Monza: Johnny Mowlem race report

MOWLEM, GPC TEAM GREAT OPENING RESULT IN EUROPEAN LE MANS SERIES. MONZA, Italy (April 15, 2007) -- The word is out to competitors in the GT2 class of the Le Mans Series: Johnny Mowlem and all his GPC Sport teammates will...

MOWLEM, GPC TEAM GREAT OPENING RESULT IN EUROPEAN LE MANS SERIES.

MONZA, Italy (April 15, 2007) -- The word is out to competitors in the GT2 class of the Le Mans Series: Johnny Mowlem and all his GPC Sport teammates will be a force to reckon with this season.

Mowlem and co-drivers Luca Drudi and Gabrio Rosa finished fifth in the GT class in the season-opening race at Monza, the historical Italian circuit just outside Milan, and the team's sister car won the class, putting the GPC name atop the team standings. Both cars are Ferrari 430 GTs.

"A great first race for GPC and a good start for my new relationship with the team," Mowlem said. "I'm sure we'll have fewer problems in Valencia at the next race (May 4-6) where I expect us to be much stronger as we all gel together as a team."

A minor problem with the seat adjuster had a big consequence at the first pit stop, losing the Mowlem car a full lap and then an untimely stop later in the race put the team off its race plan, forcing an extra pit stop late in the race. Still, Mowlem's flare for late-race charges served him well, climbing from 12th at one point in the race to fifth position by the finish.

"I drove the last hour and a half and got one of our laps back on our sister car, the leader, which eventually won the race," Mowlem said. "The car was reasonably fast and was a real pleasure to drive and both Luca and Gabrio drove a good race. Luca in particular drove a fantastic middle stint to hold on to the GT leader, but unfortunately by then we were already a lap down. The Pirelli tyres in particular held up very well and allowed me to lap as quickly at the end of my stint as at the beginning."

The 1,000-kilometer race at Monza was the season opener for the European series but it was not Mowlem's first race. He was part of the winning team in another Ferrari in the 12 Hours of Sebring classic in the USA last month.

This weekend he rejoins the GPC team, this time with Gianluca Roda as his teammate, in the International Open GT series at Vallelunga near Rome, Italy, for the season opener of that championship.

-credit: www.johnnymowlem.com.

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Series ELMS