Two additional victories for the Ford GTs Matech Racing!
Following on from the spectacular start at Silverstone, with the two victories of the Ford GTs of Mutsch and Khan, the Matech Racing team headed on down to Monza, for the following round of the FIA GT3 European championship. Notwithstanding the temperamental weather conditions, both the free practice as also the qualifying sessions proved that the three Ford GTs entered by the Swiss team were on tune, the power beasts achieving impressive grouped results; 3rd, 4th and 5th places for the first leg, prior to Thomas Mutsch clinching another pole position allowing him to take on the morning heat in full confidence.
This Saturday the first of the two FIA GT3 races were marred by numerous incidents and accidents, and unfortunately the Matech Racing team didn't come out of it unscathed... "Two of our three cars were involved in accidents, Ian Khan seriously damaging the #20 following contact with a Porsche, Luca Pirri, at the wheel of #19, hit a Lamborghini at the end of the straight ", the team manager, Martin Bartek told us. "Not only would our mechanics need to work through the night to bring the cars up to scratch, but the Stewards of the Meeting decided to inflict penalties resulting in losing places on the grid for the following day, the two Ford GTs finding themselves on the 6th and 18th row of the grid !" Luckily our #21, driven by the British pair Bradley Ellis and Alex Mortimer, had a perfect race, battling it out through to the line with a Corvette before achieving a great victory, leaving the Ford GTs unbeaten in the 2008 competition. An excellent result backed up by the 6th place of the Ford Mustang FR500GT3 Matech Racing of the Belgian Eric De Doncker and the Canadian Scott Maxwell, confirming the ever increasing evolution of this power beast, whilst the drivers drove a perfect race managing to avoid the clashes and accidents. On top of that the Matech team gained some additional points in the team championship...
This Sunday's race saw radio liaison problems between the team and the drivers. Result: two of the three Ford GTs came in for their pit- stop out of the regulatory time window. As such Mutsch-Khan and Pirri-Von Gartzen received a Stop & Go... which they didn't serve out, taking advantage of a regulation allowing a car not to re-enter the pitlane as from the moment a penalty is imposed less than 5 laps from the end of the race. Obviously a time sanction is imposed once the chequered flag has been taken. This resulted in the two Ford GTs being relegated into 3rd (Mutsch-Khan) and 14th (Pirri-Von Gartzen) places. And what about Ellis-Mortimer in all this ? On the top tread of the podium no less ! Another victory thanks to a faultless race... "After the crashes on Saturday, these two new victories of the Ford GTs are as excellent as they are unexpected ", Martin Bartek continues."They are in fact a great way of rewarding the team of mechanics who worked so hard throughout the night, even cutting out the damaged roll cage of the #20, before re-welding same under the watchful eyes of individuals approved by the FIA ! I believe that this weekend Matech Racing has performed miracles, far beyond anything seen at this level of competition...."
The outcome of this Monza rendezvous is that Thomas Mutsch and Ian Khan retain the lead in the drivers' championship, whilst Bradley Ellis and Alex Mortimer now figure in 3rd and 4th place. When it comes to the teams; complete domination by Matech, with no less than 49 points... in fact 33 points ahead of the 2nd placed team. The team are now heading for the Nurburgring, where the 2nd meeting of the ADAC GT Masters, the German GT3 championship is being held this weekend.