Brno: Round three race report

WEATHER : Overcast with sunny spells WARM UP : Jamie Campbell-Walter underlined the potential of the nr 1 Lister Storm Racing Lister Storm when he set the fastest time in the warm up with a lap of 1:58.850s, ahead of the nr 23 BMS Scuderia...

WEATHER : Overcast with sunny spells

WARM UP : Jamie Campbell-Walter underlined the potential of the nr 1 Lister Storm Racing Lister Storm when he set the fastest time in the warm up with a lap of 1:58.850s, ahead of the nr 23 BMS Scuderia Italia Ferrari 550 Maranello and nr 12 Paul Belmondo Racing Chrysler Viper. The Force One Ferrari 550 Maranello team rebuilt the Ferrari V12 engine overnight and found a water pump problem that had affected their engine during qualifying. The team then suffered further difficulties during the warm-up with an oil pressure problem and did not start the race.Stephane Ortelli and Marc Lieb headed the N-GT category in the nr 54 Freisinger Motorsport Porsche 996 GT3RS, ahead of Philipp Peter in the nr 58 Autorlando Porsche 996 GT3RS.

LISTER STORM TAKES SECOND WIN OF THE YEAR The Lister Storm Racing Lister Storm nr 14, driven by Jamie Campbell-Walter and Nicolaus Springer, took its second victory of the year at the third round of the FIA GT Championship at Brno. Campbell-Walter took the lead on the very last lap of racing when Fabrizio Gollin, driving the nr 4 Carsport Holland Chrysler Viper GTS-R, ran out of fuel while leading, and was forced to complete a slow final lap to take third position. The result means that Campbell-Walter and Springer retain the lead in the drivers' championship. The Briton started from third on the grid, but took the lead during a Safety Car period. He held it until the first round of pit stops, handing Springer a healthy lead as the team did not change tyres. Springer handed back just short of the second hour for Campbell-Walter to finish. Campbell-Walter re-joined in sixth position, and enjoyed a classic battle for the lead with the nr 1 Larbre Competition Chrysler Viper GTS-R of Christophe Bouchut, Gollin, and the nr 12 Paul Belmondo Racing Chrysler Viper GTS-R of Fabio Babini. Babini dropped out of contention after an excursion to the gravel, leaving Campbell-Walter and Bouchut to exchange places behind Gollin, but it was the Lister ahead at the flag. The second Lister Storm of Paul Knapfield and Bobby Verdon-Roe crashed out in the second hour of the race with Knapfield on board after the Englishman hit oil mid-corner and spun into the gravel.

BEST RESULT OF 2002 FOR LARBRE COMPETITION
The Larbre Competition Chrysler Viper GTS-R nr 1 of Christophe Bouchut and David Terrien took second overall. The pair were running second in the second hour of the race with Terrien on board, Bouchut having pitted while running second behind the nr 14 Lister Storm Racing Lister Storm of Jamie Campbell-Walter. However, the pair lost time at the second round of pit stops when the left rear wheel got stuck, losing the team time and dropping them into the heat of the battle for second. The sister car, the nr 2 of Carl Rosenblad and Vincent Vosse, came home in fourth position overall, two laps down on the winners after struggling for rear-end grip during the first two stints.

UNLUCKY CARSPORT HOLLAND
The Carsport Holland team watched both of its cars lose the lead of the race. The nr 3 Chrysler Viper GTS-R of Mike Hezemans and Anthony Kumpen crashed out with a healthy lead in the final hour when the left rear wheel fell off, causing Kumpen to spin into the gravel and out of the race. Hiis team-mate Fabrizio Gollin, sharing the nr 4 Chrysler Viper GTS-R with Luca Cappellari, assumed the lead, but he ran out of fuel on the final lap, and struggled through to finish third overall.

TWO PAUL BELMONDO RACING VIPERS IN THE POINTS
Both the Paul Belmondo Racing Chrysler Viper GTS-R cars finished in the points. Fabio Babini and Marc Duez were running second in the final hour of the race in the nr 12 Chrysler Viper GTS-R, but Babini spun into the gravel under pressure from three other cars. The Italian recovered to finish fifth overall. The second car, the nr 11 Paul Belmondo Racing Chrysler Viper GTS-R of Paul Belmondo and Robert Dierick, finished sixth.

