Best result of the season for Fischer Racing Eskelinen/Gruber took fourth place at PortimÃ£o in Portugal Paderborn/PortimÃ£o (P), 19.09.10 [FIA GT3-European Championship] Fischer Racing scored the best result of the season so far at the fifth ...
Best result of the season for Fischer Racing Eskelinen/Gruber took fourth place at Portimão in Portugal
Paderborn/Portimão (P), 19.09.10 [FIA GT3-European Championship] Fischer Racing scored the best result of the season so far at the fifth round of the 2010 FIA GT3 European Championship at Portimão in Portugal. Mikko Eskelinen (FIN) and Florian Gruber (GER) drove to a strong fourth place in the Fischer Racing-Ford GT in the first of two races at the wonderful Algarve coast. In Sunday's second race, the Ford GT retired after a collision shortly before the end of the race.
Mikko Eskelinen built the foundation for the success in the first race already in the Qualifying. The Finn used his track experience from winter tests at Portugal and put the Ford GT on the ninth place of the grid, his best qualifying result of the 2010 season. In the race, Eskelinen could maintain the ninth position until handing over the GT to teammate Florian Gruber, despite Eskelinen had a spun, after an Audi hit the Ford. In the second part of the race Gruber, who replaced regular driver Christoffer Nygaard who skipped the Portuguese round due to family commitments, had no problem to get used to the Ford GT again in his first race of the season with Fischer Racing. Gruber worked trough the field and gained position for position and finally finished in a great fourth place, only about one second behind the third placed car.
"It was a great race, we only briefly missed the podium", Eskelinen was happy after the race. "When I came here, I had the feeling we can be on the podium. My start was really good, but in the first part of the race, an Audi hit me in the back and I spun. Without that spun, we would have been on the podium today."
"The race was really hard for me today, I had lot of fights and it was really hot in the car", Florian Gruber said after the race. "When Mikko had the contact with the Audi, I suppose something broke with the exhaust, because due to that hot gas one part of the gear selector melted and I had to bring the gear stick to neutral position by hand. That was really tough, but I was still able to fight. If the race would have been only one lap longer, what could have a claimed a podium finish today."
In the second race on Sunday, Gruber and Eskelinen were again chasing for championship points, when Gruber again drove a great stint and brought the Ford GT from 16th up the tenth position. But in the penultimate lap, Eskelinen mad contact with a competitor, when fighting for the ninth place and had to retire.
After the good result in Portugal, the next race of Fischer Racing in the 2010 FIA GT3-European Championship will be the final round at the 10. October at Zolder in Belgium.