FIA GT CHAMPIONSHIP ROUND 3 SUPER POLE/ SECOND QUALIFYING WEATHER : Dry and overcast ENGE TAKES POLE AT HOME RACE Tomas Enge set pole position in the nr 23 Ferrari 550 Maranello on his debut in the GT class of the FIA GT Championship. It is...
FIA GT CHAMPIONSHIP
SUPER POLE/ SECOND QUALIFYING
WEATHER : Dry and overcast
ENGE TAKES POLE AT HOME RACE
Tomas Enge set pole position in the nr 23 Ferrari 550 Maranello on his debut in the GT class of the FIA GT Championship. It is the first time that a Ferrari 550 Maranello has taken pole position since the fifth round of the championship last season at Zolder, when Emanuele Naspetti took the honours. Enge set a time of 1:58.501s to beat the nr 1 Larbre Competition Chrysler Viper GTS-R of Christophe Bouchut. The pair will line up on the front row of the grid, ahead of Jamie Campbell-Walter in the nr 14 Lister Storm Racing Lister Storm. Campbell-Walter claimed that Bouchut deliberately stayed in front of him as he set his qualifying lap, making the track dirty and slowing him down, an accusation denied by the Frenchman. Belgian Anthony Kumpen, recovering from a large accident in a Chrysler Viper last weekend, was fourth fastest in the nr 3 Carsport Holland Chrysler Viper GTS-R, ahead of his team-mate Fabrizio Gollin. Vincent Vosse was sixth, two seconds off pole.
FERRARI ONE-TWO IN N-GT
Christian Pescatori took the N-GT pole position in his nr 50 Ferrari 360 Modena, despite carrying 40kg of success ballast after winning both rounds of the championship so far. The Italian set a time of 2:05.141 to beat his team-mate Andrea Bertolini, at the wheel of the nr 51 JMB Ferrari 360 Modena. The pair will start from 12th and 13th position overall on the grid, the top two positions set by N-GT cars in first qualifying. Austrian Philipp Peter was third in the Autorlando Porsche nr 58 that he shares with Toto Wolff.
Stephane Ortelli, who has set the N-GT pole position time at both of the opening rounds of the championship in his nr 54 Freisinger Porsche 996 GT3RS, was fourth fastest. The Monaco-based Frenchman used old tyres for the session, and firmly believed he could have been on pole had he used a new set. Phil Bastiaans was fifth quickest in class in the nr 63 System Force Motorsport, the first time that the team has qualified for the Super Pole session. The Dutchman was struggling with understeer in his Porsche 996 GT3RS. Jurgen von Gartzen missed the Super Pole qualifying session as his car was not repaired in time following his accident this morning. Ian Kahn did get out in time for the second session and set ninth fastest time in class.
SECOND QUALIFYING SESSION -- BABINI FASTEST
Fabio Babini set quickest time in the second qualifying session in the nr 12 Paul Belmondo Racing Chrysler Viper GTS-R. The Italian, with co-driver Belgian Marc Duez, suffered a temperature sensor problem in the morning session that was robbing them of straight-line speed. He set a time of 2:01.339 in the second session, more than half a second clear of the nr 1 Larbre Competition Chrysler Viper GTS-R of David Terrien. Mike Hezemans was third fastest in the nr 3 Carsport Holland Chrysler Viper GTS-R, ahead of Carl Rosenblad in the nr 2 Larbre Competition Chrysler Viper GTS-R. Paul Belmondo's Chrysler Viper was involved in a collision with the nr 51 Ferrari 360 Modena of Andrea Garbagnati. The Italian had already spun, and Robert Dierick hit him.
Andrea Montermini was the fastest N-GT qualifier in the nr 50 JMB Racing Ferrari 360 Modena, ahead of the nr 67 Machanek Racing Porsche 996 GT3RS of Rudolf Machanek, Andrej Studenic and Dan Michl. Problems continued for the nr 5 Force One Ferrari 550 Maranello team. After having their first qualifying time disallowed after failing a ride-height test, the Ferrari suffered a water pump failure.
David Terrien, nr 1 Chrysler Viper GTS-R, Larbre Competition: "I have spent more time in the car this weekend than I have over the others this season. I had one hour in the second free practice session yesterday, 10 minutes in qualifying and 15 minutes in the second qualifying session, so I am more used to the car and setting better lap times."
