AND NOW FOR SPA
After the flat and fast Silverstone Circuit, and the twisting corners of Oschersleben, the teams and drivers taking part in the inaugural season of the FIA GT3 European Championship will be heading for Belgium, and the beautiful, challenging and long circuit of Spa-Francorchamps. The two one-hour races will take place during what will definitely be the event of the year at the Belgian circuit. With 124,000 people attending the Proximus 24 Hours of Spa in 2005, this year's crowds will be able to enjoy the non-stop action from the GT3 cars, which should put on a wonderful show on the spectacular circuit.
Oschersleben lived up to the high standards set by Silverstone's first two races, with the added bonus of blue skies and sunshine ! Pouchelon Racing's Anthony Reid and Riverside's James Ruffier claimed pole position for rounds 3 and 4 respectively, meaning four different pole setters in three different makes of car to date ! In the first race, Racing Box led a Dodge Viper one-two, with Andrea Ceccato and Stefano Livio victorious ahead of the Pouchelon Racing Viper of Anthony Reid and Gilles Duqueine. They were followed by two Corvettes : the Riverside Z06 of Rabineau and Ruffier, and the Callaway Corvette car of Uli Berberich-Martini and John Heinricy.
Blanchemain and Bornhauser were fifth in the Racing Logistic Viper, with the Damax Ascari KZ1R in sixth. With AF Corse's Maserati 7th, and the S-Berg Lamborghini Gallardo 8th, there were five manufacturers and eight different teams in the top eight - showing quite how varied this Championship is.
In round four, the Aston Martin DBRS9 claimed its first win in the FIA GT3 European Championship, with BMS Scuderia Italia's Marcello Zani and Massimiliano Mugelli finishing ahead of their teammates Toni Seiler and Franco Groppi. Third place went to the Riverside Corvette of James Ruffier and Thierry Rabineau. Zonca and Cioci , in the Racing Box car, led a group of five Dodge Vipers, including fifth placed Livio and Ceccato, who took the Chamipionship lead.
Livio and Ceccato therefore became the second pair to lead the Championship, with a lead of six points ahead of Allan Simonsen and Hector Lester. Zonca and Cioci are now third, ahead of Ruffier and Rabineau. In the Teams classification, Racing Box lead JMB and BMS Scuderia Italia.
For Spa, up to 48 cars are expected to head up the famous Raidillon, with eight manufacturers represented : Ascari KZ1R, Aston Martin DBRS9, Corvette Z06, Dodge Viper, Ferrari 430 GT3 Challenge, Lamborghini Gallardo, Maserati Gran Sport Light, and Porsche 997 Cup. Additionally, a number of the cars will not head home after the second race is finished.
Instead, they will line up on the starting grid for the Proximus 24 Hours of Spa, with a number of crews made up from regulars in the FIA GT3 European Championship. It will be quite a challenge for the teams, but a fascinating weekend in store for the spectators who will flock to the Belgian Ardennes for a great weekend of motorsport.
FIA GT3 EUROPEAN CHAMPIONSHIP - WORLD MOTOR SPORT COUNCIL DECISIONS
When the World Motor Sport Council met on July 6th, a number of clarifications and modifications were made to the Sporting Regulations of the FIA GT3 European Championship as follows :
* 16a : Points for the Drivers' Championship will be awarded regardless of the number of cars entered by the team or the manufacturers
* 16b : Points will be awarded for the Teams classification only if all three cars entered by one and the same team appear on the FIA list of cars allowed to take part in free practice
* 16c : Manufacturers Cup : If, among the six cars entered by a manufacturer by the closing date for entries, a car does not report for scrutineering or administrative checks in an event for any other reason than force majeure, an accident in a previous event of the Championship or prior notification with the entry, the best placed-car at the end of that event will be awarded only the 6 points normally assigned to 2nd place. If a second car is missing, the best placed car at the end of the event will be awarded only the 4 points normally assigned to 3rd place and so on.
* 36g : If a manufacturer is represented by few than 2 teams, none of the cars can score points in the Championship