N?rburgring Superpole and second qualifying report

Weather Although the weather remained cold, and a strong wind was blowing, the skies had cleared and the track was dry by the time the Superpole session started. The skies clouded over again as the 15-minute second practice started, and it was ...

Although the weather remained cold, and a strong wind was blowing, the skies had cleared and the track was dry by the time the Superpole session started. The skies clouded over again as the 15-minute second practice started, and it was declared a wet practice after 9 minutes.

Second consecutive pole for Rickard Rydell
After taking pole in Austria, and converting it into a win, Rickard Rydell continued to show the potential of the nr 15 Prodrive Allstars Ferrari 550 Maranello by setting pole position at the Nürburgring. His Superpole time of 1:39.651 was eight tenths faster than Sebastiaan Bleekemolen in the nr 4 Carsport Holland Chrysler Viper. The second Carsport Holland Viper was driven by Mike Hezemans for the single lap of the Nürburgring circuit, setting the third-best time, 1.2 seconds slower than Bleekemolen. Jean-Philippe Belloc set a time of 1:41.349 at the wheel of the nr 7 Larbre Competition Chéreau Chrysler Viper, to place the car fourth. Jean-Pierre Jarier will start from the third row of the grid, after setting the fifth time in the nr 9 ART Chrysler Viper. Julian Bailey, who had been third in the morning, collided with the tyres at the Veedol chicane and slightly damaged the car, setting a lap of 1:43.810 for sixth place.

First N-GT pole for Stephane Ortelli
Stephane Ortelli took his first N-GT pole position of the season today, at the wheel of the nr 57 Freisinger Porsche 996 GT3-R. Ortelli put in an excellent time of 1:44.433 round the 4.556 km Nürburgring track, two tenths faster than the previous best time, set by Luca Riccitelli. Championship leader Riccitelli will therefore start alongside Ortelli on the grid for Sunday’s 500 km race, with Philipp Peter’s nr 69 Redolfi Orlando Porsche 996 GT3- R in third place. Sebastien Dumez was fourth fastest, ahead of Michel Neugarten in the nr 55 Perspective Racing Porsche, who lost around half a second bouncing over the kerbs on the first corner. Fabio Babini set the sixth time in the nr 54 Art Engineering Porsche 996 GT3-R.

Second Qualifying Session
With a total reversal of the situation from the first qualifying session, the 15-minute session started off dry, with rain beginning to fall shortly afterwards. This meant that the first cars to take to the track had a good opportunity to improve on their morning times, while the rest had to make a quick change back to rain tyres. Vosse and Derichebourg, in the nr 12 Paul Belmondo Chrysler Viper, set the fastest time in the session, with a lap of 1:47.205, and will start from 13th place on the grid. Robin Liddell was second fastest in the session, in the nr 57 Freisinger Motorsport Porsche 996 GT3-R that Stephane Ortelli put on the N-GT pole earlier, during the Superpole. He was followed by the nr 58 Freisinger car, driven by Paul Knapfield and Xavier Pompidou. The nr 19 Lamborghini Diablo GT was out early in the session, and put in an excellent lap of 1:50.305, setting the fifth time in the session. The car will therefore start from fifteenth place on the grid– an improvement of thirteen places from their morning result. The nr 11 Paul Belmondo Racing Chrysler Viper, which had its morning times removed after failing post-session scrutineering, set the fifth time in the session, and will start from the eighth row of the grid.


Laurence Pearce– team manager, Lister Storm Racing : "Julian Bailey hit the tyres at the chicane, and it has damaged the car quite a bit. A mounting point for the chassis has moved a bit, but we can repair it for tomorrow. It was just a case of new slick tyres on the cold track, and that was that. Jamie Campbell-Walter missed the Superpole ; he’d been one of the fastest out there on wet tyres, but I’ve never had much luck with intermediate tyres– in ten times that I’ve used them, it’s always gone wrong. Although the car is good in both the wet and the dry, I rather hope it will be wet tomorrow. I’m quietly optimistic for tomorrow’s race. If we have a poor qualifying day, it usually goes quite well in the race. And the car’s set-up is better than it has ever been in some of the corners here."

Mike Hezemans– nr 3 Carsport Viper : " Third place on the grid is ten places more than I expected ! We have 100 kg. We left the wing on for the session, for the grip, but we’ll take it off for the race. It’s good in the rain, but not otherwise. Maybe if it rains, we’ll change our minds again. We’ve put the normal splitter back on ; this morning I just couldn’t drive, the splitter was on the floor."

