Successful Start into the FIA GT1 World Championship for Reiter Engineering
The first race of the FIA GT1 World Championship took place at the 3,636 m (2,260 miles) long track in Nogaro, France at the Easter weekend. 38,000 spectators watched nine manufacturers in the super sports car series fight for the 2012 World Championship title at the first of ten racing weekends.
International drivers and two Lamborghini Gallardo LP600+ compete for the Reiter Engineering team from Germany in this demanding championship. Albert von Thurn und Taxis (DEU) and Tomas Enge (CZE) share the Gallardo #24. Car #25 is piloted by Peter Kox (NDL) and Darryl O´Young (HNK).
In the two free practice sessions on Friday the team and the pilots had a total of 160 minutes to make themselves familiar with the track, the tyres and the cars. The qualifying consists of three sessions which took place on Saturday. In each session each pilot tries to qualify for the next session. Pilots von Thurn und Taxis and O´Young started in Q1 and had no problems qualifying in the top 12. Their partners (Enge und Kox) took over and started in Q2 just when it began to drizzle. Tomas Enge managed to set the fastest lap of the field in his last lap and t herefore qualified his car for Q3. Prince Albert von Thurn und Taxis took over. A faulty control unit of the gearbox caused problems for Peter Kox in Q2. Therefore, he did not qualify for Q3 and finished in P10. The Prince grabbed start position P7 for the qualifying race on Sunday.
The weather conditions were unsettled during the qualifying race. Most teams changed to wet tyres when it started to pour shortly before the start of the race. Both Lamborghinis started with wet tyres. Tomas Enge handled the conditions well and moved up from P7 to P1 within three laps before von Thurn und Taxis took over. He managed to defend his position for quite a while. However, two competitors overtook him later on and he drove across the finish line in P3. The duo Kox/O´Young had technical difficulties with their car and only finished in a disappointing 8th place.
Albert von Thurn und Taxis missed the right moment in the flying start of the main race on Mond ay and lost places. Thomas Enge took over for the second half of the race after a perfect pit stop and moved up finishing the race in P7. O´Young and Kox were more successful than on the previous day. The Dutch set the fastest lap and won P7.
Reiter Engineering scored 14 points at the first weekend of the 2012 FIA GT1 World Championship and grabbed P4 in the team championship.
Tomas Enge (#24):
“The qualifying session was perfect and we proved that we can set good lap times with the Lamborghini. The Gallardo is a fantastic car and you can drive it like a go-kart. I was always able to push forward. I started the qualifying race on Saturday from P7, warmed up the tyres quickly and won quite a few places. In lap three I had grabbed P1 which I had no problems to defend until I went into the pit for the driver change. Albert was able to defend P1 for a long time but later on two cars overtook him. He did a great job and I think he made it from gentleman driver to pro driver. Albert had quite a bad start in the race on Monday. However, with the fantastic pit stop we made up for it and even managed to score a few points”.
Albert von Thurn und Taxis (#24):
“I had a bad start in the race on Monday which spoils the whole racing weekend for me. I was behind Stephane Ortelli’s Audi and during the flying start it seemed to me that everybody had a false start. I lost a lot of places and was not able to win them back. Tomas made up for lot of it and scored 4 points. At the end of the day, my debut in the FIA GT1 World Championship was successful and I have a lot of fun driving with Tomas and working with Hans Reiter’s very professional team”.
Peter Kox (#25):
“At the start of the first FIA GT1 weekend we had some difficulties and our performance was not satisfactory. The car was much better in the main race but the BoP (Balance of Performance) is not right yet. The Ferraris are a lot faster on the straight and we just do not have a chance. Nevertheless, our car is fast. After all, I set the fastest lap in the second race”.
Darryl O´Young (#25):
“We did not have the right pace at the beginning. Therefore, we were not able to perform well in the qualifying race. Nevertheless, we won start position P8 for the main race. I am not happy with my stint in the main race on Monday. With the full tank I did not find the grip of the tyres. Peter did a great job today and managed to win a few places back. The Lamborghini is a great car and the team did a fantastic job. I learned a lot this weekend, I made progress and we scored championship points for the team. I am looking forward to the event in Zolder in two weeks’ time”.
Hans Reiter, Team principal:
“I am very happy with the weekend. We had much lower expectations. On Easter Monday Peter Kox set the fastest lap which proves that we have a competitive car. We have a relatively light car at the moment due to the BoP. It can set great lap times but we are missing out in the top speed on the straight. The Ferraris are faster than everybody else and we are not able to overtake them. I think that the BoP should also consider the top speed in the future so that we all are able to drive the same top speed. Otherwise we cannot drive races. In my opinion, the BoP is only fair in the qualifying sessions but not in the races”.