RACE 2 : ASTON MARTIN WINS - RACING BOX LEADS CLASSIFICATIONS
The fourth race of the FIA GT3 European Championship took place under bright sunshine and in front of a good crowd of 29,000 spectators over the weekend. The action-packed race saw the Riverside Corvette of James Ruffier and Thierry Rabineau cross the line first, but a stop and go penalty demoted them to third position overall.
Therefore, the overall win went later to Marcello Zani and Massimiliano Mugelli, driving the BMS Scuderia Italia Aston Martin DBRS9. This was the first Aston Martin win in the new Championship, after previous wins for Ferrari and Dodge Viper. Second were Toni Seiler and Franco Groppi in the second BMS Aston Martin DBRS9.
VICTORY FOR ZANI AND MUGELLI
BMS Scuderia Italia claimed its first win in the FIA GT3 European Championship in Oschersleben today, when Zani and Mugelli were victorious in the second one-hour race, round four of the Championship. This was the first win for Aston Martin, who became the third manufacturer to place its car at the top of the results sheets. "I would like to thank my team for their excellent work, as that's what made the difference," Zani said afterwards. Ruffier and Rabineau were the leading Corvette car in third position, with Bornhauser and Blanchemain winning the Dodge Cup in 7th. Winner of the Porsche Cup was Tech 9, with Deverikos and Edwards finishing 11th. AF Corse's nr 76 duo of Palma and Sperati were the leading Maserati GranSport Light in 12th, while the best Lamborghini was the nr 35 S-Berg Racing Gallardo of Basseng and Jirik. Scott and Stanton were the leading Ascari at the finish, despite starting from the penultimate row of the grid.
RACING BOX LEAD BOTH DRIVERS AND TEAMS CLASSIFICATION
After winning yesterday's race and finishing 5th in today's race, Italian drivers Stefano Livio and Andrea Ceccato have taken the lead of the drivers classification, with 24 points. They are now six points ahead of former leaders after Silverstone, Hector Lester and Allan Simonsen. Livio and Ceccato are also leading the Dodge Cup ahead of their team mates Stefano Zonca and Marco Cioci.
Their team, Racing Box, is also leading the Teams Classification with 38 points, further to yesterday's win and today's fourth and sixth positions.
In the Porsche Cup, Paul van Splunteren and James Murphy have taken the lead with 24 points ahead of French drivers, Marc Cattaneo and Morgan Moulin-Traffort.
The Aston Martin Cup is led by today's race winners, Massimiliano Mugelli, with 24 points.
James Ruffier, in the Riverside Corvette, made an excellent start from pole, pulling away from of Marcello Zani (BMS Aston Martin), Marc Sourd (Riverside Corvette) and John Heinrici (Carsport Callaway Corvette).
Campbell, driving the third Riverside Corvette and third on the grid, dropped back to sixth position. Until the eighth lap, the classification remained unchanged. Meanwhile, Andrew Thompson in the Damax Ascari KZ1R was gradually climbing the field, from 17th on the grid to eighth position on lap 7.
On lap 8, John Heinrici overtook Marc Sourd and placed his Corvette Z06 GT3 in third position. But James Ruffier was still showing the way although the gap on Zani was only of 5'533 seconds.
On lap 11, Andrew Thompson's progress up the field was halted when his DAMAX Ascari went straight on in a kerb, damaging his car. Three laps further, Diego Alessi at the wheel of the AF Corse Maserati went out and hit the wall. In the following lap, Patrick Bornhauser at the wheel of Racing Logistic Dodge lost a position and was fighting to keep his 7th position, as well as the lead of the Dodge Cup. At the same time, Livio, at the wheel of the nr 27 Racing Box Dodge moved up to 10th position. After the compulsory driver changeovers, Jean-Luc Blanchemain, at the wheel of the Racing Logistic Dodge, managed to get out in third position, benefiting from the pit lane traffic jams. Franco Groppi, in the nr 24 BMS Aston Martin, emerged in 4th.
The Riverside Corvette driven by Thierry Rabineau was still first, even if the gap between him and Massimiliano Mugelli, who had taken over from Zani at the wheel of the BMS Aston, was reducing lap after lap. Newcomer and French rockstar David Hallyday improved throughout his stint from 17th to 6th.
