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Dubai: Free practice quotes

Gabriele Gardel - nr 1 BMS Scuderia Italia Ferrari 550 Maranello : "The track is really nice. I think they've done a wonderful job with it. It's slow and fast and tricky - I love it! I'm very happy with our car here as well. It's very fast, and ...

Gabriele Gardel - nr 1 BMS Scuderia Italia Ferrari 550 Maranello : "The track is really nice. I think they've done a wonderful job with it. It's slow and fast and tricky - I love it! I'm very happy with our car here as well. It's very fast, and we're continuously improving. We're still working on the set-up, because the sand is quite a lot. There's just one correct line, and it's difficult if you drive a bit off. But I'm pleased to be here, and I think we can do a good job!"

Fabrizio Gollin - nr 2 BMS Scuderia Ferrari 550 Maranello : "The problem we had today were the 150 kilos ballast. It's very difficult to drive with all that extra weight. It's a very nice circuit, but the sand is a problem - and it's worse for us than for the others. If we make it through the race, a position among the top five will be possible, but it's very difficult to stay on the track here. We have cooling overalls, because the temperatures in the car climb up to 70C, but it's still too hot--"

Val Hillebrand - nr 9 Zwaan's Racing Chrysler Viper GTS : "I did a couple of laps to put a lap in, but the heat was getting so hard that I couldn't do a second one. The problem is that there's no circulation of air. The condition is no problem, because physically, it's not that hard. It's just that you don't get any fresh air and your brain starts doing funny stuff. We'll have to see what we're going to do about that. But the car is feeling really good. I think the track suits the Viper car really really well, and we see what we can do."

Fabio Babini - nr 11 GPC Giesse : "I am happy. The set-up of the car went well on such a new circuit. I am pleased with the times we have set, and we are up with the BMS and Maserati cars. The grip has improved a lot since yesterday. Then, you really had to stay on the racing line, but now you can look for other possibilities. There are a lot of fast corners where you can gain some time, but you need to have a bit of a margin. It's a very nice circuit, very hot but good."

Tarso Marques - nr 17 JMB Racing Ferrari 575 M Maranello : "It's been a really good weekend so far. I'm really confident for the race, and hope that it'll be a little bit better than the last one. Oschersleben was okay, but I hope we can do better here. It will be hard for everybody, though, especially for us. Our car is very hot inside, and it will be hard to drive it. Everything about GT racing is still quite new for me. It's completely different. I'm really enjoying it, though. Everybody is really friendly, and I really enjoyed the race. To be honest, I thought the race was supposed to be boring because it's longer and nobody fights for position, but I was wrong. It's really good, I really enjoy it!"

Andrea Bertolini - nr 33 AF Corse Maserati MC12 : "Every race is important for the team now. I'm very happy with the car this weekend, it's consistent and the tyres are good. I think it will be possible to get a good race result. Anyhow, the race is going to be very hard! There might even be a big surprise. After about ten or twenty laps, the cars get incredibly hot. The track is fun to drive. The only problem is that the grip changes every lap. Between the start of the session and the end, the lap times were two seconds faster with the same set of tyres."

HH Sheikh Maktoum - nr 35 Scuderia Veregra Chrysler Viper GTS : "I am enjoying the FIA GT Championship so far, it's a good atmosphere. Coming to Dubai is a bit challenging this first time, as the track is hosting its first event, and there are bound to be minor problems - but as long as they learn from their mistakes and they improve, it's great. I've been in a Viper before, I've had some practice with it at Paul Ricard and Jerez. I like the car, it's challenging to drive - I think it's probably one of the most challenging cars to drive, compared to some new cars which are out there. I'm having a good time. It's all going okay. The important thing for me is to carry my country's flag and to participate in the first major event at the circuit. I am happy to be here, to have A1 on the car, and for everyone to see that the CEO and founder of the A1 Grand Prix series is actually taking part."

Stephane Ortelli - nr 50 Freisinger Yukos Motorsport Porsche 996 GT3-RS : "It's a pleasure to race here because the circuit is really great. The design of the track is fantastic, which gives us many possibilities to make a difference in terms of driving and in the race it will also be interesting for overtaking. The track is still a bit slippery, because it's the first time our cars are running here but it will get better and better through the weekend. Now the only real problem is the heat in the car! I don't even want to think about the race. It's like to survive two laps in a row, then stop, then three laps in a row. Going out for a whole stint will be hard, though. We'll see!"

Jamie Melo - nr 62 GPC Giesse Ferrari 360 Modena : The car is good. The balance is good, but we have a little problem with the slow corners. There's a lot of understeer in the corners, but tomorrow, it will be better. We can try changing something in the set-up to correct that. I drove the Ferrari 360 at Spa, so I'm already used to it."

Christian Ried - nr. 69 Proton Competition Porsche 996 : "We practiced yesterday with the medical crews how to get the driver out of the car in case of an accident. For two hours, I had to get into the car and let myself be dragged out again. We already did that in Donington. It was quite interesting to see how things were going, in case something happened - which, of course, everyone hopes it will not. But if it did, I wouldn't be concerned now. I think we all know what to do now and they're doing a great job. We've had some set-up problems today in free practice, but I'm sure we can work those out."

Sascha Maassen - nr 99 Freisinger Motorsport Porsche 996 GT3-RS : "So far, we're learning the track and improving the car. The track is quite fun I must say, and amazing facilities! So we're enjoying ourselves; just the heat is the biggest problem we have. We're running with 75 kilos, but it's not too bad. We're fighting against our teammates - also with 75 kilos on board - so we'll see--"

-fia-

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