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Ratel qualifying for FIA GT Championship

The FIA has approved Stephane Ratel's plan to hold Super Pole qualifying practice sessions in the FIA GT Championship, and the scheme will begin at the opening round at Monza on 1 April. Ratel plans to give the six fastest cars in the GT and...

The FIA has approved Stephane Ratel's plan to hold Super Pole qualifying practice sessions in the FIA GT Championship, and the scheme will begin at the opening round at Monza on 1 April. Ratel plans to give the six fastest cars in the GT and N-GT categories an extra single flying lap in order to determine the front of the grid. The FIA has limited the number of grid positions to 30, plus two extra places for competitors from the host country.

The FIA's World Council also says that any eligible manufacturer must not supply cars exclusively to one team. It must has sold at least six examples of the car to different teams in time for the first race, if ordered six months in advance. The Saleen S7 has been ruled out of the FIA GT Championship, for the time being, the FIA insisting that at least 25 examples of the mid-engined car -- including 20 road cars -- must be made before it is accepted.

Although the Spa 24-Hour race was omitted from the FIA World Council's official calendar (which was actually for the FIA European Touring Car Championship "which will be run in conjunction with the FIA GT Championship"), the Stephane Ratel Organisation has confirmed that it will be held as the 7th round on 4/5 August and that it may award double points.

There are a couple of changes to the FIA GT series since the provisional calendar was published in October, deleting the race in Germany on 12 August, moving the Austrian event at the A1-Ring forward to 26 August, and putting the German event at the Nurburgring back to 9 September. This is a week before a round of the FIA Sportscar Championship at the Nurburgring, a clash which makes it almost inevitable that both events will suffer in terms of recognition, promotion and public attendance.

FIA GT Championship calendar: 1April, Monza; 16 April, Brno; 1 May, Magny Cours; 13 May, Silverstone; 20 May, Zolder; 1 July, Budapest; 4/5 August, Spa; 26 August, A1-Ring; 9 September, Nurburgring; 30 September, Jarama; 21 October, Estoril.

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