Zhuhai: Qualifying report

Weather The weather was clear and bright today, with temperatures up to 28. Christophe Bouchut gives the Russian Age Aston Martin its first pole position Before this week-end in Zhuhai, Christophe Bouchut had never driven the Aston Martin...

Weather
The weather was clear and bright today, with temperatures up to 28.

Christophe Bouchut gives the Russian Age Aston Martin its first pole position

Before this week-end in Zhuhai, Christophe Bouchut had never driven the Aston Martin DBR9, but once again, the triple FIA GT Champion proved that he does not need much time to get to know a car ! After a difficult first free practice session, Christophe Bouchut managed his first qualifying session in the Russian Age Aston Martin perfectly. "We still have a lot of things to discover about the car. For instance, we wanted to change the suspension but we preferred not to do it in order to know more things about the car beforehand. This car is really good, much easier to drive than the Ferrari; but we need more time to get used to it.".

With a lap of 1'30.661, faster than last year's pole position; Christophe Bouchut set his second pole position of the season - his 9th FIA GT pole position in total - ahead of Pedro Lamy in the nr 11 Larbre Competition Ferrari 550 Maranello. The second row on the starting grid will be shared by the nr 2 GPC Ferrari 575 Maranello, third best time, and the nr 6 GLPK Corvette of Longin, Kumpen and Hezemans. The third row will be an all Vitaphone Maserati one, with the nr 10 car of Babini and Biagi in 5th position, and the nr 9 car of Bartels and Scheider in 6th. The leaders in the Drivers Classification, Karl Wendlinger and Andrea Bertolini, are 8th, which was also their starting position for both the Oschersleben and Istanbul rounds, in which they finished on the podium both times.

Second GT2 pole for Marc Lieb in the nr 88 GruppeM Porsche Marc Lieb set his second pole position of the season in Zhuhai, with a time of 1.35.462, just 7 tenths of a second ahead of his team-mate Emmanuel Collard in the second GruppeM car. "The car is great and we are 1-2 again, so it is good for the team", Marc Lieb said afterwards. "It is a very important race tomorrow, especially for our team owner Kenny Chen".

Collard improved his time in the second qualifying session, using tyres which had already done 15 laps in the morning. However, his time of 1.35.898 was not fast enough to overtake his team mate. Luigi Moccia, in the Ebimotors Porsche, was very happy with the third time in GT2 : "We are getting closer to the Gruppe M cars at every round ! The car is improving, the team is improving and the Pirelli tyres work very well ! I am confident for the race tomorrow, in hot conditions !"

First Qualifying Practice Session : Russian Age Aston Martin dominates the session while GruppeM claim provisional GT2 pole The first qualifying practice session took place under bright skies and sunshine and saw Christophe Bouchut claim provisional pole position for the Russian Age Aston Martin DBR9, while the leading GruppeM Porsche, in the hands of Marc Lieb, was the fastest GT2 car of the session, with a time of 1.35.462. As usual, most of the cars used both their sets of tyres in the first session, as the second 45-minute session is expected to be even hotter.

Most of the cars took to the track immediately, with only the nr 9 and 10 Vitaphone Maserati MC12 GT1, the nr 11 Larbre Ferrari 550 Maranello and the nr 88 GruppeM Porsche 996 GT3 RSR opting to wait around 10 minutes before entering the action. The nr 14 Lister Storm did not take part in this session as one of the brake discs exploded in the first free practice session yesterday and caused damage to the car. The team worked all night to repair the car which will take part in the second qualifying practice session.

After 10 minutes, the nr 2 GPC Ferrari 575 Maranello was leading the session with a lap of 1'31.850 ahead of the nr 6 GLPK Racing Corvette C5R and the nr 5 Konrad Motorsport Saleen S7 R. When Bouchut, at the wheel of the nr 17 Russian Age Aston Martin, took to the track, he set a time of 1'30.661, the fastest time of the week end so far. Pedro Lamy in the Larbre Ferrari then tried hard to claim the provisional pole position from him. After several flying laps, but only one set of tyres, Pedro Lamy claimed the second position with a time of 1'31.264 while the nr 2 G.P.C Ferrari 575 Maranello set the third-best time. Fabio Babini in the nr 10 Vitaphone car was the fastest of the Maserati drivers in fourth position, ahead of Michael Bartels in the nr 9 Vitaphone car. Ten minutes before the end, Anthony Kumpen, in the nr 6 GLPK Racing Corvette C5R, improved to fourth position.

In GT2, provisional pole went to the nr 66 GruppeM Porsche 996 RSR , followed by the team's second car, whose grid position was under threat from the nr 74 Ebimotors Porsche 996 RSR. At the end of the session, Emmanuel Collard, at the wheel of the nr 88 GruppeM Porsche 996 RSR, further improved its time in order to ensure its second position. It was also very close for the fourth position between the nr 86 GPC Ferrari 360 Modena and the nr 68 Noble Group-GruppeM Porsche. The GPC Ferrari set a time of 1'37.719, which was one second faster than the best time set by the nr 68 Porsche of Matthew Marsh and Darryl O'Young. Sixth overall in the GT2/G2 class, Bas Leinders set the fastest time in G2 at the wheel of the Belgian Racing Vertigo.

Second Qualifying Practice Session : GPC Ferrari fastest of the session, Russian Age Aston Martin hits the wall The second qualifying session was quite eventful. The weather was hotter than in the morning and consequently, the track was slower. Therefore, most of the teams chose to go on track with a lot of fuel in order to check their cars in race conditions. The nr 2 GPC Ferrari 575 Maranello set the fastest time of the session, with a lap of 1'32.301, set at the beginning, while Andrea Piccini was trying something new on the set-up.

After ten minutes, the car spun at turn 11 and at the same time, the Russian Age Aston Martin driven by Nicolai Fomenko spun and hit the wall at turn 10. The qualifying session was red flagged. The left front bumper of the Aston Martin was damaged, but the car should be fixed for the race by tomorrow.

After an interruption of ten minutes, most of the cars went back on track to continue to work on the set-up and the car balance. The nr 6 GLPK Corvette set the second fastest time of the session, in 1'32.320. Only a few cars improved, such as the nr 16 JMB Maserati which claimed the 9th position on the grid. During this session, a lot of cars spun -the nr 4 Konrad Saleen, the nr 86 GPC Ferrari 360 Modena, the nr 88 GruppeM Porsche 996 GT3 RSR and the nr 6 GLPK Corvette. The track is very tricky in hot conditions and very demanding on the brakes.

In GT2, the nr 88 GruppeM Porsche set the fastest time of the session with a lap of 1:35.898, an improvement on the car's morning time, just before going in the gravel. In spite of a chassis problem, the Belgian Racing Vertigo Streiff set the fastest time in G2.

-www.fiagt.com

Be part of something big

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series Blancpain Sprint
Drivers Andrea Piccini , Karl Wendlinger , Emmanuel Collard , Pedro Lamy , Michael Bartels , Anthony Kumpen , Christophe Bouchut , Luigi Moccia , Marc Lieb , Fabio Babini , Andrea Bertolini , Darryl O'Young , Bas Leinders , Matthew Marsh
Teams Larbre Competition