Sunny, becoming overcast later
BMS SCUDERIA ITALIA CLAIM THE FRONT ROW
Andrea Piccini secured pole position for the tenth and final round of the FIA GT Championship at Estoril in the nr 23 BMS Scuderia Italia Ferrari 550 Maranello. The Italian set a time of 1:37.072s to beat his team-mate Jean-Marc Gounon by a tenth of a second for an all-BMS front-row. Jamie Campbell-Walter was third fastest in the nr 14 Lister Storm that he will share with Nicolaus Springer, while his team-mate Bobby Verdon-Roe was fourth fastest. Fabrizio Gollin was fifth in the nr 4 Carsport Holland Chrysler Viper GTS-R, the Italian was happy with his performance considering that he was carrying 30kg of penalty weight. Fabio Babini was sixth in the nr 12 Paul Belmondo Racing Chrysler Viper GTS-R.
MAASSEN TAKES N-GT POLE FOR FREISINGER MOTORSPORT
The nr 54 Freisinger Motorsport Porsche 996 GT3-R of Sascha Maassen and Stephane Ortelli will start tomorrow's race from the N-GT pole position, after Maassen set a time of 1:42.229s, heading the Cirtek Motorsport Porsche of Romain Dumas by less than a tenth of a second. Though Ortelli has already claimed the N-GT Drivers' Championship, Freisinger Motorsport could still be mathematically caught by JMB Racing in the Teams Championship.
Philipp Peter was classed third fastest in the nr 58 Autorlando Porsche 996 GT3-R that he will share with Toto Wolff. The German was initially fifth, but the two Veloqx Motorsport Ferrari 360 Modenas joined the long list of cars that have failed the ride-height test at the Estoril circuit. Tim Sugden had set third fastest time in the Superpole, with Ivan Capelli fourth. They will start from the back of the N-GT Super Pole group, fifth and sixth in class, 19th and 20th overall.
SECOND QUALIFYING SESSION
Jean-Denis Deletraz was fastest in the second qualifying session in the pole-sitting nr 23 BMS Scuderia Italia Ferrari 550 Maranello. The Swiss driver set a time of 1:40.408s, just eight hundredths of a second faster than the nr 2 Larbre Competition Chrysler Viper GTS-R of David Terrien, Carl Rosenblad and Sebastien Bourdais. Terrien leads the championship by two points from his team-mate Christophe Bouchut and the Frenchman was delighted with the performance of his Viper despite the 80kg handicap that he carries this weekend.
Mike Hezemans and Anthony Kumpen set fourth fastest time in the nr 3 Carsport Holland Chrysler Viper GTS-R, ahead of Bouchut and Vincent Vosse in the nr 1 Larbre Viper. Vosse was at the wheel, qualifying the car which had lost its morning times due to failing a ride-height test. The car will be 13th on the grid. Arjan van der Zwaan and Rob van der Zwaan set the fifth fastest time in the nr 34 Zwann's Racing Chrysler Viper GTS-R.
Stephane Ortelli was the fastest N-GT runner in the nr 54 Freisinger Motorsport Porsche 996 GT3-R. The Frenchman's time of 1:43.016 was faster than that of the nr 11 Paul Belmondo Racing Chrysler Viper of Claude-Yves Gosselin and Belmondo himself, and the nr 22 BMS Scuderia Italia Ferrari 550 Maranello of Lilian Bryner, Enzo Calderari and Jean-Marc Gounon.
The nr 83 Veloqx Motorsport Ferrari 360 Modena of Tim Sugden and Andrew Kirkaldy was third fastest in the second qualifying session, one place ahead of the GT-class Ferrari 550 Maranello of Luca Riccitelli and Dieter Quester. The nr 82 Veloqx Ferrari of Jamie Davies was fourth.
NOTES AND QUOTES
David Terrien, nr 2 Larbre Competition Chrysler Viper GTS-R: "Sebastien did a good job in qualifying. In the last half of the morning session we concentrated on long runs with Carl, and then Sebastian went out with full tanks to test for the race. We have gathered a lot of good information. This morning the car was very good. I did only six laps today, but as soon as I stepped into the car this morning, I was immediately comfortable. Now we are in a good position because we hope to win the race. We will start from seventh, and we have a well balanced team."
Sebastien Bourdais, nr 2 Larbre Competition Chrysler Viper GTS-R: "I don't know the car very well, I don't know the balance or the set-up. It is a very specific car. We had trouble yesterday with oil leaking onto the tyres. Today it is pretty good. I think I did a good lap time, and it is difficult to get into the Super Pole with 80kg penalty weight. I am here to help the team and, if I can help David win the championship, it will be an achievement. The weight makes a big difference, but it is difficult to compare to when I drove the car at Spa with no kilos at all. Here you have to slow the car down a lot with the tight corners and the car is very heavy. We have to keep ahead of the Lister. I think that the tyres will be a problem for us. The last corner is very tough on the front left tyre."
