KIRKALDY'S CHARGE STOPPED BY STARTER
If the opening lap of the 1000kms of Zhuhai was anything to go by CRS Racing should have had a great result in China today. Unfortunately the team's dominant run was stopped when the starter motor failed during the final pit stop in the last of 2010's Intercontinental Le Mans Cup races.
Andrew Kirkaldy started the race from fourth place on the GT2 grid, lining up behind the AF Corse Ferrari of Gimmi Bruni, the Felbermayr Porsche of Marc Lieb and the BMW of Jorg Muller. Just as he did at the start of the FIA GT race at Zhuhai in 2007, Kirkaldy blasted into the lead on the first lap.
The CRS team boss led the GT2 class for most of the first stint until he was pushed wide by the race-leading Peugeot. This allowed Muller to slip past in the BMW so Kirkaldy had to hunt him down again and retake the lead before the first round of pit stops.
Phil Quaife was the next man onboard the CRS Ferrari and he had a good, clean run, bringing the car back safely in second place. Pierre Ehret was up next and he was running well until he went off the track and lost around a minute.
After dropping back to fifth the CRS drivers had some work to do to fight back but they got back up to third place and built up a good cushion to the AF Corse Ferrari. Just as things were looking good again though the starter failed in the pit stop. The team had no choice other than to push start the car, which of course earned them a stop-go penalty. After this they had to stop and change the starter as they couldn't afford any more delays.
Phil Quaife took the chequered flag in fifth place, taking points for CRS, but it wasn't the result they had all hoped for.
"We're pretty gutted to finish fifth after all that hard work," said Kirkaldy. "It's hard when you are stopped by a very small problem but GT2 is so competitive there is no room for problems, even in such a long race. It was great to be racing at the sharp end; the opening stint was a lot of fun as the Ferrari was definitely better on the brakes than the BMW. It's just a shame that after so much good racing we haven't got the result we wanted."
-source: crs racing