A1-Ring Superpole, second qualifying report

Rydell takes pole for Prodrive The nr 15 Prodrive Allstars Ferrari 550 Marenello, which has been quick all weekend, will start from the front of the grid for tomorrow’s 500 km of the A1 Ring. Rickard Rydell, who had been second fastest in ...

Rydell takes pole for Prodrive
The nr 15 Prodrive Allstars Ferrari 550 Marenello, which has been quick all weekend, will start from the front of the grid for tomorrow’s 500 km of the A1 Ring. Rickard Rydell, who had been second fastest in the first qualifying session, set an excellent time of 1:30.856 in the single-lap qualifying session. Jeroen Bleekemolen, on provisional pole after the first session, was unable to match the Ferrari’s time. His nr 3 Carsport Holland Chrysler Viper, carrying 70 kg penalty weight, will therefore start from second place on the grid. Julian Bailey was third in the nr 2 Lister Storm, equaling his best qualifying performance this season. The nr 7 Larbre Competition Chéreau Chrysler Viper of Christophe Bouchut, with a penalty weight of 100 kg, will start alongside him.

Jamie Campbell-Walter could not improve on his morning performance and set the fifth time, with Sebastiaan Bleekemolen starting alongside him in the nr 4 Carsport Holland Chrysler Viper GTS-R.

Riccitelli on N-GT pole
Luca Riccitelli, who regained the N-GT Championship lead after his win in the Proximus 24 Hours of Spa, took the N-GT pole with an excellent lap round the 4.326 km A1 Ring in today’s single-lap qualifying session. Starting last after setting the best time in the morning session, he was much faster than the rest of the cars, lapping four tenths of a second faster than second placed Philipp Peter in the nr 69 Redolfi Orlando Porsche 996 GT3-R.

Third fastest was Jürgen von Gartzen, entering his own car under the name of JVG Racing. First out on the track after setting the sixth N-GT time in the morning, his time of 1:36.291 was not beaten until Philipp Peter and Luca Riccitelli went out, giving him third place on the N-GT grid. Tim Sugden, who had been fighting hard with Riccitelli all weekend, could not repeat his morning performance, setting the fourth time. Stephane Ortelli, in the nr 57 Freisinger Motorsport Porsche 996 GT3-R he is sharing with Ni Amorim, was fifth, with Sebastien Dumez sixth in the nr 50 Porsche 996 GT3-R.

Cars 57 (Freisinger Motorsport) and nr 50 (Larbre Competition Chereau) had their times cancelled after failing post-qualifying scrutineering due to the end plates. Therefore, they will start in 11th and 12th position on the grid for tomorrow’s 500 km-race.

Second Qualifying Session
The 15-minute second qualifying session, which is open to the cars which did not qualify for the Superpole and the second drivers for the Superpole cars, was generally slower than the morning session. Only two of the cars which did not qualify for the Superpole were able to improve on their times– the nr 19 Reiter Engineering Lamborghini, and the nr 61 Haberthur Racing Porsche 996 GT3-R, but neither car improved its grid position. The nr 15 Prodrive Ferrari was once again fastest, with Peter Kox at the wheel, followed by Hezemans in the Carsport Chrysler Viper and Coronel in the nr 1 Lister Storm. The nr 5 Rafanelli Ferrari 550 Maranello set the fifth time overall.

In the N-GT class, the nr 55 Perspective Racing Porsche 996 GT3-R was fastest, with Thierry Perrier at the wheel, followed by the nr 54 Art Engineering car, driven by Luigi Moccia, and the nr 69 Redolfi Orlando Porsche 996 GT3-R, with Zampedri at the wheel.

On tomorrow’s grid, the nr 5 Rafanelli Ferrari will start from the seventh row of the grid, with the nr 11 Paul Belmondo Racing Chrysler Viper alongside it. The second RWS Motorsport Porsche 996 GT3-R, which just missed out on the Superpole, will start from the 21st position.


Julian Bailey– nr 2 Lister Storm : "We are struggling slightly around the track, which does not suit us, but we have a good set-up. The Ferrari’s top speed is better, however. My superpole lap wasn’t too bad, although Jamie Campbell-Walter had gone a bit wild on the first corner during his lap, which gave me a few problems."