David Hallyday, nr 5 Force One Chrysler Viper GTS-R: "We are gaining experience with the car. It is a shame that we made the decision so late to change from the Ferrari. The car is solid, and now it is up to us to make it work. I have never driven in Estoril, Donington or Silverstone. I adapt quickly, and it is a question of coming back every year and gaining experience."
Jamie Campbell-Walter, nr 14 Lister Storm Racing Lister Storm: "We have been here for the last two years and started on pole position both times. This is a tricky track on which to set up the car, that last corner is very long and it is important because it leads onto the straight. The car and the tyres were good. Laurence and I were scratching our heads trying to work out why we were half a second behind the BMS Ferrari. As far as the championship goes, this is the same situation as at Magny Cours two years ago. We are going into the race and try to win it. We are fighting the Larbre cars and they are miles behind us on pace and on the grid but they are usually there at the finish."
Bobby Verdon-Roe, nr 15 Lister Storm Racing Lister Storm: "I live here in Portugal, so it is nice to do well. We have a good combination, or as good as it will get with three drivers. David is getting up to speed, he doesn't know the track, whereas he knew Donington like the back of his hand. I'd love to be in a position to let Jamie through to take the win tomorrow, but these things are impossible to predict. We have to keep an eye on the Larbre Competition Chrysler Vipers, as well as drive our own race. I hope that I will be in a position to help."
Jean-Marc Gounon, nr 22 BMS Scuderia Italia Ferrari 550 Maranello: "BMS is a very high quality team and I am very glad to have another opportunity to drive a fantastic car. The time that I did was perfect for me. There is an all-red front row, and that is the important thing. I think that the race will be a question of compromise with the tyres. With the Michelins we have a chance of a good result. I only hope that Andrea is not too quick because I have to keep up with him !"
Andrea Piccini, nr 23 BMS Scuderia Italia Ferrari 550 Maranello: "When we came here, the car was not set up very well. The circuit is made up of long corners and short corners. The team has done a good job to set the car up and the time came easily. We cannot win the championship, so the only thing that we can do is to win races, though I don't think Jamie [Campbell-Walter] will be too pleased to hear that!"
Andrea Montermini, nr 51 JMB Racing Ferrari 360 Modena: "The time is not there. We are losing time in the corners and in the straight. We need a big step over the winter from everybody, from the chassis, the aerodynamics, the engine and the tyres. We need to do the maximum to do something better. The other Ferrari team showed that it can be good. It is not carrying the weight that we are, but I don't know if that is what the problem is."
Sascha Maassen, nr 54 Freisinger Motorsport Porsche 996 GT3-R: "The Superpole was exciting. I started with a little mistake in the first corner but the rest of the lap was a good one until the last corner when I went over the dirt ,so I was lucky to get pole with the two mistakes. Tomorrow looks good. Our goal is not to finish fifth, which is the result we need to win the Teams title, as that would not be enough fun for us. If it is wet, we will be looking for the overall win, if it is dry we will enjoy the race. If we are in the top three, that is OK, if we are fifth, that is OK, but sixth is not OK."
Philipp Peter, nr 58 Autorlando Sport Porsche 996 GT3-R: "I am surprised to be in the top three, but I am very happy with third. The competition here is getting better and better so to be in the top six is difficult. I had to use my second set of tyres to get into the Super Pole. We have tried to have a good set-up for the race, but you never know what the weather will do."
Johnny Mowlem, nr 60 JvG Racing Porsche 996 GT3-R: "On my first flying lap, Sascha [Maassen] had spun in front of me so I had to abort it. On the second lap, I caught Sascha coming out of the pits, so I aborted that one too. I came in and sat there and we were sixth for ages. With about six minutes to go I got pipped so we slapped on new tyres, but there was a Viper off in the gravel. On the second lap Piccini caught me in the kink so I aborted the lap. On the third lap I had to overtake the Lamborghini and the data showed that cost me two-tenths of a second. All I needed was five-hundredths."
Romain Dumas, nr 62 Cirtek Motorsport Porsche 996 GT3-R: "It was a good fight with Sascha, but I made a little mistake at the last corner and lost a few tenths. The target was to do as well as possible; our goal is to finish on the podium, and hopefully to win the race."
Ivan Capelli, nr 82 Veloqx Motorsport Ferrari 360 Modena: "It was a nice try. I started with used tyres because this morning I used two sets to get in. The car is good, very well balanced in the corners, but we are losing too much in the straight line. I prefer a dry race because it is safer for everybody, but if it is wet, it is the same for everybody so doesn't make much difference to me!"
Tim Sugden, nr 83 Veloqx Motorsport Ferrari 360 Modena: "We are really delighted with the progress we have made this weekend. We were quickest yesterday in N-GT by a tenth of a second, and quick again this morning, despite having my best lap spoiled by traffic, which I am sure would have been good enough for pole. In Superpole, the car felt really good, and we were third fastest, only a couple of tenths behind the leaders. Considering this was the first time in Superpole for my car, I think this was really good. More importantly, I think the car is in excellent shape for the race. I hope to go one better than at Donington, when I led the class for the first half of the race."