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Series Argentina qualifying race report, drivers' title sealed

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FIA GT1 World Championship press release

Corvette wins, Nissan pair celebrate title

Michael Krumm and Lucas Luhr in the JRM Nissan GT-R No.23 wrapped up the 2011 drivers' title with second place in the Qualifying Race at San Luis.

The race was won by the No.11 Exim Bank Team China Corvette of Yelmer Buurman and Francesco Pastorelli - Corvette's first win of the season - on their maiden GT1 outing.

In a typically frantic start, Buurman got the jump on Krumm and had opened up a gap of over five seconds by the time the pit window opened. Luhr had managed to reduce the defecit to just a car length in the closing laps but Pastorelli held his nerve to secure victory.

#11 Exim Bank Team China Corvette Z06: Francesco Pastorelli, Yelmer Buurman
#11 Exim Bank Team China Corvette Z06: Francesco Pastorelli, Yelmer Buurman

Photo by: DPPI

Third was the All-Inkl.com Munnich Motorsport No.37 Lamborghini of Franceso's elder brother Nicky and Dominik Schwager. The No.38 Lamborghini of Marc Basseng and Markus Winkelhock was sixth to add to the German squad's claims on the teams' championship.

Fourth place went to the Sumo Power GT No.20 Nissan GT-R of Nicky Catsburg and Enrique Bernoldi with Tomas Enge and Alex Muller in the No.7 Aston Martin fifth to keep their teams' chances ticking over.

A major problem with the right rear wheel nut on the Sumo Power GT No.21 cost them any chance of a podium place after a strong first stint by Jamie Campbell-Walter. When the wheel was eventually secured, David Brabham rejoined and fought back to finish seventh.

An early clash between Peter Dumbreck in the JRM Nissan GT-R No.22 and Ricardo Rissatti in the Marc VDS Ford GT No.40 resulted in both cars limping into the pits. The Nissan rejoined 17 laps adrift after a lengthy repair to the right rear suspension, while the Ford remained in the garage with front structural damage.

The sister Ford of Maxime Martine came to a halt with 8 minutes remaining to complete a disappointing race for the Marc VDS team. The best of the Fords was the No.10 Belgian Racing entry of Markus Palttala and Antoine Leclerc in 10th. The other Belgian car was 12th.

The are still several permutations for second and third in the drivers' title while the battle for the teams' championship will be decided tomorrow. As it stands, Young Driver lead the chase on 227 points from JRM (224), Hexis (195) and All-Inkl.com Munnich Motorsport (190).

Start
Start

Photo by: DPPI

Quotes

Michael Krumm (2nd and 2011 FIA GT1 World Champion)
nr23 JR Motorsports Nissan GT-R

"I knew that wasn't going to be easy because of the nature of the track and if I could be ahead in Turn 1 it would've been OK but I wasn't, we were side by side and the next corner was his, so for me there was no point. The other guys had nothing to lose and we were trying to get the championship, so I was never going to take a big risk. I settled in second, the car felt really good, so it was OK and we were happy to run in second place. There was a little bit of pressure from the cars behind me in the beginning but I just took it easy as we didn't really know how long the tyres were going to last, which was the same for everyone. I went a bit quicker and got closer to him, but he went quicker again so I didn't want to take any risks. They did a fantastic job.

"Winning the World Championship hasn't sunk in yet because the pressure was so big for us. In qualifying this morning we were both really shaky, but we still did the job, we performed well and got it on pole. I still can't really believe it, we just focused on the race and didn't think about the Championship. It's only now that I've realised it's done and we've won. I'm really, really happy."

Lucas Luhr (2nd and 2011 FIA GT1 World Champion)
nr23 JR Motorsports Nissan GT-R

"At the end of the race I was closing on the Corvette but the Championship was at the back of my mind. Race car drivers sometimes forget what it is all about and our engineer remind me quite quickly over the radio that it's not about the win, just finish the race. I was still pushing because the car felt good and when you are in a rhythm and then you slow down you lose concentration. So I was still pushing but I wouldn't have made a move unless he made a mistake, but he drove extremely well and hats off to the guys for doing a fantastic job.

