EU3: GT3: Oschersleben qualifying notes

RIED AND RUFFIER TAKE POLE FOR OSCHERSLEBEN After an extremely successful first meeting in Silverstone, the FIA GT3 European Championship has moved on to Germany, for the second event on its five-date calendar. 42 cars are due to take part in...

RIED AND RUFFIER TAKE POLE FOR OSCHERSLEBEN

After an extremely successful first meeting in Silverstone, the FIA GT3 European Championship has moved on to Germany, for the second event on its five-date calendar. 42 cars are due to take part in the two one-hour races, the first on Saturday afternoon and the second on Sunday at noon. With eight manufacturers represented, and a much shorter track than that in Silverstone, they should be action-packed !

WEATHER
Hot, sunny, beautiful weather greeted the teams and drivers in Oschersleben today.

QUALIFYING PROCEDURE
The first 20-minute session sets the grid for Saturday's race, while the second 20-minute session for the second race, on Sunday. However, the slowest driver in each car will start the first race, while the fastest driver will start the second race.

ANTHONY REID CLAIMS POLE FOR RACE 1

Anthony Reid set the fastest time in the first qualifying session for the FIA GT3 European Championship in Oschersleben, his lap of 1:30.239 placing the nr 29 Pouchelon Racing Dodge Viper Competition Coupe at the front of the grid for today's race. The nr 46 Damax Ascari, driven by Andrew Thompson, was second fastest, with a time of 1:30.414, ahead of the nr 34 JMB Ferrari 430 GT3 Challenge of Allan Simonsen. The first Aston Martin DBRS9 was fifth, in the hands of Jonathan Cocker.

The fastest Lamborghini was the nr 35 S-Berg Gallardo, in 7th position, with Marc Basseng at the wheel. Benedetto Marti set the best Maserati time, in 15th place, just ahead of Tech9's James Murphy, who was the leading Porsche car. The Corvettes, which had been fastest in free practice, had a best position of 19th, with Philippe Charriol at the wheel of the nr 21 Riverside car.

The first car to lead the session was the nr 35 S-Berg Lamborghini Gallardo, with Marc Basseng setting a time of 1:32.313. A brief red-flag allowed a car to be moved from a dangerous position. However, Anthony Reid then set a lap of 1:31.284 in the nr 29 Pouchelon Viper, while Franco Groppi moved up to second in the nr 24 BMS Aston Martin.

Silverstone winner Simonsen then placed the JMB Ferrari in second position. With seven minutes to go, Andrew Thompson went fastest in the nr 46 Damax Ascari, setting a time of 1:30.436. Reid responded with a lap of 1:30.239 to retake pole. Another red flag, with less than two minutes remaining from the 20 minute session, briefly interrupted the session, but there were few improvements afterwards, Reid retaining pole.

JAMES RUFFIER ON POLE FOR RACE 2

French driver James Ruffier placed the nr 19 Riverside Corvette on pole position for the second race of the FIA GT3 European Championship Oschersleben round, setting a time of 1:29.219 in his Corvette Z06 car, the fastest GT3 time of the weekend so far. He finished four tenths ahead of the BMS Scuderia Italia Aston Martin DBRS9 of Marcello Zani, with Riverside's Christopher Campbell and Marc Sourd third and fifth respectively. Luca Pirri placed the nr 47 Ascari KZ1R fourth. The leading Dodge Viper Competition Coupe was the nr 29 Pouchelon car, eighth overall, driven by Gilles Duqueine - whose car will start the first race from pole.

The leading Maserati was 13th, Diego Alessi behind the wheel of the AF Corse car, just ahead of Morgan Moullin Traffort in the leading Porsche, in 14th position overall in the SOFREV Auto Sport Promotion car. Dennis Retera placed the leading Lamborghini in 19th position, in the nr 19 Reiter Engineering car. The first Ferrari was in 29th position.

The first car to lead the session was the nr 16 Corvette of John Heinricy, with a time of 1:31.349, ahead of Stefano Zonca in the Racing Box Dodge Viper. Marcello Zani then went fastest, with a time of 1:30.178. With 12 minutes to go, James Ruffier set a lap of 1:30.074 to claim provisional pole. His team-mate, Christophe Campbell, then became the first man to go under the 1:30 barrier, taking the lead with a time of 1:29.737. Ruffier responded with a lap of 1:29.388, while Zani moved back up to second place. The session was briefly red-flagged with 6 minutes remaining. In the final minute of the session, Ruffier further improved his time to 1:29.219, ahead of Zani, Campbell and Pirri in the Ascari.

DRIVER QUOTES

Anthony Reid - nr 29 Pouchelon Racing Dodge Viper Competition Coupe : " It was an interesting session - with a short circuit and 42 cars, you really had to pick your time to get a clear lap. I think I got a total of two clear laps. We picked up a braking problem early on, so the brake balance was not correct. I had to drive the car in that condition, and I was very pleased to get pole. You always get red flags in situations like this, when it's so tight, so I was pleased to do the time near the race. It's great for Pouchelon, as they are a new team to this level of racing, and it's good to see them doing well.

James Ruffier - nr 19 Riverside Corvette Z06 : "It was great to get pole, especially as the car is still relatively new to us and we have not had much time to drive it this season. The car is competitive, but lacks some reliability. We are working on the reliability, but the performance is still there, which is great. When you see the level of the other cars, it's clear that you really have to push to get a good time, so it is interesting to see how the level of all the cars is balancing out."

Andrew Thompson - nr 46 Damax Ascari KW1R : "The track was a bit more greasy than we thought it would be, so we didn't have as much grip as we expected. But it got better towards the end. Second place is always disappointing. On my fastest lap, a car spun in front of me on the final corner and I had to lift off for that. But I'm pleased to be on the front row - you can win a race from there. I like the circuit - it's very rewarding to drive, as there are technical bits, bits where you can be brave - it's a good mix of corners and I'm really enjoying it."

Sean Edwards - nr 9 Tech9 Motorsport Porsche 997 Cup : "The Porsche is not as competitive as we hoped; we thought we'd be up there, but qualifying was a nightmare. It's so hard to get through the traffic. I got some good gaps, but every time there was someone coming out of the pits, going off the track or coming back onto it. It was almost impossible to get a lap. I think the maximum Porsche time was 1:31, while the pole time was in the 1:29, so it's going to be difficult.

David Hallyday - nr 30 Pouchelon Racing Dodge Viper Competition Coupe : "It's great to have a new Championship in the FIA world. You have a lot of good drivers and nice cars to watch. Very close times in qualifying, so it's a very exciting thing. They called me because a driver was sick, and I took a plane yesterday. I'd never driven the car before, and they sent me right out with new tyres in qualifying, which was a very rude thing to do !! But generally it's good, I had a good laugh and the car is very nice !"

-fia-

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About this article
Series Blancpain Sprint
Drivers Anthony Reid , Andrew Thompson , Zonca Stefano , Alessi Diego , James Murphy , Allan Simonsen , Jonathan Cocker , Franco Groppi , Sean Edwards , Marcello Zani , Marc Sourd , Marc Basseng , Christopher Campbell , Philippe Charriol , Gilles Duqueine , James Ruffier , Benedetto Marti , David Hallyday
Teams Reiter Engineering