A Dunlop clean sweep in sunny Sweden erased all memories of the 2002 rain, with impressive wins for British teams Lister Racing in the GT category and EMKA in the N-GT class. 22000 spectators came to the Scandinavian Raceway to watch the on-track...
A Dunlop clean sweep in sunny Sweden erased all memories of the 2002 rain, with impressive wins for British teams Lister Racing in the GT category and EMKA in the N-GT class. 22000 spectators came to the Scandinavian Raceway to watch the on-track action, and were rewarded with a fine race, with plenty of overtaking, some exciting battles and a few spectacular spins into the gravel during the 112 lap, three hour race.
FIRST 2003 WIN FOR LISTER RACING
The Swedish sun shone on Lister Racing this weekend, with the British team taking its first win of the season after coming so close on many occasions. Jamie Campbell-Walter and Nathan Kinch brought the nr 14 Lister Storm across the line 52 seconds ahead of the Konrad Saleen S7-R, with the second Lister Racing car third. Starting fifth on the grid, after missing a lot of track time during practice, the Storm ran strongly at the start, climbing up to third behind the Saleens. Nathan took the car over in second place, and gradually overtook Toni Seiler in the Konrad, handing a good lead back over to Campbell-Walter, who came home to break the jinx which had seemed to plague the 2000 Champions this season. "This win has been a long time coming, and everyone has worked really hard," Campbell-Walter explained. "The team did a fantastic job in the pits, and by the end we could just cruise really. But towards the end I put in my fastest lap just to show the Dunlop boys how good they are !"
With the nr 23 BMS Scuderia Ferrari 550 Maranello of Bobbi and Biagi going out in a first-lap incident, and the second Lister Racing Storm of Andrea Piccini and David Sterckx finishing third, the Championship classification has closed up, promising an exciting end to the season. Although Bobbi and Biagi still lead with 50 points, Gollin, Cappellari, Bryner and Calderari are just seven points behind, while Andrea Piccini is 13 points behind the leaders. In the Teams classification, BMS Scuderia Italia has a 30-point lead over Lister Racing, with 54 points still in play.
EMKA RACING MAKES IT AN ALL BRITISH DAY
Steve O'Rourke's EMKA Racing Porsche 996 GT3-RS has been fast all weekend, with Emmanuel Collard and Tim Sugden fastest in practice and qualifying. Despite dropping back slightly at the start, when Sugden went wide trying to avoid spinning cars in front of him, the nr 61 Porsche climbed back up the field to dominate the extremely competitive N-GT class, and take its second win of the season. This was also the second Anderstorp win for French driver Collard, who won here in the rain in the Freisinger Motorsport Porsche last year. "This seems to be a good track for me," Collard commented. "The car has been very good in qualifying and in the race, and it's nice to come here and win after the disappointment in Spa," Sugden agreed. The team's main rival throughout the weekend has been the nr 52 JMB Racing Ferrari 360 Modena of Andrea Bertolini and Fabrizio De Simone, and this proved true in the race as well. Unfortunately for the French team, a gearbox problem took them out of the running. Joining EMKA on the all-Dunlop shod podium were Championship leaders Stéphane Ortelli and Marc Lieb, who overcame a difficult-to-drive car to claim a well-deserved finish, and the nr 88 Team Maranello Concessionaires Ferrari 360 Modena car of Jamie Davies and Darren Turner.
In the classification, Freisinger Motorsport now lead Team Maranello Concessionaires by 26 points, with JMB Racing nine points behind the British team. In the Drivers, Ortelli and Lieb's nearest rival is now Jamie Davies, on 39.5 points, 16.5 points behind the leaders. A second win has brought Tim Sugden up to a fine fifth place.
THE GT STORY
While pole sitter Walter Lechner Jr, in the nr 2 Konrad, took a fine start and pulled out a good lead, followed by Tommy Erdos in the nr 7 Graham Nash Motorsport Saleen, the rest of the field had to avoid a spinning nr 23 Ferrari 550 Maranello. In the confusion, the nr 11 Roos Viper suffered a damaged front bonnet, which flew off at the end of the long straight. Lechner was on the pace from the beginning, setting the fastest lap of the race on lap 8 and pulling out a lead of 11 seconds over the Graham Nash Saleen by lap 14, with the nr 14 Lister close behind. Piccini, in the nr 15 Lister who had dropped back at the start, moved up to fourth on lap 24, just behind the nr 14 car. On lap 28, Campbell-Walter overtook the nr 7 GNM Saleen for second. It was Piccini's turn to try to overtake the Saleen, a manoeuvre which ended in the Graham Nash car going off the track, damaging the car and effectively putting it out of contention. When the first round of driver changes took place, Kinch took over the nr 14 Storm and gradually caught up with Toni Seiler, taking the lead on lap 51. Ten laps later, he had a lead of 7 seconds over the Konrad car, building it up to nearly 20 seconds by the time he handed the car back over to Campbell-Walter. The nr 14 Lister retained the lead until the end, with the Konrad Saleen of Franz Konrad, Walter Lechner Jr and Toni Seiler 52 seconds behind, and the second Lister Storm of Piccini and Sterckx a distant third. Fourth place went to Cappellari and Gollin in the nr 22 BMS Scuderia Italia Ferrari 550 Maranello, after a difficult race, with the nr 21 Care Racing Ferrari of Bryner and Calderari fifth. Despite struggling with a bonnet problem, the Zwaan's Racing Chrysler Viper of Rob and Arjan van der Zwaan and Klaus Abbelen finished sixth. The new entrant, the nr 19 Creation Autosportif Lister Storm of Gounon and Knapfield, took two points for seventh after struggling with oversteer and two trips into the gravel, while the nr 9 JMB Racing Ferrari, which had run strongly but stopped before the end with suspension problems, was classified 8th and took the final point.