"I couldn't really sleep well thinking about the Championship, so I'm pretty sure I will sleep well tonight. Tomorrow we will try to enjoy ourselves without the pressure and have a good race. We need to be focused tomorrow for the Team Championship and we have a good chance. We achieved the first goal of getting the Driver's title and tomorrow we will fight as hard as we can for JRM."

Yelmer Buurman (Winner)
nr11 Exim Bank Team China Corvette Z06

"We had a good start and I could go down the inside at the first bend and then I managed to brake a bit later and get in front, which was great. It was then a bit difficult as it was the first time for both of us that we'd run fro so long on one set of tyres without stopping in between. So it was difficult to know how hard I could push in the beginning but in the end the tyres were still really, really good. I think I did the fastest lap of the race at that point three laps before I came in, so I maybe could've pushed a bit harder in the beginning, but we're still learning. It feels really good to win a World Championship race but tomorrow is the important one. However this is still good, but I don't think we quite know how good it is yet."

Francesco Pastorelli (Winner)
nr11 Exim Bank Team China Corvette Z06

"You always drive as hard as you can and at the end he (Lucas Luhr) came very close, but passing is more difficult, especially here. The Corvette is a perfect car and quite easy to drive. My last race was a year ago and it was good to come back like this. It also feels very good to beat Nicky (Pastorelli) in a race."

Nicky Pastorelli (3rd)
nr37 All-Inkl.com Münnich Motorsport Lamborghini Murcielago 670 R-SV

"I'm very happy for Francesco, it took a lot less time for him to win his first GT1 race than I did, it took me over a year. We did the maximum we could do today so I'm very happy with this result. P3 is not where we want to be, but it is all we could do. The start was good and I was able to put a bit of pressure on at the beginning of the race. Afterwards it was a case of just bringing the car home and hoping the team did a good pitstop, which they did. We didn't expect the Lamborghini to be so quick here with the long straights and everything, but the track suits the car pretty well. Hopefully we can improve it for the main race tomorrow."

#37 Münnich Motorsport Lamborghini Murcielago 670 R-SV: Dominik Schwager, Nicky Pastorelli
#37 Münnich Motorsport Lamborghini Murcielago 670 R-SV: Dominik Schwager, Nicky Pastorelli

Photo by: DPPI

Dominik Schwäger (3rd)
nr37 All-Inkl.com Münnich Motorsport Lamborghini Murcielago 670 R-SV

"I'm confident we have another good performance tomorrow. The car has been good all weekend, we had a little problem yesterday but we knew what it was. I was quickest in the first qualifying session this morning and we expected to be on the front row but for some reason the car didn't feel so good. I spun and I was lucky I didn't hit the wall in Q3. Nicky did a great job in the race, but he struggling with the tyres. When I got into the car it felt OK at the beginning but at the end I was struggling as well but we brought the third place home and I'm very happy about it."

Alex Muller
nr7 Young Driver AMR Aston Martin DB9 (5th)

"We had quite a good battle The car was good, just as shame we started ninth. We are struggling with the weight - 30kgs is six tenths around here. The Aston is very sensitive to the weight, more so than the Nissans. Tomorrow we hope for a good start and a clean race and maybe we can end up on the podium with a bit of luck. The plan is to finish and then see where we are."

Jamie Campbell-Walter
nr21 Sumo Power GT Nissan GT-R (7th)

"Sometimes drivers crash, sometimes you have bad pit stops, it's a shame, but it's part of racing. We've just got to keep our heads high. We definitely had the pace in the car to have a podium and to be in a good place. We lost 15 seconds, so to finish seventh was pretty good. The car was fantastic. Brabs (David Brabham) did a good job and was super fast at the end which bodes well for tomorrow but obviously we start seventh. We'll give our best shot."

Christopher Nygaard
nr9 Belgian Racing Ford GT Matech (12th)

"It was definitely the most difficult race of the year for us. It seems I am also finding some difficulty finding the right way round the track here, which is something I'm working on! It's a really enjoyable circuit, but a real challenge and one of the toughest tracks on the calendar."

2011 champions Michael Krumm and Lucas Luhr
2011 champions Michael Krumm and Lucas Luhr

Photo by: DPPI

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Tags corvette, krumm, luhr, nissan, san luis

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