Winners of the second race in Silverstone, Racing Box's Stefano Livio and Andrea Ceccato put in another dominant performance in Oschersleben to win the first race of the weekend in their Dodge Viper Competition Coupe, after an action-packed hour around the twisting, 3.667 km German circuit. They have now taken the lead of the Drivers classification.
SECOND WIN FOR CECOTTO AND LIVIO -- RACING BOX TAKES CHAMPIONSHIP LEAD
Driving the nr 27 Racing Box Dodge Viper Coupe, Livio and Ceccato crossed the line 1.5 seconds ahead of the nr 29 Pouchelon Racing Viper Coupe of Gilles Duqueine and Anthony Reid, who resisted pressure for the last seven laps from James Ruffier in the nr 19 Riverside Corvette Z06.
There were three Vipers and two Corvettes in the top five, with the nr 16 Carsport Callaway Corvette fourth, and the nr 10 Racing Logistic Viper of Blanchemain and Bornhauser fifth.
The leading, and only surviving Ascari, was sixth, with Adams and Thompson taking third place on the podium. Maserati was next, with the nr 77 GranSport Light of Cerrai and Jirik eighth.
Winners of the first race at Silverstone, Simonsen and Lester were the leading JMB Racing Ferrari drivers in tenth, just ahead of Machitsky and Cocker in the nr 44 Barwell Motorsport Aston Martin DBRS9 car. The top Porsche was twelfth, with Marc Cattaneo and Morgan Moullin Traffort in the Auto Sport Promotion car.
Livio and Ceccato have now taken the lead in the provisional FIA GT3 European Drivers Championship, two points ahead of Simonsen and Lester, with Duqueine and Reid third. They also lead the Dodge Manufacturers Cup. In the Teams classification, Racing Box is in the lead, ahead of JMB Racing, with DAMAX third.
In the individual cups, Paul van Splunteren and James Murphy lead the Porsche Cup after three races, while Martin Rich and Piers Johnson have retained the lead in Aston Martin cup, ahead of Machitsky and Cocker.
Starting from pole, the nr 29 Pouchelon Viper kept the lead at the start, while the nr 34 Ferrari gained a place to go second ahead of the Ascari. Duqueine began to pull away, setting the fastest lap in the process. The nr 46 Ascari regained second on lap four, with the nr 44 Aston Martin and the nr 26 Viper close behind.
There were a sequence of fastest laps as first Cioci in the Viper, then Turvey in the nr 47 Ascari and Mugelli in the nr 23 BMS DBRS9 went fastest. The nr 46 Ascari dropped back to 9th position on lap 9 after contact, while Duqueine continued to lead.
A number of minor incidents brought out the safety car on lap 13. With oil on the track and cars to be removed, the safety car stayed out on the track until lap 20. During this time all the cars made their obligatory pit stop and driver changeover, making for an extremely busy pit-lane. When the track went green again, the nr 27 Racing Box Viper was in the lead, ahead of the nr 29 Pouchelon Viper, and the nr 19 Riverside Corvette. This was the start of a thrilling battle for second, with Ruffier chasing Reid nose to tail, to the delight of the spectators. With the two fighting cars closing on Livio in the leading Viper, Ruffier eventually settled for third and a podium position as leading Corvette.
Stefano Livio -- nr 27 Racing Box Dodge Viper : "The race was very good, I think. However, there was a problem on the timing screens, and our car did not show up, so although I knew we were in the lead, no-one else did. The team did a very good job, and I am very happy."
Andrea Ceccata - nr 27 Racing Box Dodge Viper : "The start was very hard, especially at the start, and I was pushed a lot. I am very happy for this victory, our second this year, and my thanks to the team for their hard work."
James Ruffier -- nr 19 Riverside Corvette Z06 : "It was a nice race, difficult but really correct. It was difficult for me to overtake, as the track is rather slow, so it is hard to brake late without risking to crash your car. I chose to stay in that position and hoped that Anthony would make a mistake, but he didn't. The car is still competitive, but it is also starting to be more reliable. We are getting to know the car more. It was fun, but I would have loved to overtake. Tomorrow is another race !"
Thierry Rabineau -- nr 19 Riverside Corvette Z06 : "This was rather special for me, as I only heard I'd be driving on Thursday. The start was quite difficult, and I lost a few places. When I saw the safety car I came in right away, and handed the car over to James. It's not bad for a last-minute drive."
Nick Adams -- nr 46 Damax Ascari KZ1R : "The race started well. I got jumped at the start by a Ferrari and it took me three laps to get past him. We were chasing the leader down when we got taken out by a Viper. When I handed over to Andrew we were down in 12th, and he recovered to 6th"
Andrew Thompson - nr 46 Damax Ascari KZ1R : " It seemed to take me a long time to catch up with the safety car. But when the race restarted, the car was handling very well, as it had been all weekend, but I had to push very hard to catch up with the cars. I ended up spinning. But I was driving as hard as I could to get as close to the front as possible. There were a lot of cars out there, you were catching up with backmarkers."
Marc Cattaneo -- nr 6 Auto Sport Promotion Porsche 997 Cup : "The start was really hard ! After some laps, the safety-car entered. The engine of an Aston Martin exploded, so I had some oil on my windscreen. At the driver-change, I was 14th, but we lost a lot of time in the pits because of the traffic jam. After, Morgan made a great end to the race and we're now on the podium."
Marc Basseng -- nr 35 S-Berg Lamborghini Murcielago : "This is a new experience for me to participate to the GT3 driving a Lamborghini Mucielago. My boss called me on Thursday at 17 p.m. and asked me to run the race this week-end! It was a hard fight and there is high competition at this class. We have to do a lot of work on the car, especially concerning the front axle. Of course, we also have to repair the damage as so many cars hit me! It was a nice race but a lot of stress! We made a good time, we had a good driver change so I hope tomorrow we'll do the same !"
Jonathan Cocker -- nr 44 Barwell Aston Martin DBRS9 : "We made a great start and got up to 4th, with good lap times. We'd planned an early pit stop so I' d get out with the slower drivers and put in some good laps when they pitted, to pull out a lead. But the safety car messed that up. We lost a lot of time in the pits, and then I got stuck in traffic. That's just the way things go. I hope we get better luck next time."