Christophe Bouchut, nr 1 Larbre Competition Chéreau Chrysler Viper GTS-R : "The car is working well, the balance is nice. We have a new gearbox and engine, and the tyres are working well. I think we will be very strong for tomorrow's race. However, I think that honestly we are touching the limit of the Viper, and we cannot hope to equal the Lister of Ferrari in Qualifying. The race is different, as different parameters apply, and your team-mate is also a factor. I really think we have a good package this weekend."
Paul Belmondo, nr 11 Chrysler Viper GTS-R, Paul Belmondo Racing: "We are much better off than we were yesterday. We lost a lot of time in traffic, but we have to make a new set-up for tomorrow. It will be much more like the set-up on our team-mate's car. The problem for Babini and Duez was a temperature sensor problem, but that is now fixed."
Jamie Campbell-Walter, nr 14 Lister Storm : "We have a good car, and testing went well. We changed the car before qualifying today to suit the track for one lap, and got rid of the understeer. I did one quick lap during the first qualifying session, and was quite confident for the Superpole. However I felt that Bouchut, who was on his in lap 100 metres ahead of me, was kicking up a lot of dust, which put me off a bit. We will start from third, which is not a big problem. We've won before from the back of the grid !"
Paul Knapfield, nr 15 Lister Storm, Lister Storm Racing: "We have a lot of understeer and I don't have the confidence to deal with it. I think that I am running out of road, whereas these guys can just fight it and know where they are going to be. I feel I am going onto the dirt. It is a very interesting circuit, as it is very long, and it is good experience for me. I think that I will find another second at least if we can cure the understeer, I am off the power for quite a while around the lap. I can do that time in the race, but I am not very good with qualifiers, wringing that last bit out."
Tomas Enge, nr 23 BMS Scuderia Italia Ferrari 550 Maranello : "It was m ore the car than me, but I do know the track extremely well, so that gives me a big advantage. The car is going very well, and we had saved a set of tyres for the superpole, so that gave us an advantage. I enjoy the Superpole system; it was good to concentrate on one lap."
Christian Pescatori, nr 50 JMB Racing Ferrari 360 Modena : "Pole position was a big surprise for me was we were working mainly for the race. The time was good, but I am surprised as the Porsches are normally fast here. We need to be able to push hard at the start tomorrow, as the Porsches are very fast on their first laps."
Andrea Bertolini, nr 51 JMB Racing Ferrari 360 Modena : "My lap was very good, but the track was quite dirty, especially in the first and last chicanes. I am very happy with my position . I think the car should be good for the race."
Philipp Peter, nr 58 Autorlando Sport Porsche 996 GT3-R : "The lap was OK, but I still had too much oversteer, just like all weekend so far. I could have gone one or two tenths faster, but I couldn't try to improve as we have to concentrate on a good set-up. I hope we solve our problems or it will be a very tough race in this heat. Some rain would be good ^Ö I like driving in the rain, and the Pirelli tyres are very good. But good weather would be better for the spectators."
Jirko Malcharek, nr 62 Porsche 996 GT3RS, Cirtek Motorsport: "I am not really satisfied with our weekend so far. In free practice we had a problem with the engine and the gearbox. I drove here last year with Enge and I was looking forward to this race with my new colleague Burt who is a very good driver, but now I don't think we have a chance in the race. We have had two problems with the gearbox. I could not downshift, and we had a problem with the gear ratios. Now we can shift, but the speed is bad, and I cannot shift into sixth gear. Normally I manage to lap here in 2:07, now my lap times are 2:13s, which is terrible. I was very happy at Silverstone, when I was fourth in qualifying, my colleague was in the Super Pole, and we were fifth after after 1hr 40mins of the race. It is doubly bad for me. I am at home here, with my fans, my sponsor and my family and zero chance of doing well. Maybe it will be better if it rains. I know this track is better in the rain; in the dry it will be hard. This is likely to be my last race this season. I am a Member of Parliament in Slovakia and we have an election this year. I have to campaign for my party harder than over the last three years. I will be testing cars this year, and I would like to drive here again next season."
Phil Bastiaans, nr 63 Porsche 996 GT3RS, System Force Motorsport: "This was my first time doing the Super Pole. We have a reasonable set-up. Yesterday we reached a deal with Pirelli to have factory tyres for the rest of the season, which is a big step forward for us. We will become more and more competitive with the Ferraris and with Ortelli in qualifying. You can feel that the team is in its third weekend and working well together. We need more people to work on the car but the enthusiasm is there and the money is there, so we should just continue to improve."