THE N-GT STORY
Tim Sugden, starting from pole in the nr 61 EMKA Racing Porsche, lost places at the start when he went wide to avoid the start-line confusion, meaning that the nr 52 JMB Racing Ferrari took the lead, followed by the nr 50 Freisinger Porsche and the nr 99 RWS Yukos car. However, Sugden rapidly climbed back up, and by lap 19 he was only 5 seconds behind the Ferrari. The EMKA car stayed out while most of its N-GT rivals made pit-stops, and by the time it pitted on lap 46, the car was lying fourth overall, ahead of the nr 88 Team Maranello Concessionaires car, which had also not pitted. The JMB Ferrari then regained the lead, ahead of the nr 50 Freisinger Porsche. However, a gear-box problem hit the nr 52 Ferrari, giving the nr 61 Porsche the definitive lead, with Collard and Sugden finishing a lap ahead of Ortelli and Lieb, with the nr 88 TMC Ferrari 360 Modena third. Daoudi and Jones were pleased with a fourth-place finish in the nr 99 RWS Yukos Motorsport Porsche 996 GT3-RS. The second Freisinger Porsche was fifth, giving the team another four points in their fight to retain the Championship. Mark Mayall and Jürgen von Gartzen, running under the Eurotech entry, were sixth, with the nr 57 MENX Ferrari seventh and the nr 77 RWS Yukos Porsche of Fomenko and Vasiliev taking the final point for eighth. The only car not to be classified was the nr 89 Team Maranello Concessionaires Ferrari 360 Modena, which went out with electrical problems.
NOTES AND QUOTES
Jamie Campbell-Walter - nr 14 Lister Racing Storm - 1st in GT "We've had an incredibly unlucky year. This win has been a long time coming, and I don't think anyone can begrudge us the win. Everyone has worked really hard, especially after the accident at Spa, and as I think everyone knows, this is a new car, the one Verdon Roe and Knapfield used last year. Actually, it was the only Lister chassis never to have won a race, and so everyone was saying in the Lister workshop that it was jinxed, and that we would never win. But we've proved them wrong today, and now it's a lucky car. The race was great, the Konrad guys were really quick at the beginning, but we settled into a rhythm, I had a great start, managed to bring the car into second place. Then Nathan did a great job, especially considering he did not have many laps this weekend. It was good to see him take the lead and pull away, giving us a nice 18-second gap for the last pit stops. The boys must have done an excellent job as we gained around 10 seconds in the pits and from then on it was just a cruise, really."
Nathan Kinch - nr 14 Lister Racing Storm - 1st in GT: "It feels good to take my first win in the FIA GT Championship. I got into a good rhythm during my stint and finally caught and overtook the Saleen. I didn't do much running in practice, but I got some laps yesterday and in the warm-up, and I felt quite confident by the time the race started."
Franz Konrad - nr 2 Konrad Motorsport Saleen S7-R - 2nd in GT : "I am very happy and now I can see a small light at the end of the tunnel after all the gearbox problems we had all season. We were able to show everyone that the car was fast, but we could not finish the race. And now we have got through. The team works well, the car is going well, the tyres are good. Walter did a very good job today; Toni was a bit slow and lost some time in the pit stops, but it doesn't matter - Jamie did a perfect job today and they won the race. So we'll come back for Oschersleben, which is my second home circuit, and I think there will be a good chance for us to win there."
Walter Lechner Jr - nr 2 Konrad Motorsport Saleen S7-R - 2nd in GT : "I am very happy with my race and with second place. I had a good start, set the pace and did some very good laps in the beginning. Then I began to save the tyres as I did not know how they would work, but I saw that even after one hour I could do a low 1:32. I gave the car to Toni with a 20 second advantage."
Andrea Piccini - nr 15 Lister Racing Storm - 3rd in GT : " The beginning of the race was a bit difficult because there was contact between Bobbi and Verdon-Roe. I lost a bit of time staying on the outside trying to avoid the accident, and then Jamie passed me, and one Viper passed me as well. I handed over to David who did a very good job. When I took the car over again for the final stint I had problems with third gear, and so to be safe I just used fourth, but the car was shaking a lot, so I just took it easy to get to the end of the race, because third place is very good for the Championship. We have gained a lot of points in the Teams classification, so I think it is looking good for the last three races. The Ferraris are quick, but they will be under pressure and fighting between each other, so I think it is going to be a good end to the Championship."
