Bucharest: Tom Cloet race report

Tom Cloet wins again . and sole leader in the Citation Cup ! Following on from a thunderous start in the new Citation Cup of the FIA- GT championship at Silverstone, Tom Cloet was only too pleased to head off to Bucharest, for the...

Tom Cloet wins again . and sole leader in the Citation Cup !

Following on from a thunderous start in the new Citation Cup of the FIA- GT championship at Silverstone, Tom Cloet was only too pleased to head off to Bucharest, for the second round of this international GT competition, being held on the streets around the Parliament buildings in the heart of the Romanian capital. A new type of challenge for the Belgian driver, who up until now had never had the opportunity to race on an urban circuit. "Whatever happens, this is an enriching experience ", Tom commented at the end of the first practice session."You can't afford to make any mistakes here, or it means a trip straight into the wall! You definitely need a well set-up car here, one a driver can fully count on ."

Even though the SRT team's C5-R run by the Belgian Patrick Selleslagh was somewhat twitchy at the back during qualifying, Cloet once again clocked up some great times for the team, finally clinching 2nd best time in the Citation Cup, a mere .9 hundredths from pole, taken by the JMB Maserati MC12! "I was able to complete three fast laps and my lap times didn't vary by more than 2 tenths of a second per lap. I therefore can't wok out where I might still be able to grab a few additional hundredths. As for the Maserati they took advantage of a drying track just before the end of the session. But it is a two hour race, and there's no reason to be worried. I'm also pretty pleased with my performance as compared to those of my team-mate for this weekend, the Frenchman Gilles Vannelet, the same guy who won the first two heats of the FIA-GT3 at Silverstone, driving a Ferrari."

As defined in the FIA-GT regulations it is the driver who qualifies the car who must also take the start.and in this case under torrential rain! "And in these conditions it is pretty impressive ", Tom explained, "because you can sense the aquaplaning phenomena right through to .6th gear! Even in a straight line the car's all over the place! On top of that it was my first experience at the wheel of a GT1 in wet conditions, but at least everything went off well. As from lap four I got the better of the pole holder Maserati under braking, and built up a handsome lead, averaging some 3 to 4 seconds per lap!" And a supreme Tom Cloet handed over the wheel to newcomer Gilles Vannelet at the end of the first stint, with a 47 second lead. Not knowing the Corvette C5-R, especially in these climatic conditions, the Frenchman took great care not to commit any mistakes. Tom could then take over the 3rd and final stint with full ease considering that the SRT Corvette took the chequered flag one lap ahead of the JMB Maserati of Macari and Aucott.

"Two races, two victories, and sole leader in the Citation Cup ranking.and on top of that one point for 8th place in GT1 ", an enraptured Cloet remarked climbing out of the car."Up until now we are well on course. It also means that I'll be present at Monza, for the 3rd round of the Citation Cup, at the end of June. The idea of being able to win this race within a race really excites me, and I will have to alter my initial race schedule to be able to compete in a maximum number of FIA-GT events between now and the end of the year. Presently Patrick Selleslagh's team is unable to compete in all of the remaining races, but I still reckon we have a good chance of defending our chances for the title. With such team mates as Pertti Kuismanen and Gilles Vannelet, who are experienced and trustworthy drivers it's all looking pretty bright for me. By Jove, it's great to win."

-credit: vf/tc

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About this article
Series Blancpain Sprint
Drivers Tom Cloet , Pertti Kuismanen , Gilles Vannelet