RETIREMENTS FOR BMS SCUDERIA ITALIA
Both of the BMS Scuderia Italia Ferrari 550 Maranellos retired from the race. The nr 22 Ferrari 550 Maranello of Lilian Bryner was involved in a collision during the first hour of the race with Andrea Garbagnati's nr 51 Ferrari 360 Modena. The accident caused a Safety Car period, the only one of the race. The leading Ferrari 550 Maranello of Tomas Enge stretched out a lead in the opening half hour of the race, and the Czech pitted under the Safety Car. He then lost a lap to the leaders while waiting for the pit lane to reopen. He was recovering his position but spun off, picking up a stone in the engine that caused his retirement.

FREISINGER SCORES FIRST WIN OF THE SEASON
Stephane Ortelli and his new team-mate Marc Lieb won the N-GT class in the nr 54 Porsche 996 GT3 RS. Lieb was embroiled in a battle with the championship-leading Ferrari 360 Modena nr 50 of Andrea Montermini and Christian Pescatori during his stint in the second half of the race, with the two cars lapping within one second of each other for nearly an hour. He was all but assured of victory when Montermini spun, losing time but remaining in second position. The Porsche crossed the line 20 seconds in front of the Ferrari to score its first win of the season, having been excluded from the first round for a fuel-tank infringement and crashed out of the second round at Silverstone.

SECOND PLACE FOR JMB
Christian Pescatori, driving the nr 50 JMB Ferrari 360 Modena, had a fantastic battle in the first half of the race with the nr 54 Freisinger Porsche 996 GT3RS of Ortelli, the nr 58 Autorlando Porsche of Philipp Peter, who shares with Toto Wolff, and the nr 60 JvG Racing Porsche of Jurgen von Gartzen, who shares with Ian Kahn.

Andrea Garbagnati, who was driving the nr 51 Ferrari 360 Modena that he shares with Andrea Bertolini, was forced out of the race in the first hour. The Italian was pushed into a spin and was hit by the nr 22 BMS Scuderia Italia Ferrari 550 Maranello of Lilian Bryner. Both cars were out on the spot, and caused the only Safety Car period of the three-hour race.

AUTORLANDO MOVES TO SECOND
The Autorlando Sport team moved up to second position in the championship for teams after Toto Wolff and Philipp Peter finished third in their nr 58 Porsche 996 GT3RS. Peter was one of the four cars battling for the lead of the class in the opening half of the race. The team finished fifth in the opening round of the championship, then was second at Silverstone two weeks ago.

JVG RACING CONTINUES TO SCORE
The JvG Racing Porsche 996 GT3-R continued to score points, Jurgen von Gartzen and Ian Kahn finishing fourth in class to maintain their second position in the drivers' championship. The team is level on points in the classification for teams with Autorlando Sport, which finished third. Von Gartzen was involved in a four-car battle for the lead of the race during the opening half of the race, and narrowly fended off the nr 53 JMB Competition Ferrari 360 Modena of Marco Lambertini, Batti Pregaliasco and Iradj Alexander at the line.

FIRST POINTS FOR SYSTEM FORCE
The System Force Porsche team of Peter van Merksteijn and Phil Bastiaans scored their first points of the season when they finished sixth in the N-GT class. The car was running well inside the top six despite suffering from oversteer, but ran low on fuel and was forced to make a splash-and-dash pit stop towards the end of the race.

NOTES AND QUOTES

Jamie Campbell-Walter, nr 14 Lister Storm, Lister Storm Racing : "I can't remember everything that happened out there today. The start was good. After the safety car period, I was first, and ran to the fuel stop. Nic then took over with no tyre changes, which we thought to be a good idea, and proved to be the right decision at the end. Nic did a great job, considering that the tyre wear here is very hard, and he drove well on my old tyres. He brought the car back and I took over with one hour and five minutes to go. The car was really good, and I had a great battle with Christophe Bouchut. There was no contact at all between us, just really good racing. I dropped back now and then, usually due to a slide or passing a back-marker, but basically it was pure racing, giving ten tenths for the full last hour. It was really good fun and great to have racing like that. When I saw Kumpen in the gravel, I thought we were in with a chance. As for the end, it was just fantastic."

