The Ford GT Matech team clinch the title in the European FIA GT3 Championship!
At the close of a spectacular and gripping season the Swiss Matech GT Racing team took the teams' crown on Friday during the final round of the European GT3 Championship, held on the Dubai Autodrome. This circuit in the United Arab Emirates appeared to suit the Ford GTs, as was proven during the free practice sessions, Mortimer- Ellis, Khan-Mutsch and Pirri-Von Gartzen never being out of the top- 10. This was later confirmed during the two qualifying sessions, with Bradley Ellis producing the best lap time in the first session.
On Friday, as per the timing of the United Arab Emirates, the 36 muscle cars took the start of the 60 minutes race, with the Matech GT Racing drivers giving it their all in order to safeguard their chances of winning the drivers' title, and at the same time ensuring that the teams' title would go to the Swiss team. "Another excellent overall result", Martin Bartek, the man in charge of the Matech organisation commented, "with Ellis and Mortimer on the podium, Khan and Mutsch in 4th place and Pirri-Von Gartzen in 8th, this time nothing could stand in our way from popping the champagne cork in the team rankings. I must admit that this European title is the culmination of unrelenting hard work during these last two years. For Matech GT Racing, a team that only saw the light of day in February 2007, it is an extraordinary achievement that clearly illustrates the way in which our car was built, developed and managed. Heartiest congratulations to all the members of the team and our thanks to Ford Racing USA and Ford of Europe for having believed in us!"
As for the drivers' title, the verdict fell on Friday also, with an honourable final 3rd place shared by Thomas Mutsch, Ian Khan and Bradley Ellis, Alex Mortimer finishing 4th in the overall ranking as he had not competed in the first round. Places which these Ford GT tamers might well have improved on this Saturday..however climatic conditions had other ideas, as the final race of the year was purely and simply cancelled as the result of flooding on the Dubai Autodrome! "First and foremost I wish to congratulate Arnaud Peyroles and James Ruffier, who definitely deserve their 2008 title. This duo, which has consistently progressed throughout the championship season, was simply unbeatable here in Dubai", Martin Bartek continued. "However after the 1st race the drivers' vice- champion title remained perfectly in reach. Unfortunately the violent storm that hit the city during Friday night and Saturday morning converted the Autodrome, built entirely without any drainage system, into a water-ski circuit and put an end to all our hopes! For the Matech GT Racing team it is rather saddening that it should end in this manner, especially when one travels so far with the entire team and the back-up required."
A rather rowdy end of season for the European FIA GT3 Championship, a competition that saw the Matech Ford GTs constantly up in the forefront these last two years, clinching no less than 6 victories during the 2008 season alone. With a first international crown amply deserved, all that remains for the Swiss team is to carefully manage the inter season prior to eventually defending their title next year. and who knows, making it perhaps a double by grabbing also the drivers' title. In the meanwhile, champagne!