Dubai: Qualifying driver quotes

Pole Position in GT : Matteo Bobbi - nr 1 BMS Scuderia Italia Ferrari 550 Maranello : "This has been a good day for us. We've found a good set-up at the beginning of the weekend. Fortunately, our car is fast both on new and on old tyres. The only...

Pole Position in GT : Matteo Bobbi - nr 1 BMS Scuderia Italia Ferrari 550 Maranello : "This has been a good day for us. We've found a good set-up at the beginning of the weekend. Fortunately, our car is fast both on new and on old tyres. The only problem we have is the heat, which is something that's going to be an issue for most drivers tomorrow. We just have to try and keep our concentration up, which will be difficult under these conditions. Anyway, I've got nothing to lose."

Pole Position in N-GT : Christian Pescatori - nr 62 GPC Giesse Ferrari 360 Modena : "My Ferrari has been very quick in qualifying today without the fuel load; it's very fast in the slow corners in particular. The problem is always the race. The conditions tomorrow will be very difficult. We've had a lot of bad luck this season, I can only hope it's going to turn around now. Jaime Melo is very fast - he should be good for this race - and I hope he will be there for China, too."

2nd in GT : Fabrizio de Simone - nr 34 AF Corse Maserati MC12 : "I'm very happy about the work we've made with the team, with Pirelli and Johnny [Herbert]. We've improved our set-up in the right way since Tuesday night, and I'm happy about that. We were good this morning, we were good this afternoon, and I think we might be good tomorrow as well. We didn't come out until the end of the session. I just wanted to do two or three laps, so we waited a while. The track has improved a lot since the beginning of the weekend, though. The grip level is so much better now! But there's only one line, and everybody has to be very careful when they leave that line and overtake."

3rd in GT : Mika Salo - nr 33 AF Corse Maserati MC12 : "I'm happy. Everything is fine with the car, and I could do some good, clean laps this morning. This afternoon, the grip was a bit better than in the morning, but unfortunately, I couldn't find a clean lap and couldn't improve the time. However, I don't think I could have gone a lot faster anyway, because the car is quite heavy, and we're losing a lot of time in the slow corners. But starting from third is good!"

2nd in N-GT : Lucas Luhr - nr 99 Freisinger Motorsport Porsche 996 GT3-RS : "It's the first time we're up to 75 kilos, and the weight of course makes a difference. You can easily feel twenty-five kilos more or less-- Nevertheless, I did a good lap, even if it was not really clean and there was some traffic. But we decided that second was good enough. With the Ferrari being eight tenths in front, which we felt we couldn't beat in just one lap, we decided not to make another attempt on the pole position. It will be a close fight between Ferrari and the two Freisinger cars tomorrow. We mustn't forget that the Championship is over at Zhuhai, though, not here. So we will just try and have a good race and stay out of trouble. It will be rather difficult with the traffic, because you only have one line, so I'm sure we will see some really close overtaking!"

3rd in N-GT : Stephane Ortelli - nr 50 Freisinger Yukos Motorsport Porsche 996 GT3-RS : "The real battle tomorrow is more about finishing than race than about the title. But on the other hand, we have a lot of work to do and we have to keep the Championship in mind. To do both will be really difficult. We should try not to think too much about the Championship. We just have to finish right behind them [Maassen and Luhr], then it should be okay for the points."

5th in GT : Rocky Agusta - nr 28 Graham Nash Motorsport Saleen S7 : "I am enjoying being back in the Championship and seeing lots of familiar faces. I still need more time to improve in the car, as this is my first time in the Saleen. I will do some more testing in the race tomorrow. But it is nice to be back, especially with two very fast drivers like Paolo Ruberti and Gabriele Lancieri in the car with me."

