Brno: Saturday qualifying report

For the first time, the FIA GT Championship saw a Maserati one-two-three in qualifying, with the Brno circuit undoubtedly suiting the MC 12. Philipp Peter took his second GT1 pole of the season for what is effectively his home race, with Andrea ...

For the first time, the FIA GT Championship saw a Maserati one-two-three in qualifying, with the Brno circuit undoubtedly suiting the MC 12. Philipp Peter took his second GT1 pole of the season for what is effectively his home race, with Andrea Bertolini claiming the second place to give JMB Racing the front-row monopoly. Michael Bartels, whose Vitaphone Racing Team was victorious here in 2004, set the third fastest time, ahead of the GLPK Carsport Corvette. The Reiter Engineering Lamborghini was a fine sixth. In GT2, Marc Lieb proved once more why Brno is his lucky circuit, claiming pole position in the nr 66 GruppeM Porsche, despite carrying the maximum penalty weight. Wolfgang Kaufmann was second for Renauer Motorsport, with the second GruppeM car in third.

WEATHER

Hot and sunny again in Brno today, temperatures were due to rise to around 33C today, with a light breeze from the south. However, tomorrow is supposed to be cloudy, with the possibility of showers and thunderstorms, and temperatures at a lower 25C.

PETER ON POLE FOR BRNO

At what is effectively his home race, Philipp Peter, of Austria, claimed pole position for the second time this season. His nr 16 JMB Racing Maserati MC 12 set a time of 1:56.322 around the challenging, winding Brno circuit, in a close qualifying session which saw the top five qualify within one second. "I have a lot of friends, sponsors and family here, so I am delighted to start from pole, for the second time this year," Peter said "I'm also happy to have the team's second car up there alongside me, especially after Karl's crash yesterday. The team did a great job to fix it. I love the track, I love the car and I love the tyres Pirelli has brought us, so we will see what happens tomorrow." The Automotodrom Brno proved to be perfectly adapted to the Maserati cars, with all four qualifying in the top five, and claiming the top three positions of the grid for the first time. Andrea Bertolini qualified the nr 15 JMB car in second place, thanking the JMB and Maserati mechanics for working through the night to repair the car after yesterday's crash. The leading nr 9 Vitaphone Maserati was third, with Bartels and Scheider keen to win tomorrow, the team having claimed the 2004 victory with the Saleen S7. The nr 6 GLPK Carsport Corvette was fourth, Anthony Kumpen being relatively pleased with his time. The Lamborghini Murcielago was sixth and the Larbre Competition Ferrari 550 Maranello seventh.

GRUPPE M TAKES FIFTH POLE OF THE SEASON

British team GruppeM continued its domination of the GT2 category when Marc Lieb claimed pole position in the nr66 Porsche, despite carrying the maximum penalty weight. "This is definitely one of my lucky circuits !" Lieb commented. "I had my first FIA GT race here in Brno three years ago, and I won that race with Stephane Ortelli. It's one of my favourite tracks too, and I'm happy to be on pole. We've made a big step since Imola and the car is going really well on new tyres. Like everyone else we are struggling a bit on old tyres as the circuit is so slippery. It's not easy, but I think we've got a really good race car, and I'm looking forward to tomorrow." Second place went to the nr 63 Renauer Motorsport Team Porsche, qualified by Wolfgang Kaufmann and shared with Manfred Jurasz and Petr Valek, after the nr 88 GruppeM car lost its morning times due to ride-height problems and could not catch up in the hotter afternoon session, having to be content with third in GT2.

GOOD PERFORMANCE FOR BALFE MOTORSPORT IN G2

The only G2 car this weekend, the Balfe Motorsport will start just behind the leading Gruppe M car for tomorrow's grid, Shaun Balfe and Jamie Derbyshire being pleased with the performance of the car, despite it being a new circuit for the Mosler MT 900. "We started the weekend on the back foot, after we had problems in the first free practice session and had to sacrifice most of that. When you're learning the track, it's difficult to make the time up. Even in the last session, we were still changing the car with a couple of minutes to go. I'm actually quite happy, and will go back to the hotel feeling quite good and looking forward to the race," Balfe said.

-fia-

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About this article
Series Blancpain Sprint
Drivers Stéphane Ortelli , Michael Bartels , Wolfgang Kaufmann , Marc Lieb , Shaun Balfe , Andrea Bertolini , Philipp Peter
Teams Larbre Competition , Reiter Engineering