Nicolaus Springer, nr 14 Lister Storm, Lister Storm Racing : "I am very happy to still be leading the Championship; Jamie is the king, and Laurence Pearce is fantastic, to give an amateur driver like me the chance to race at this level is fantastic. My stint was quite difficult as the tyres were old, and I just concentrated on bringing the car back in one piece to give it to Jamie. It was amazing to watch the fight between Jamie and Christophe Bouchut !"

Christophe Bouchut, nr 1 Chrysler Viper, Larbre Competition Chéreau : "It was a really good fight for everyone, and a great show. It was a wonderful race, even if we did not win. It was good to change places many times during the final hour, everyone was very strong, and it was easy to make mistakes. It was a very nice race."

David Terrien, nr 1 Chrysler Viper, Larbre Competition Chéreau : " My stint was OK - although I don't quite understand how we lost so much time during the first pit stop. However, I came back up to second place, but then we lost time again in the pits as there were problems taking off the rear right wheel. We lost 20 seconds, and lost the race then."

Luca Cappellari, nr 4 Carsport Holland Chrysler Viper GTS-R : "The reason that Fabrizio dropped back at the end was because we had finished our fuel. Our car has a problem with the last 8 litres, and the dashboard said the fuel was out when we started the last lap. It was a fantastic race. It could have been the first win for an all-Italian line-up, but that's racing."

Marc Lieb, nr 54 Freisinger Motorsport Porsche 996 GT3-R : "That was one of the hardest races of my career ^Ö Montermini was pressurising me for over an hour. He was quicker in the narrow sections and under braking, but I could get a gap on the straights, so I could keep ahead. We had a small problem with the brakes, and lost sixth gear towards the end, but apart from that, the car was fine. I am really happy ^Ö this is my first race in the FIA GT Championship and also my first win."

Stephane Ortelli, nr 54 Freisinger Motorsport Porsche 996 GT3-R : "I have to say that I conserved my fuel during the first stint, especially after the pace caqr. Then we lost over ten seconds in the pit ^Ö we really have to work on better stops. I was not surprised by Marc's job ^Ö I know him well and I was pleased to have him alongside me. It was very hard to watch, but he did not put a foot wrong. It is a very good result for us, and I really have to thank Marc."

Christian Pescatori, nr 50 JMB Racing Ferrari 360 Modena : "I made a good start and the first ten laps were fine, but then over one lap I was passed by three Porsches, which overtook me in three successive corners. After that, my lap times were similar to theirs, but I could not do much. It was difficult to catch them and overtake. For me and Andrea Montermini this second place is good for the Championship.

Andrea Montermini, nr 50 JMB Racing Ferrari 360 Modena : "I think everyone say that I was faster and could catch the Porsche, but I had no chance of overtaking. He didn't make any mistakes, and I couldn't catch him on the straights. I tried to overtake, and got beside him, but he closed the door and I was there. I tried to avoid him, but the car spun and slid, and I had to restart. Which was the end of our race. It was very frustrating, but there was nothing I could do, just push as hard as I could.

Philipp Peter, nr 58 Autorlando Porsche 996 GT3-R : "The car was very good today. I starting well and had some good laps, taking the lead, but then I had to back off as my tyres were finished. We really need a more constant car to save our tyres. Our goal today was the podium, and to complete the race on one pit stop, both of which we achieved. Toto did a perfect job, trying not to use too much fuel. So we're happy !"

Toto Wolff , nr 58 Autorlando Porsche 996 GT3-R : "We struggled the whole weekend with the tyres. We could do some very fast laps but began to have oversteering problems after 30 minutes. I was told to watch the fuel, to watch the tyres, to watch everything. We made the podium but I know it was impossible to beat the Freisinger Porsche or the Ferrari, so we did the best we could."

Carl Rosenblad, nr 2 Larbre Competition Chéreau Chrysler Viper GTS-R : "It was a pretty straight-forward race for us today. We had some problems with the tyres, which were a bit too soft in the first two stints. Vincent tried a harder compound which was better. Both our cars a struggling a bit with the tyres this weekend. We really couldn't get better than fourth place, so I suppose we should have been happy. However, 4th is always a very difficult position, especially as Gollin had fuel problems, and if the race had been one lap longer, we could have been on the podium."