6th in GT : Team Manager, Vitaphone - Franz Konrad: "Those were the worst two days of the whole season. Following the fire and the engine change yesterday, we had another fire in the car today. We hardly got any milage this weekend at all, which makes it rather difficult to get a proper set-up done. Nevertheless, the car is repaired and we are quite happy with the times. We set the sixth best time in the second session today, but due to the engine change, we have to start from the back of the grid. Now we have to work out a good strategy to fight up to the top again tomorrow --"

8th in GT : Alex Margaritis - nr 4 Konrad Motorsport Saleen S7 : "I got the call from Franz Konrad motorsport if I would like to do one race here in Dubai and maybe the last race in China. So I took the opportunity to see what it is like to drive a GT car, and I'm quite happy. The times today and yesterday were pretty quick. I was more or less the same level with the other drivers. I can learn a lot from my teammates - they are a lot more experienced than me. And hopefully, we will get to the end of the three-hour-race and don't have to stop because of a technical problem like in some of the last races. I don't really know anything about GT racing except from watching it on TV, but it seems to be a very professional series with lots of very experienced drivers. The car is so much heavier and you have to handle it in a totally different way. I like being here!"

11th in GT : Thomas Biagi - nr 3 Care Racing Ferrari 550 Maranello: "I'm really enjoying being back ! Unfortunately, I didn't have a have nice qualifying to be honest, but we have 70 kilos ballast. Fabrizio [Gollin], who usually qualifies well, is really a long way back with his with 150 kilos. On this track, the ballast really makes a difference. But for the race I'm very confident to get a good result. The car is perfect, the team also - as usual - so, everything is okay. For me, it's really amazing to be back with the team and I would like to thank everyone who made it possible. It's a dream ! It feels like being back in my family."

12th in GT : Stephane Daoudi - nr 19 JMB Ferrari 575 M Maranello : "The circuit is really super - and in a year, when things are more established, it will be truly amazing. I was hoping to have a good qualifying session as the car was running really well yesterday. But we had engine problems, which was a shame. So considering the situation, I think my lap of 1:59.072 was really good - I am sure we could have done a 1:58 otherwise.. The team will change some things before the warm-up, and I hope it will be OK for the race."

13th in GT : Neel Jani - nr 24 DAMS Lamborghini Murcielago : "I just did three laps so I could get used to the car, because I never drove a GT in my life! It's so different, especially with the weight! In this case, my time was actually quite good, though I still had a mistake and lost quite a lot of time. I did a 2:03 in my third lap, which I am quite happy with, considering I lost one and a half seconds in one corner, and especially since the fastest lap of Piccini is a 1:59. I think there's a really a big difference between a Formula car and this car : I don't feel the car, it's very heavy, and it's a thing I need to get used to. I tried in the beginning to drive it like a Formula car, but you have to be more brutal on the track - you can learn that, but in the three laps I did I only got a little view on it. The plan for tomorrow is actually that only the others will drive. I will be here just in case they need a third driver, because someone can't cope with the heat. That's the plan."

14th in GT : Emanuele Naspetti - nr 13 GPC Giesse Squadra Corse Ferrari 575 M Maranello : "It is difficult to say how things are going. The qualifying session was not positive for us, we had a few problems, but we are happy with the car. We couldn't get its full potential, but I think for the race we will have a good car. The heat is really bad. We really don't know how to do the complete stint. It will be a big problem for everybody, but especially for cars with engines at the front like ours."

5th in N-GT : Vincent Vosse - nr 64 GPC Giesse Squadra Corse Ferrari 360 Modena : "Things are going well, considering that it is far from being the latest evolution of the car. I think it is the car with which David Terrien and Christian Pescatori won the title in 2001, and it has not changed since. I am slightly late as I missed the Tuesday session. The car can still improve a bit. I think the race will be difficult physically, and that is where the driver can make a difference."

6th in N-GT : Tim Sugden - nr 88 Gruppe M Europe Porsche 996 GT3-RS : "So far we have only done 12 laps between us, so it is very early days. The track is really nice - whoever designed it did a very good job. All the corner have closing radius, and that is really good. They are the hardest to get right and the most challenging for a driver. No-one likes circuits with straight corners."

-fia-

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About this article
Series Blancpain Sprint
Drivers Franz Konrad , Mika Salo , Christian Pescatori , Vincent Vosse , Stéphane Ortelli , Lucas Luhr , Matteo Bobbi , Gabriele Lancieri , Jaime Melo , David Terrien , Emanuele Naspetti , Neel Jani , Fabrizio de Simone , Tim Sugden , Thomas Biagi , Paolo Ruberti
Teams AF Corse , DAMS