Jeroen Bleekemolen– nr 3 Carsport Chrysler : "This is the first time I have taken part in the Superpole session, and it was good, despite the fact that we have 70 kg in the car. They told me Rickard’s time just as I was going out, so I knew what I had to beat. But second place is good for tomorrow’s race."

Rickard Rydell– nr 15 Prodrive Ferrari : "I’m very happy for the whole team, who have worked very hard over the summer. Hopefully the car will be good until the end of the season. We’ve done some endurance racing with no problems, so it should be OK tomorrow."

Thierry Perrier– nr 55 Perspective Porsche : "We found the brake problem which was slowing us in the morning, and the fact that I set the fastest time in the second qualifying session shows that the problem is definitely fixed. We were running in the brakes this morning, and normally they need to cool down before using them again, and this meant that Michel was not able to set a good time. We also needed to change the brake distribution, as on this track you have to brake downhill a lot. We now have a very good set-up. However, we might have to change the engine overnight, as it overheated a bit yesterday."

Stephane Ortelli– nr 57 Freisinger Porsche : "It’s the first time I’ve done the Superpole, and it was fun. I was second quickest in the first two checkpoints, but I had a bit too much understeer at the end, and we’re fourth (before having its time cancelled by the Stewards of the Meeting for technical non-conformity). I think that we have got a strong line-up, needed a good job this afternoon. It is nice to have an experienced driver alongside me and we can definitely fight for the podium". Kaneko, Freisinger Motorsport’s team manager, explained that the nr 58 was suffering from gearbox problems. The team changed the box yesterday but the ratios are not correct. The problem should be solved by tomorrow.

Nigel Smith– nr 61 Haberthur Porsche : "We have sorted the car out and found a good set up for tomorrow’s race ; but it has not changed our grid position. It is Andrea (Chiesa)’s first time at the circuit and it takes time to learn it."

David Terrien– nr 62 JMB Ferrari : "It’s not really going better yet. I really don’t know what’s wrong. The engine is not right, and we can’t find what is wrong. It might be something to do with the circuit, with the changes of elevation, which is disadvantaging us more than usual. We haven’t been in a situation like this all season. In Monza we had engine problems, but we set the second best time overall in the second qualifying session– and Monza is a power circuit, where we were expecting to be at a disadvantage. I’m really surprised and confused. It’s a long race tomorrow and anything can happen, but it’s not starting out too well."

Philipp Peter– nr 69 Orlando Porsche : "This is my home race, so I have a lot of sponsors and friends here, and I will try to do a good race. It’s good to be in the front, out of trouble. I have a new team-mate this week, Alessandro Zampedri, who also drives in the Porsche Supercup, and he is doing good lap times, and the Pirelli tyres are good for long distance races, so it should be good tomorrow. I started racing on the old track, but I’ve raced on the A1 Ring in touring cars and in the Supercup, so I know it pretty well."

Jürgen von Gartzen– nr 70 JVG Porsche : "It’s a good feeling to drive your own car, for your own team. We’ve worked very hard to get ready, and the car is brand new. For me, it’s better to have your own team– if I want to make changes, I just have to say so !"

Luca Riccitelli– nr 77 RWS Porsche : "This is a very good situation for us ; we’ve found a very good set-up. It’s very important for us to finish all four remaining races this season. I will try my best, along with my co-driver and the team. But first we have to finish ! My superpole lap was very clean ; I was not pushing too much."


Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series Blancpain Sprint
Drivers Julian Bailey , Ni Amorim , Stéphane Ortelli , Peter Kox , Jamie Campbell-Walter , Luca Riccitelli , Christophe Bouchut , David Terrien , Luigi Moccia , Paul Belmondo , Jeroen Bleekemolen , Tim Sugden , Nigel Smith , Sebastien Dumez , Rickard Rydell , Jurgen von Gartzen , Philipp Peter , Thierry Perrier , Sebastiaan Bleekemolen
Teams Larbre Competition , Reiter Engineering