In the last minutes of the race, the race leader was awarded a stop and go penalty for not starting the engine alone. This was converted into a time penalty of 30 seconds demoting the car to third, although they still finished on the podium as the leaders of the Corvette Cup. The eventual race winners were therefore Zani and Mugelli in the BMS Aston Martin, taking the first Aston Martin win in the FIA GT3 European Championship.
Marcello Zani, nr 23 BMS Scuderia Italia Aston Martin
"I've done the maximum with my car during all my stint. I would like to thank my team for their excellent work, and that's what made the difference. The other Aston Martin teams were not as fast as us, so I am very happy for my team."
Massimiliano Mugelli, nr 23 BMS Scuderia Italia Aston Martin
"When I joined the race, I had about 20 seconds delay! I did everything I could, I drove very fast (faster is not possible I think!). At the end of the race, there was only a two-second gap between Thierry and me ! Of course, this performance wouldn't have been possible without the hard work of my team. I would also like to thank Marcello for his performance."
Patrick Bornhauser, nr 10 Racing Logistic Dodge Viper
"We made a careful race. We were on the 9th position on the starting grid, so it was not very easy at the beginning. I followed Marc Sourd during a big part of my stint, but he didn't open to let me pass, even if I was faster than him. When I got into the pits, I was fifth. We did the driver change pretty well because Jean-Luc came back to the race in the third position. It was really hard to drive our Viper this week-end because of the front axle. We have a lot to do to improve that mechanical point. At the moment, it is impossible for us to fight against the Corvette."
Jean-Luc Blanchemain, nr 10 Racing Logistic Dodge Viper
"Patrick gave me a good car. I tried to catch my rivals but they were very fast. So I ran a waiting race, I should say. As Patrick said, the car was very hard to drive for me too. We wanted to correct the under-steer, but now we have a very strong over-steer, so it's a bit annoying!"
James Ruffier, nr 19 Riverside Corvette Z06
"The race was very good for us. At the beginning, I took a lead over the other drivers but it was not so easy. There was a lot of gravel and dust on the track so it was quite hard to deal with it. Thierry came here just to do a one-time race, and he did pretty well. It's also very important to have a good co-driver. He understood perfectly how to manage the traffic and the other cars. I think that a lot of people had problems during the race, with their engines or tyres, but we avoided that, luckily. Since Silverstone we had a lot of problems with our car. The mechanics spent a lot of time fixing the car, so I am also very happy for them. I would also like to thank Corvette who has been very reactive technically. It was a big deal for them because they arrive late in the championship, but they managed to do a very good job!
Thierry Rabineau, nr 19 Riverside Corvette Z06
"I came here just to do one race. James made a very good first stint and he gave me a great car, so I just tried to keep my advance on Massimilano Mugelli. It was a big challenge to pass the last ones, maybe because I am not used to it!"
David Hallyday, nr 30 Pouchelon Racing Dodge Viper Coupe
"This week-end I replaced a driver who was ill. The Pouchelon Team is small, but very serious and efficient! It was a pleasure to run with them this week-end. I am quite satisfied with our results here, because I couldn't test the car before, so it was a big challenge! My co-driver started in 11th position, and unfortunately spun. So I started from the 16th or 17th position. I did pretty well and manage to get up to 6th position at the end of the race, so I am happy with that! I think I will be at Mugello, so I hope I will do a good performance there. Apart from that, I have two great projects for next year, but I prefer to wait a bit before talking about that."
Dimitris Deverikos, nr 9 Tech9 Motorsport Porsche 997 GT3
"Yesterday I had a crash with the Ferrari of Hector Lester (Ferrari JMB Racing), so today I still have some problems with my tyres. I lost 10 seconds in the pit-lane. I would have finished 8th if I hadn't made that mistake--"
Jurgen Barth, nr 3 Larbre Competition Porsche 997 GT3
"This is the first time in my life that I have started from last ! But at least I was not last at the chequered flag ! The race was good fun. And it gives you a different perspective when you drive in the race, which is useful as part of the organisation. But it was great fun - everyone loves it, the spectators and the drivers. And I scored some points in the Porsche Cup !"