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Driver comments, highlights on 2006 season

ANDREA PICCINI "It has been a great season. We started with a brand new team, we knew the team was very well-prepared, as DTM standards are very high, but the FIA GT is very different. It was therefore good that Jean-Denis and I knew each other...

ANDREA PICCINI
"It has been a great season. We started with a brand new team, we knew the team was very well-prepared, as DTM standards are very high, but the FIA GT is very different. It was therefore good that Jean-Denis and I knew each other very well, and knew the Championship, as we could help a bit. We lost a few points at the beginning as we didn't have any testing before the start of the season. Vitaphone with the Maserati were a very well-trained team, continuing from the year before while for us, everything was new. We were only missing a bit of preparation. For the rest, I think we did a very good job. We were fighting for the full 24 hours in the Proximus 24 Hours of Spa.

It was a real shame to lose, but that's the way things go. It was a fantastic race. After Spa, we had a slightly weak period, when we had a lot of weight. The worst race was Adria, as until then we could have still won the Championship. Luckily we could finish with a nice win.

Jean-Denis had a fantastic season - in Dubai, he was really quick, with no mistakes, and he set the fastest lap so far during his stint. As for next year, we're working hard and we hope to race together again - it's our main project. But we are very good friends anyway, so we'll keep in touch no matter what happens."

JAREK JANIS
"The third place in the Championship is really nice and I am very happy with it. It is important to have a good feeling and from this point of view I am happy because I was quick everywhere. It is never easy to get a good result in the final standings because you have to keep a high performance level for the whole season. Thanks also to the teams Zakspeed -- where I raced for the majority of the season -- and Race Alliance where they gave me the chance to race in the last race.

As for the best race fo the season? Brno, that is for sure. Your home race is always more difficult because you feel bigger pressure. Moreover, I had not enjoyed best fortune at Brno in my last two starts. I had not finished either the DTM or F3000 races there. My joy was even bigger as a result, I rate this victory very high in my list. It is always very special to win at home."

SASCHA BERT
"My first contact with the FIA GT Championship was at Paul Ricard HTTT, for the first test of the season. It was really great. I was impressed by the corner speed of the cars, and also by the track. Everything was new to me, but those two days made me really happy. As a driver you gain confidence when you are quick, and you know the team and car are working well.

I have really, really enjoyed the season. I'm back in the middle of motorsport now, and people know me, respect what I have done, and the fact that I have been accepted in the Championship was also a high moment. The team, who are very experienced, brought the whole package under control: the tyre temperature, tyre changes, setting up the car as quickly as possible. Zakspeed did this really well, and this was why we were so quick. I am sure that no matter what car you put in the Zakspeed garage, it would be fast! A main point of our success you can give to Peter Zakowski. I really have to thank him for the trust he placed in me. It is also thanks to him that we had such great results: he is a real motorsport expert."

CHRISTOPHE BOUCHUT
"2006 was an interesting year, which allowed me to add another car to those I have driven during my career, the Lamborghini Murcielago. But not only the car, I also got to know new people with All inkl GT. There is still a lot of work needed to make the car progress further, and before it can hope to win a race. But I believe in it. The FIA has helped us a lot, and it is in everyone's interest to have this wonderful car on the track.

I have been involved in the FIA GT Championship since the beginning, and I am very attached to it. Whenever I hear of teams thinking of starting new GT programmes, I try to encourage them, and that is what happened this year with ALL Inkl. This is a small, friendly team which reminded me of Kremer Racing, with whom I spent five seasons and where I enjoyed racing. I am also interested in the work of developing the Lamborghini. I am pleased to have raced in the FIA GT with the car this year, and even if we did not manage to achieve what we hoped in Adria, we still achieved unexpected performances for this car : the fourth place in qualifying is the best result for the Murcielago to date!"

LUKAS LICHTNER-HOYER and PHILIPP PETER for RACE ALLIANCE
"A win is obviously the best motivation and affirmation for any racing team, especially since it wasn't by a fluke but by continuing the team's upward trend since Le Castellet and Dijon, where we finished second. Mugello was a tough race because of the weather conditions, and it's a special accolade that we were able to beat the Maseratis on their home track."

"We were all very enthusiastic at the beginning of the season. An Austrian team with Austrian drivers -- just splendid. Unfortunately it then took some time before everything worked out, but that's just the order of the day for every new team. However we learned from our mistakes and got things going better and better. And that's when success started to happen. It's just a shame that the championship is already over!"

TIM MULLEN
Mullen was named as the No.1 British GT driver of the 2006 season by Autosport (Nov 16, 2006). The magazine said: "He may have been in the best car, but the Northern Irishman again showed his class. Mullen was able to control races comfortably, but could also turn up the wick when required and will surely be seen in more international GT events next season after impressing in his FIA GT campaign in 2006." Tim was also nominated for the Autosport Club Driver of the Year Award.

BERT LONGIN
"it was really an exciting year, I had some very nice battles. For the whole team, I think we missed the start again. We don't want to do it again like this. Normally, we will continue with the C6, because now we understand the car very well, we understand the tyres, the engineers and drivers understand it too. I think that if we are in the same shape as the last five races, we will be in a very good shape for the first race in China.

We won in China last time, so we'll just have to win again! But really, this gives me a very positive drive. It motivates you a lot more when you feel that the complete team is behind you. I've finalized 99% of all of my contracts for the next season, so with my head, I'm already in China! There are still three months to go, but I already want to be there! I know we'll be very competitive."

EMMANUEL COLLARD
"Globally the season was a bit disappointing, but it was the first year with the Pirelli tyres, we did not really have any major developments with the car, and we were up against eight of the new Ferrari cars, so things were a bit complicated. But each time we had the opportunity, we didn't do too badly, especially at the start of the season. We had two podiums and a win in the rain in Mugello. It was a shame in Dubai, as the Pirelli tyres worked really well and we could have finished the season on a high note, but the power steering went. We were rather alone up against the Ferrari competition. But I think that next year will be a different story!"

-credit: fia-gt

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