Mike Hezemans, nr 3 Carsport Holland Chrysler Viper GTS-R: "It is unbelievable. I was so much quicker, and the car was so easy. It had no oversteer and no understeer, it really was perfect. I was doing 2:02s laps, and sometimes I would brake a little bit later and see a 2:01 and I would back off. It was going so easy. My father was on the radio saying 'go slow' and I was saying 'I am going slow!' It was unbelievable, it was so easy. I was lucky, though, I ran out of fuel and I just about made it back to the pits. With a 53s lead you just go easy, no problems, and then the wheel falls off! At Silverstone we had a 26-second lead and that was ours also. I was amazed with the tyres. I wanted tyres that were 20 laps old to start the race, we were very soft on the springs and the tyres were absolutely fantastic."

David Hallyday, nr 5 Ferrari 550 Maranello, Force One Racing: "There was a problem with the oil pressure. There is a security system in the engine and that cuts it out when the pressure is too low. Every time I tried to downshift, it wouldn't go through because the engine would shut off. I had to stop the car, then start it again, then go. I did three laps like that and could not set a fast time. But you have to be positive. The engine has undergone so many changes that we are learning about it. It seems that the engine is working well, it is just the accessories that don't work properly. That is what we are trying to fix before Jarama."

Fabio Babini, nr 12 Paul Belmondo Racing Chrysler Viper GTS-R: "I pushed too much during the last hour. I have a little problem from the grid because Gollin and Bouchut were very fast. I closed the line too much in the corner, and I don't know what happened. I had a problem changing from fourth to third in the corner and I lost the rear of the car. I pushed very hard, but we were not very fast on the straight, but I am happy that we still managed to finish."

Paul Knapfield, nr 15 Lister Storm Racing Lister Storm: "Three cars went off at the same point, and there was oil on the track. It was going well until then. It was something of a disappointment. You think back, and wonder whether you made a mistake, but it was the oil. I think I was into the wrong gear onto the straight. They told me to short-shift onto the straight, but I thought that third was better."

Lilian Bryner, nr 22 BMS Scuderia Italia, Ferrari 550 Maranello: "I think that the little Ferrari was hit by a Paul Belmondo Viper, and he was already spinning when I saw him. I was on the gas out of the corner and I tried to avoid him, but he spun into me and I hit him with the left-front. It was a big impact, but I am OK."

Jurgen von Gartzen, nr 60 JvG Racing Porsche 996 GT3RS: "I thought that Ian drove very well during the second half of the race. After our problems in qualifying, this was a very good result. The car was re-built and was absolutely perfect, so I am happy with the result."

Phil Bastiaans, nr 63 System Force Motorsport, Porsche 996 GT3RS: "I have some problems because I have always driven front-wheel drive cars, and it was especially slippery here. Every two weeks we have races, and that for a new team very difficult to test and do everything. When you look in qualifying we are two seconds off the pace but in the race we were much closer, so it will get better.

Dan Michl, nr 67 Machanek Racing, Porsche 996 GT3RS: This is the first time that I have raced in a GT car. I ran for the first time in free practice, but I do not have the physical condition to cope with it. I was worn out after 30 minutes and the rest of it was terrible. I have always driven Skodas, and this was completely different. I made really bad times, and it was really a struggle!"

-fia-gt-

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About this article
Series Blancpain Sprint
Drivers Tomas Enge , Fabrizio Gollin , Christian Pescatori , Carl Rosenblad , Vincent Vosse , Stéphane Ortelli , Jamie Campbell-Walter , Andrea Montermini , Anthony Kumpen , Mike Hezemans , Christophe Bouchut , David Terrien , Paul Belmondo , Marc Lieb , Andrea Garbagnati , Nicolaus Springer , Fabio Babini , Andrea Bertolini , Peter van Merksteijn , Lilian Bryner , Bobby Verdon-Roe , Luca Cappellari , Paul Knapfield , Marc Duez , Jurgen von Gartzen , Toto Wolff , Philipp Peter , Alexander Iradj , Robert Dierick , David Hallyday , Phil Bastiaans
Teams Larbre Competition