Zolder: Michelin preview

The chase for the GT1 Drivers' and Teams' titles approaches its climax Although the battles for both the 2008 Drivers' and Teams' crowns have been settled in GT2, with the honours going respectively to Bruni/Vilander and AF Corse/Michelin, the...

The chase for the GT1 Drivers' and Teams' titles approaches its climax

Although the battles for both the 2008 Drivers' and Teams' crowns have been settled in GT2, with the honours going respectively to Bruni/Vilander and AF Corse/Michelin, the ninth and penultimate round of the FIA GT Championship could well decide the outcome in the GT1 title chases, too, when the series visits Zolder. No fewer than 10 drivers and three Michelin partner-teams can still hope to take the spoils in the premier category.

Following the 2008 FIA GT Championship's visit to Spa -Francorchamps in French-speaking Belgium earlier in the year, this weekend marks the turn of the Flemish part of country to host a round of the series, at Zolder. There are quite a few similarities between Zolder and Zandvoort which is situated in the middle of dunes on the Dutch coast," says Gerard Bombled, the manager of Michelin Competition's endurance and FIA GT programmes. Zolder is a medium speed track which doesn't give much grip, so our partners will most probably run soft compound tyres."

This legendary circuit, which formerly figured on the Formula 1 Grand Prix calendar, has a habit of producing some memorable FIA GT action. In last year's championship, it was here that Thomas Biagi clinched the GT1 title, while Dirk Muller and Toni Vilander secured the GT2 crown at the end of a race that was dominated by the Aston Martin/Michelin of Wendlinger/Sharp.

Although this year's top prizes have already been dished out in GT2, both GT1 crowns are still up for grabs, with Michelin's partners Vitaphone Racing and Phoenix Racing jostling for the Teams' title, while no fewer than 10 drivers can still hope to follow in Biagi'sfootsteps in the Drivers' category.

Michael Bartels and Andrea Bertolini (Maserati/Michelin) currently enjoy a lead of six points over Corvette/Michelin's Fabrizio Gollin and Mike Hezemans, with the Maserati pair's team -mates Miguel Ramos and Alexandre Negrao - who recently claimed their first win of the season at Nogaro - a further half-point down. Jean-Denis Deletraz and Marcel Fassler (Corvette/Michelin) are 14

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Series Blancpain Sprint
Drivers Fabrizio Gollin , Dirk Müller , Marcel Fassler , Jean-Denis Deletraz , Mike Hezemans , Alexandre Funari "Xandy" Negrao , Miguel Ramos , Toni Vilander
Teams AF Corse , Phoenix Racing