MAIDEN FIA GT VICTORY FOR NO.63 FERRARI Adria, Italy -- 15 October 2006: Tim Mullen and Marino Franchitti took victory at Adria today after three hours of top quality racing at the Italian track. This was the much-anticipated maiden win for ...
MAIDEN FIA GT VICTORY FOR NO.63 FERRARI
Adria, Italy -- 15 October 2006: Tim Mullen and Marino Franchitti took victory at Adria today after three hours of top quality racing at the Italian track. This was the much-anticipated maiden win for the no.63 Ferrari in the FIA GT Championship and a very popular victory too. The no.62 Ferrari failed to finish, retiring from the race after just 40 minutes.
Marino Franchitti was deputising for Chris Niarchos this weekend. Chris has been away on business and, as he only got back into Europe on Thursday night, decided it would be wise to have a break before next weekend's British GT title-decider at Magny Cours. This is the third time Marino has driven for the team this year and he was delighted to get the last-minute call up.
Tim Mullen had a difficult qualifying session and started the race from fifth position but he made up for that with two hours of stunning driving. He made up a place at the start and another one soon after that. The Safety Car came out after 40 minutes and Tim dived into the pits for a full tank of fuel and managed to exit without losing any time at all. By the end of the first hour he was up to second and by the halfway mark he was leading the race. Just before the two hour mark Tim pitted to hand over to Marino. The Scot joined the race with fresh rubber and instructions to bring home a winner! He lost out to a charging no.82 Ferrari but they had yet to complete their second pit stop. Once that was out of the way Marino sailed into the lead and, despite mounting pressure from Mika Salo, stayed there all the way to the flag.
In stark contrast the no.62 Ferrari failed to finish the race. Andrew Kirkaldy got away well from pole position and was leading comfortably when, after 40 minutes, he clipped the tyre marker at the chicane and damaged the front right corner of the car. He got the Ferrari back to the pits but it was game over for the Scottish pair.
Tim Mullen: "It's a fantastic feeling to get a win in this Championship. We were quick all weekend, apart from when I messed up qualifying, so it's great to finish the job off properly. The start was very busy but I got up to fourth and then a couple of laps later got past the Riccitelli Porsche for third. Unfortunately he got me back a little bit later when I went onto some oil at turn two so I had to do it all over again and it took a bit longer the second time! I pitted for fuel when the Safety Car was out which worked out incredibly well for us. I did a double stint then handed over to Marino who did a great job and brought the car home first."
Marino Franchitti: "Well I'm delighted! Tim did a fantastic job as to do such a long stint at a tight track like this is hard work. My stint was a lot of fun but it was tough to as I was up against Mika Salo. It has certainly been an interesting weekend for me; I was at Le Mans on Friday, supporting my cousing (Paul Di Resta) in the F3 Euroseries event, until I got a call from Chris and had to make a mad dash to Paris, and then fly to Venice, to be here in time. It was well worth it though! I can't thank Chris enough for the opportunity and also the team as they are the business!"
Nathan Kinch: "We were leading and then the car came in with a burst radiator and front right corner damage. I'm pretty gutted; it's so disappointing. Unfortunately you don't get points for qualifying; it's the race that counts and once again we haven't finished."
Andrew Kirkaldy: "I clipped the tyres at the chicane and it wrenched the steering wheel out of my hands so I then hit the second set of tyres and that's what did the damage. I'm incredibly disappointed, especially for Nathan as he didn't get to drive this afternoon. I really hope we can get the win in Dubai and finish the year on a high."
Stewart Roden, Scuderia Ecosse Team Principal: "I'm very happy for Tim and Marino. It's good that no.63 got an FIA win; I think it bodes well for next weekend at Magny Cours. Chris will be back in the car then and I know he's ready to fight for the British GT title. It was a real shame about no.62 as the race was in the bag for Andrew and Nathan. The team, as always, did a fantastic job in the pit stops, and our tactic to bring Tim in under the Safety Car worked a treat. I'm amazed everyone else didn't do the same!"
The Scuderia Ecosse team now moves to Magny Cours in France for the British GT Championship Showdown next weekend!