CHAMPIONS RECEIVE THEIR TROPHIES IN GLITTERING FIA GALA PRIZE-GIVING CEREMONY
Despite torrential rain outside, the 2006 FIA GT Champions received their trophies in a glittering ceremony in Monaco on December 8th, along with all the other FIA Champions, including Formula One, the World Rally Championship and the World Touring Car Championship.
Michael Bartels and Andrea Bertolini were presented with their trophies as GT1 Drivers Champions, while Mr Matthias Quinger was presented with the Teams Trophy for the Vitaphone Racing Team. Mr David King was presented with the GT1 Manufacturers Cup for Aston Martin. Team 'mascot' Thomas Biagi was also present to see the team honoured, having played a major part towards the Teams title, claiming two wins with British driver Jamie Davies.
Jaime Melo Jr was presented with the GT2 Drivers Championship Trophy, while Amato Ferrari picked up the Teams trophy for GT2 Teams Champions, AF Corse. The GT2 Manufacturers Cup was presented to Ferrari, the prize being collected by Mr Antonello Coletta. Melo was particularly delighted to pick up his award in Monaco, a circuit where he was victorious in single-seaters.
The FIA GT3 European Championship was rewarded after a fantastic debut season. Sean Edwards, who had just celebrated his 20th birthday, was presented with the trophy as GT3 Drivers Champion, while Phil Hindley was presented with the Teams trophy on behalf of his team, Tech9 Motorsport. Edwards was particularly pleased to be present at the ceremony, as it included a special award for seven-times World Champion Michael Schumacher, who retired after this season; the German Formula One driver has been Edward's hero since he was small.
Stephane Ratel, chairman of SRO, promoter of the FIA GT Championships, was present to watch the awards, and was clearly proud of his new Champions. "It has been a wonderful evening," he said. "I think there is plenty of good news surrounding the FIA GT Championship for next season. The news of Jaguar coming to GT racing is fantastic, and we now hear that Alfa Romeo is likely to be building a GT car too. Everybody is coming ! It has been a difficult year, but we're winning the battle, and the future is looking bright."
For the FIA GT Championship,the new season will start in Zhuhai, China, on March 25th, while the FIA GT3 European Championship will start at Silverstone on May 6th.