First victory for Pirri and Von Gartzen ! After two highly exceptional meetings at Silverstone and Monza, the Swiss Matech team were on hand this weekend for the FIA GT3 competition held at the technical circuit of Oschersleben. But this...
First victory for Pirri and Von Gartzen !
After two highly exceptional meetings at Silverstone and Monza, the Swiss Matech team were on hand this weekend for the FIA GT3 competition held at the technical circuit of Oschersleben. But this time back on track under rather different conditions; as the result of new ballast imposed by the International Federation. This could be compared to holding victory to ransom and which was undoubtedly going to complicate matters for the Ford GT drivers, as already transpired during the first free practice session. "It goes without saying that this additional 140 kilos of ballast, as compared to the initial weight of the car is definitely felt ", Martin Bartek, the man in charge of the Matech GT Racing team commented. "In roughly one month the car has had its weight increased by 100 kilos, which in turn has an important effect on the gentlemen-drivers in GT3, who quite logically find it difficult to adapt to such weight differences, and therefore handling, in such a short period of time ."
However this did not deter Thomas Mutsch from extending his limits as also those of the car, by clocking up pole position for the second round at Oschersleben. An additional pole for the Matech team, and full proof that notwithstanding the latest regulatory ballast, the Ford GT is and remains one of the international references in the GT3 category.
The first race of the weekend on this German circuit was to start off badly for Matech GT Racing, losing the cars of Kahn-Mutsch and Ellis-Mortimer right from the first braking zone, as the result of a particularly destructive pile up for the Ford GTs. All hopes now lay on the remaining power beast of Luca Pirri and Jurgen Von Gartzen, who drove a perfect race, right through to finding themselves in 2nd place overall, then taking over the lead and retaining their advantage. "After this chaotic start we were fully decided to play it safe ", Luca Pirri explained."But when I found myself in 2nd spot I put on the pressure and went all out for victory. Something we managed to achieve with Jurgen ! This is our first success at the wheel of the Ford GT, and following its two victories at the beginning of the season the car is well on the way to greater successes ." An even more positive result as the Pirri and Von Gartzen car had been involved in an incident during the free practice sessions, with the Swiss team's mechanics working miracles so that the weekend could follow its course as planned .
Having set off from pole in Sunday's race, Thomas Mutsch unfortunately experienced a flat left front tyre in the first lap! Having passed by the pitlane the German set off more determined than ever registering some remarkable lap times. Notwithstanding Thomas Mutsch having set the fastest race lap, the #20 finished the race fairly far behind, as the time lost with a wheel change during a one hour race can, never be regained. The #21 driven by the British pair experienced brake problems probably as the result of an accident incurred during the first race held the previous day. However they still managed to finish in 17th place. Von Gartzen at the wheel of the #19, handed over the drive to Pirri in 5th position at the half- way mark, but all hopes were dashed when a Ferrari spun sideways immediately in front of Pirri. The impact was unavoidable.
It is also worth mentioning that the Matech team were present with two Ford Mustang FR500GT3s in the capable hands of De Doncker- Jeannette and Bera-Graham. Unable to gain much advantage on this rather technical circuit, the Mustangs had a difficult time, Bera and Graham saving the honours in the first leg by taking the chequered flag in 22nd place.