Budapest preview

FIA GT CHAMPIONSHIP ROUND 6 : BUDAPEST (HUN), 29th JUNE/ 1st JULY 2001 Championship Rundown Budapest marks the half-way point in the 2001 FIA GT Championship. After the Hungarian weekend, five rounds will remain, including the Proximus 24...

FIA GT CHAMPIONSHIP
ROUND 6 : BUDAPEST (HUN), 29th JUNE/ 1st JULY 2001

Championship Rundown
Budapest marks the half-way point in the 2001 FIA GT Championship. After the Hungarian weekend, five rounds will remain, including the Proximus 24 Hours of Spa in August. On Tuesday June 12th, the FIA heard Lister's appeal against their exclusion from the Zolder results due to air box test failure, but maintained the original decision of the stewards. Larbre Competition now have a 17 point lead over Lister Storm Racing in the GT teams classification, while in the N-GT category, RWS Motorsport leads JMB Competition by only three points.

Test days at Spa
Two test days have been organised for June 22nd and 23rd at the Belgian track of Spa-Francorchamps, in preparation for the sixth round of the FIA GT Championship, the Proximus 24 Hours of Spa. Paul Belmondo Racing, Carsport Holland, Prodrive and JMB Competition are among the teams taking part.

GT CHAMPIONSHIP

Larbre Competition Chereau (1st, 42 pts) : in the lead despite 100 kg penalty weight Inheriting the Zolder win after Lister's exclusion, Larbre enter the second part of the season with a lead of 17points. However, the team is not expecting an easy time at Budapest. "There is always a lot of work to do after a 24 hour race (i.e. Le Mans), and this time we had an accident as well, but we will be there'' team owner Jack Leconte explained. ''However, with 100 kg penalty weight, and considering the nature of the track, we will not be able to do much in qualifying, so we will concentrate on the race set-up and try to get as many points as possible. We've just got to keep scoring points and try to keep our lead."

Lister Storm Racing (2nd, 25 pts) : the battle for the title goes on "We're all ready for Budapest," Lister's Fiona Pearce explained. "The cars have undergone total maintenance, which should have cured the misfire and other minor problems. But we did not have time for the complete rebuild we had originally planned. Nicolaus Springer tested at Dijon, and we want both cars to have a good run in Budapest." Despite trailing Larbre Competition in the points, Jamie Campbell-Walter is ready to fight until the end. "It might not be looking great just now but we'll see where it leads us. At Budapest, with no long straights for the Vipers to stretch their legs, we should be dominant and have a good weekend. Tommy and I really want to win. It's a steep hill now, but we've got nothing to lose, so we'll go for maximum attack." The team is unlikely to contest the Proximus 24 Hours of Spa. "We don't have the budget to do the race," Fiona continued. "However, the cars are ready, and if we find the budget, we'll be there."

Paul Belmondo Racing (3rd, 21 pts) : looking forward to Budapest "The team has an awful lot of work after Le Mans," Boris Derichebourg said. "Luckily we are going to the Spa tests, which will allow us to check a few things before Budapest. It's true that we are a long way behind Larbre at the moment, so we're hoping to score well at Budapest, and then really try hard for Spa. Budapest was excellent for us last year, as we won, and obviously we'd like to repeat that result. We don't have too much penalty weight any more. However, the big problem is likely to be the heat - we will have to find a solution to keep the car cool. The track is quite nice, very technical, although it's hard work as there is no time to relax. Tyre wear will also be a big factor."

Carsport Holland (4th , 17 pts) with new engine "We'll be testing a new engine in our Chrysler Viper GTS-R during the Spa test days," explained Mike Hezemans of Carsport Holland. "It's a Mader engine, with new cam shafts, and a different connection to the throttle, like in a Formula One engine. It's experimental, but it should give us more power, especially at the top end of the range. It has worked well on the test bed, and we really hope it works well at Spa. If it does, we'll leave it in for Budapest."

