap of 1:56.654 around the 5.403 km circuit, despite carrying 80 kg penalty weight. Early in the session, the nr 5 Vitaphone Saleen was in the lead, with a time of 1:57.452, improving to 1:56.786 ten minutes into the session. At that point, the nr 1 and 2 BMS Scuderia Italia Ferrari 550 Maranello cars were second and third, within a tenth of a second of each other. But ten minutes later, Matteo Bobbi found a clear lap on his second set of tyres, and his time of 1:56.654 proved to be unbeatable. By the end of the 45-minute session, he led the nr 5 Vitaphone Saleen and the nr 2 BMS Ferrari, with the nr 4 Graham Nash Saleen, Paolo Ruberti at the wheel, an excellent fourth.

In N-GT, the nr 50 Porsche of Collard and Ortelli held provisional pole early on, with a time of 2:02.806. But fifteen minutes into the session, Christian Pescatori swept into the lead in the nr 62 JMB Racing Ferrari 360 Modena, with a lap of 2:01.185, which remained fastest until the end of the session. He was followed by the nr 50 Freisinger Yukos Porsche and the nr 99 Freisinger car of Maassen and Luhr, Vasiliev and Fomenko fourth.

The nr 17 JMB Racing Ferrari 575 M Maranello was involved in a collision with the nr 3 Care Racing Ferrari early in the session, which resulted in the loss of a bumper for Karl Wendlinger's car. It was considered to be a racing accident by the stewards. The nr 27 Creation Autosportif Lister Storm, which had been so fast yesterday, failed to match its practice time, to the puzzlement of the team.

Second Qualifying Session

The afternoon qualifying session was significantly slower than the morning one, added to the fact that many of the teams had used both sets of qualifying tyres. This meant that, unusually, there were no improvements whatsoever, and all cars retained the position they had set during the morning. The nr 5 Vitaphone Saleen S7 was fastest, with a time of 1:58.558, over 1.2 seconds ahead of the nr 17 JMB Racing Ferrari 575 M Maranello of Wendlinger and Melo. Peter and Babini, in the nr 11 GPC Giesse Ferrari, were third, with the nr 13 car fourth. In N-GT, the nr 62 GPC Giesse Ferrari continued to set the pace, with a best time of 2:03.789, ahead of the nr 50 and nr 99 cars.

The nr 19 JMB Ferrari 575 M Maranello did not take part, after an engine failure. The car has been given permission to start the race; due to the engine change, it will be at the back of the grid, and the race must be started by Peter Kutemann, the only driver to qualify. Two cars lost their times, the nr 27 Creation Autosportif Lister Storm after it failed the ride height, and the nr 9 Zwaan's Racing car after the front spoiler was found not to comply with regulations.

-fia-

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About this article
Series Blancpain Sprint
Drivers Fabrizio Gollin , Karl Wendlinger , Christian Pescatori , Uwe Alzen , Matteo Bobbi , Peter Kutemann , Paolo Ruberti