Sebastiaan Bleekemolen– nr 4 Carsport Viper : "I weigh 20 kg than Mike, so it compensates a little bit for the handicap weights in the cars ! My car has 40 kg and the other car has 100 kg. We are getting closer this week-end ! I feel fine about the set-up we found yesterday and today. I was quick in the wet and in the dry, so I am pleased."

Claude-Yves Gosselin– nr 11 Belmondo Viper : "We had slicks on at the start of the second session, and did a lap of 1:50. I could have done a 1:47, but I got caught up in traffic on the first corner. There was really only one dry lap before the track got too wet. So I came in and handed the car back over to Paul."

Rickard Rydell - nr 15 Prodrive Ferrari : "The car is really good. The team has done a good job since the A1 Ring, working on the set up. We tested here yesterday in wet and dry conditions. We are quite pleased with the car."

André Ahrle– nr 50 Larbre Porsche : "It’s really not gone well– every time I get in the car, the rain starts. Sebastien, however, has been luckier, and he did a good time in the Superpole session, and we’ll start from the fifth row. I’m really pleased to be back driving with Larbre for this race !"

Michel Neugarten– nr 55 Perspective Porsche : "I did a bit of a jump on the first corner during my Superpole lap. The track was very cold, and the tyres were new, and I really wasn’t quite at ease out there. I took the corner too hard, and lost at least half a second. It really woke me up !"

Stephane Ortelli– nr 57 Freisinger Porsche : "It was a great lap. The circuit suits the Porsche really well. I managed a clean lap. I used my tyres from this morning. I was pushing right out of the pits, trying to warm the tyres as much as possible. And then it was a clear lap and I pushed really hard during my timed lap. The Yokohama tyres are getting better and better. It was a temperature problem. Being produced in Japan, the manufacturer did not have all the information on the freezing temperatures here in Europe ! We give them all the information after each race and it gets better and better. Our results have been improving since Zolder. Hopefully we will be strong in the race tomorrow. "

Christian Haberthur– team manager, Haberthur Racing : "It’s not going too well. The car is fine, although we lost the first session yesterday after breaking the driveshaft early on. But this morning we lost the chance of a good dry lap by 20 seconds. And this afternoon, we were one of the last in the queue to go out, and we missed the dry track again. And as so many others have improved, we’re down towards the back of the grid. It’s really a lottery– a matter of seconds between a good time and a bad one. Twice in a row is a bit much– we’ve really had it all today."

Andrea Garbagnati– nr 63 JMB Ferrari : "I’ve mainly been watching today, while my new team-mates Peter Kutemann and Iradj Alexander have been driving. As usual, we’ve had some bad luck. We were fourth towards the end of the first qualifying session, but then the track dried and everyone moved up. We’re suffering a little, but we’ll be competitive for the race."

Philip Peter– nr 69 Orlando Porsche : "I was on brand new tyres. It took some time to get them to temperature. In wet conditions, we are really fast as Pirelli supplied us very good wet and intermediate tyres. If in the race, the weather conditions change, we are well prepared. My new team mate, Marco Werner, is also my team mate in the Porsche Supercup. He is very fast in wet and dry conditions. We know the circuit well. Therefore, in terms of drivers pairing, we are very strong."

Luca Riccitelli– nr 77 RWS Porsche : " It was a good lap in a very difficult situation as I was on brand new tyres. The first lap is always a bit difficult because you don’t have enough temperature, especially at the front. I was driving more carefully than normal, especially when braking. At the end, the lap was OK, the time was OK, as well as the position on the grid. There are six Porsches between me and the Ferrari, so it is good. I must aim for points tomorrow. I am pleased that other Porsches are competitive here, like Philipp (Peter) and Stephane (Ortelli). They are very fast. It is a good situation for me. The Ferrari may stay behind us. We will see tomorrow."


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Series Blancpain Sprint
Drivers Julian Bailey , Robin Liddell , Stéphane Ortelli , Jamie Campbell-Walter , Marco Werner , Jean-Philippe Belloc , Mike Hezemans , Luca Riccitelli , Xavier Pompidou , Jean-Pierre Jarier , Paul Belmondo , Andrea Garbagnati , Michel Neugarten , Fabio Babini , Peter Kutemann , Sebastien Dumez , Claude-Yves Gosselin , Rickard Rydell , Paul Knapfield , André Ahrlé , Philipp Peter , Philip Peter , Sebastiaan Bleekemolen
Teams Larbre Competition