Team Rafanelli (5th, 14 pts) with more power he Italian team's two TFerrari 550 Maranello cars finished the first part of the season Tin fine form, with Emanuele Naspetti claiming pole position in the Tn5 car at Zolder, while Marc Duez and Gunther Blieninger finished Tin third place in the race. "We are always working on the cars," TGabriele Rafanelli explained. "We have rebuilt them totally, making Tsome modifications and mechanical improvements. And we should have 20 Tbhp more power in the engine."

Prodrive make FIA GT Championship debut After withdrawing from Silverstone, Prodrive should make their debut in the FIA GT Championship at the Hungaroring, with the first of two Ferrari 550 Maranello cars. It will be driven by two former British Touring Car Champions, Alain Menu from Switzerland and Rickard Rydell from Sweden. "We tested the new gearbox at Snetterton, and it ran OK," team press officer Ben Sayer explained. "And then we will be testing the car again at Spa on Friday and Saturday."

N-GT CHAMPIONSHIP

RWS Motorsport (1st, 31 pts) ready "I'm ready for Budapest," RWS Motorsport's Luca Riccitelli said. "It's an important race. Especially after our mistakes at Zolder, we can't afford to lose any more points, so we want a good race. But the Hungaroring is a very special racetrack, with many corners and not enough straights for the Porsche engine, so I think it will be very good for the Ferrari, and they will be very fast." Luca will be driving once more with his Zolder team mate Andrea Boldrini.

JMB Competition (2nd, 28 pts) confident "I know the circuit from Formula 3000," JMB's David Terrien commented. "I think it's perfectly suited to our Ferrari 360 Modena, but that is a difficult thing to judge. We thought Zolder would also be perfect for the car, but as it turned out we had a lot of technical problems. Still, our aim is to confirm what we did at Magny Cours and Silverstone, and to win every race if we can. We're three points behind RWS at the moment, so we need to score as many points as possible, especially at the Spa race, which counts for double." JMB is testing at Spa this weekend.

Art Engineering (3rd, 21 pts) in good shape Fabio Babini and Luigi Moccia will be back behind the wheel of the n 54 Porsche 996 GT3-R at Budapest, after claiming their first win of the season at Zolder. The n53 car will be driven by team regular Andrea Bertolini and Slovakian driver Jirko Malcharek, who previously drove for the Coca Cola Racing Team. "A good result in Budapest is important for the team, for Pirelli, for the continuity of the Championship," said the recent Le Mans GT winner, Fabio Babini.

Larbre Competition Chereau (4th, 13 pts) with two cars again "Both the n 50 and n51 Porsche 996 GT3-R cars will be at Budapest, with the usual driver line-ups," Jack Leconte confirmed. "There is still some work to be done on the Le Mans car, but we'll be ready. I am sure that we are capable of winning a race this season." Sebastien Dumez, who was taken ill during the 24 Hours of Le Mans, is undergoing a small surgical intervention on his inner ear this week. "Unless there are medical problems due to this surgery, he should be driving at Budapest," Leconte confirmed.

Redolfi Orlando (5th, 11 pts) back in Hungary After starting the season with a win, Redolfi Orlando's n69 Porsche 996 GT3-R has been less lucky in the subsequent races. At Budapest, the car will be driven by Austrian Philipp Peter, who was part of the winning line-up in Monza, and Andrea Chiesa, who finished in 6th place at Brno.

-Eurosport-

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About this article
Series Blancpain Sprint
Drivers Jamie Campbell-Walter , Luca Riccitelli , David Terrien , Boris Derichebourg , Emanuele Naspetti , Luigi Moccia , Paul Belmondo , Andrea Chiesa , Nicolaus Springer , Fabio Babini , Andrea Bertolini , Sebastien Dumez , Rickard Rydell , Marc Duez , Jack Leconte , Alain Menu
Teams Larbre Competition