EU3: Portimao: Callaway Competition weekend summary

Corvette takes double podium at Portimao Successful weekend for customer team Marc Sourd Racing Leingarten / Portimao (P), 13.09.2009. [FIA GT3 EC] With the best result in the 2009 FIA GT3 European championship in this season, the...

Corvette takes double podium at Portimao

Successful weekend for customer team Marc Sourd Racing

Leingarten / Portimao (P), 13.09.2009. [FIA GT3 EC] With the best result in the 2009 FIA GT3 European championship in this season, the Corvette Z06.R GT3, built and developed by Callaway Competition in Germany, started in the second half of the season. At the new and very demanding "Autodromo Internacional Algarve" at Portimao in Portugal, Diego Alessi and Luca Pirri took two podium positions in a Marc Sourd Racing-Corvette Z06.R GT, prepared and serviced by Callaway Competition.

Alessi und Pirri had to start into Sunday's race from the back of the grid, as they sat out qualifying for the first race: "We have to start the race with the tyres on which we qualified. So we decided to save our tyres in Qualifying and start from the back of the grid," Luca Pirri explained the strategy for the first race.

The trick played out well, Pirri could quickly make his way forward from the back of the grid. In the final minutes of the race, his team colleague Alessi was already up to fifth place, when he outbraked two competitors and finally finished third, taking the first podium for Corvette in this years FIA GT3 European championship.

"The special character of this track suits our car very well", Diego Alessi explained after the race. "Our biggest competitors in the first half of the season have been the stewards of the FIA who made our races really difficult as they gave us the wrong tyres for our car. Finally, with the hard tyres, we have a chance to fight for positions on the track."

In the second race, Alessi had a magnificent start. From position nine on the grid, the Italian shot into third on the first lap. Luca Pirri, who took over the Corvette for the second half of the race, eventually gained one position and finished second. "The start was the key to our success", said a happy Diego Alessi after the race. "This allowed us to run trouble free with the leaders at the front."

Bad luck suffered the reigning European champion Arnaud Peyroles and Juergen von Gartzen in the Corvette Z06.R GT of Callaway Competition. In the first race von Gartzen/Peyroles finished 13. after suffering problems with the set up of the Corvette. After some set up-changes, the car was much better for the second race. From 18. of the grid, von Gartzen was already on eight position after three laps. Then a small stone hit the oil cooler of the Corvette, von Gartzen had to retire. "It is really disappointing, as in the second race our car was great, we could have achieved a very good result", von Gartzen said.

In the second Corvette of Marc Sourd Racing, Callaway driver Luca Ludwig debuted in a perfect and impressive way in the European championship, sharing the car with Marc Sourd. In the first race Ludwig started tenth and handed over the Corvette to Sourd in eight position for the second half of the race. Sourd finally finished ninth. In the second race Ludwig/Sourd only started 23., but went in a perfect and strong race up to position six.

"Today we have profited from the hard tyres which we are allowed to use since the last race", Callaway-team boss Ernst Woehr explained. "Without curtailing the magnificent performance of our drivers, the warm temperatures have deflected somewhat of our problems with the tyres. We now may use the hard tyres, but the FIA still does not allow us to tune our car right for these tyres."

-credit: cc

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About this article
Series Blancpain Sprint
Drivers Alessi Diego , Marc Sourd , Arnaud Peyroles , Luca Ludwig