David Sterckx - nr 15 Lister Racing Storm - 3rd in GT : "This was my first three hour race, as I've only done Spa for the last two years. It was difficult at the start, but I enjoyed it and hope to continue for the rest of the season."
Tim Sugden - nr 61 EMKA Racing Porsche 996 GT3-RS : "The start was fine, but by the time we got to the first corner I was in trouble, because there was an incident that I thought it would be a good idea to go around the outside of. It probably was a good idea, but I ended up on the grass, and everybody passed me, so by the time we got to the straight I was seventh or eighth in class. So I made it hard for myself. But it was good, the car was good, and I managed to chip away and pass people, eventually caught the lead Ferrari, three quarters of an hour later than I planned. I handed over to Emmanuel with a good lead, and he took over from there - brilliant ! We did a splash and dash at the end. We're really pleased for the team, as we were going very well at Spa, keeping up with Freisinger, but something went wrong with the gearbox, so it's really nice to come here and win."
Emmanuel Collard - nr 61 EMKA Racing Porsche 996 GT3-RS : "This seems to be a good track for me, but this weekend we had a very good car, we were very fast in qualifying and in the race, and we had no problems. It was not easy, but I had a 10 second lead so I could manage the tyres and I had no problems at all in the race."
Marc Lieb - nr 50 Freisinger Motorsport Porsche 996 GT3-RS - 2nd in N-GT "That was such a difficult race. We have been struggling with the set-up of our car all weekend, so I am very happy with second place, which is good for the Championship. EMKA did a fantastic job, they were in a different league. But we will be back in Oschersleben."
Stéphane Ortelli - nr 50 Freisinger Motorsport Porsche 996 GT3-RS - 2nd in N-GT : "We were expecting to fight for the podium and I think our real place should have been third, except for the problems that JMB had in the race. We were lucky to take eight points this weekend, as Jamie was as fast as Marc at the end, but he had to do a splash and dash, otherwise we could have lost second."
Darren Turner - nr 88 Team Maranello Concessionaires Ferrari 360 Modena - 3rd in N-GT : "The weekend has been OK; this was our first time at the circuit and we had a lot to learn. We are reasonably pleased, but we were surprised by the pace of the guys at the front. We thought that after about 10 laps they would slow down, but they didn't. But it's good that the car lasted the distance, and maybe if we can get the speed back, we can go for more points at the next rounds."
Jamie Davies - nr 88 Team Maranello Concessionaires Ferrari 360 Modena - 3rd in N-GT : "It was quite a tough race, just pushing as hard as possible to try and get the most out of the car, pushing as hard as possible every lap to try to close the gap. But the car wasn't working as we would have liked, we didn't have enough grip."
Jean-Marc Gounon - nr 19 Creation Autosportif Lister Storm - 7th in GT : "It was a very difficult race; we had oversteer and went into the gravel twice. I consider this race as a test session - we have been solving the problems little by little, and it went better in the race, so at least we finished in the points."
Magnus Wallinder - nr 11 Roos Optima Chrysler Viper - DNF : "There was some debris on the track and the car in front of me noticed it and slowed down, but I couldn't brake early enough and I hit him. The car was OK to start with , but on the next lap, at the end of the long straight, the bonnet came off. It took us 34 minutes to repair it in the pits, but it was very important to get out again as this is our home race. However, we have found a good set-up - it has never been so good - and hopefully it will be as good for the next race in Oschersleben."
Luca Cappellari - nr 22 BMS Scuderia Italia Ferrari 550 Maranello - 4th in GT : "That was a very hard race. We lost six positions at the start during Bobbi's accident. Due to the ballast and the smaller restrictors, we have lost straight-line speed, so it was difficult to climb back up. But the team did a great job in the pits and we came up to fourth. This was very good for the Championship, as Fabrizio Gollin and I are now only seven points behind Bobbi and Biagi, and I think there will be a big fight for the rest of the season."
Gordon Davies - Team Manager, Graham Nash Motorsport : "This has been a tough weekend. None of the team or drivers had been here before, and we didn't know what to expect. We were very pleased with the front row qualifying, but the accident between the nr 7 and the nr 15 did quite a lot of damage, and the car needed extensive repairs. Mike took the car back out to make sure it was OK, but something else failed and it landed in the gravel. The nr 8 car was running well, although a problem with the fuel rig meant that the car had to make an extra stop to get the full allocation. But then the drive shaft broke."
Stéphane Daoudi - nr 99 RWS Motorsport Porsche 996 GT3-RS - 4th in N-GT : "Fourth can be rather disappointing, but now I am really glad, because I did a great last stint, overtaking Von Gartzen and Gardel in the last few minutes. I hope that we will manage to find an even better set-up with tyres so that we can try to be nearer the front next time."