Hockenheim 2nd qualifying session

FIA GT Championship 26 - 28 June 1998 Hockenheim Round Saturday 27 June 1998 - 2nd Qualifying Practice Session Weather The weather remains hot and humid at Hockenheim. GT1 : Mercedes at the front The first two lines of the grid will belong...

FIA GT Championship 26 - 28 June 1998 Hockenheim Round Saturday 27 June 1998 - 2nd Qualifying Practice Session

Weather The weather remains hot and humid at Hockenheim.

GT1 : Mercedes at the front The first two lines of the grid will belong to Mercedes when the 3rd round of the FIA GT Championship gets underway tomorrow at 11:00 am. Although the second qualifying session did not see many cars able to improve on their morning times, Bernd Schneider knocked another hundredth of a second off his morning best. With a best time of 1:57.571, the reigning FIA GT1 Drivers Champion claimed his first pole of the 1998 season. "The conditions were a bit worse this afternoon, but the grip was better. There was more rubber in the braking areas. Actually, I thought I'd be even quicker. I was a bit surprised to see nearly the same time." Klaus Ludwig confirmed his Friday statement by setting a lap of 1:57.725, lifting the #2 Mercedes CLK-GTR to second on the grid. "The car could do 1:56, but it's not easy to do that one perfect lap," he said. Behind them on the grid will be the Persson Motorsport Mercedes, using the V12 engine as opposed to the new V8 in the AMG cars. The #11 car did not go out, due to the morning's accident, but only lost one place in the slower afternoon session. The Porsche cars, which have taken pole at the first two races this year, have had to be content with the third row of the grid. Dalmas lifted the #7 Porsche 911 GT1 '98 ahead of the Panoz, which only completed three laps this afternoon before stopping with prop-shaft problems.

GT2 : Marcos sandwich In the GT2 category, the Marcos LM600 will start the race sandwiched between the two Oreca Vipers. Olivier Beretta, in the Chrysler Viper #51, took the pole with a lap of 2:08.141 in the morning session. In the afternoon he was working on endurance, and as no one challenged his position, did not need to improve the time. Towards the end of the session there was a small fire in the car in the pit lane, but it was not serious and the car was not damaged. One of the few improvements in the afternoon saw the #56 Roock Porsche 911 GT2 leapfrog over their Roock team-mates Eichmann and Maassen, starting fourth on the GT2 grid. Le Mans winner Ortelli's car, which suffered a massive engine problem on Friday, now appears to be working well.

Bitter times The #9 Team Hezemans Bitter GT1 has only been able to complete a handful of laps so far this weekend. A gearbox problem, for which they did not have the parts, meant that the car has missed both qualifying sessions. After working all night, the gearbox has just been returned to them. "It may be fixed. We'll start at the back of the grid tomorrow and see," Jan Lammers, sharing the car with Mike Hezemans, said. "There have been a lot of teething problems. It has been very difficult. But if you look at the specifications on paper, the car has potential, especially concerning the power/weight ratio. But so far it has not even remotely shown what it is capable of doing."

Zakspeed : it's the race that counts The two privately-entered Zakspeed Porsche 911 GT1 cars will start in 8th and 9th positions tomorrow. "We haven't really had any problems," Michael Bartels, driving the #6 Porsche with Armin Hahne, said. "In the past we have always had speed problems in qualifying - in the race we are much better. So we have concentrated on working for the race, mainly in the areas of fuel and tyres." In the future they will work on the qualifying. This is the first year in GT racing for Michael Bartels a successful touring car driver, with victories in the DTM. "It's another step up, mainly in the increased horsepower" he said of the difference with his ITC Alfa 155. "They are both good racing cars, but I prefer the Porsche !"

Panoz Progress Problems with a broken prop-shaft meant that Eric Bernard and David Brabham will start the race in seventh position tomorrow. "It broke at the start of the session, which meant that we lost all the session. And in the morning we had problems warming the tyres up, so we had relied on the afternoon to move up some places. We thought we could be fourth," Bernard said. "It's not serious, and we'll be there for the warm-up tomorrow. Starting seventh will give us the opportunity to do some overtaking !" The Panoz GTR-1 has made big advances this year, leading the race early on at Silverstone. "We have made some progress with the aerodynamics. And then, being a private team, we don't have the plank, which does give us a slight advantage. The car is now reliable, except for this prop-shaft problem, which hopefully will be fixed soon."

Press Conference Quotes "I think Oreca have been working flat out for Le Mans, and that is why we are now a bit closer to them," Cor Euser, Team Marcos, on their improvement.

"It's the whole package is very good - handling, set-up, everything. It's the combination which makes it so quick." Karl Wendlinger on the Chrysler Viper.

"For weight reasons we have abandoned the paddle shift we used at Le Mans. It saves us 5 to 6 kgs. And the advantage was so small it was better to have the weight. And it gives us blisters" Mark Webber, AMG Mercedes.

"I was a bit too confident. I thought I had it in my hands." Klaus Ludwig on not achieving a 1:57 in the morning session.

"The race is another story. The V12 engine is good for this sort of track-long, and high speed. We will try to follow, but it'll be difficult," Marcel Tiemann, Persson Motorsport, on keeping up with the AMG cars.

"We'll do the best we can to be on the podium tomorrow," Jean-Marc Gounon, Persson Motorsport.

Football and motorsport Within the context of the Football World Cup, 250 footballs have been handed over to the teams to be signed by the drivers and thrown by the drivers to the public in the grandstands tomorrow during the starting procedure.

Starting procedure To offer the German spectators a great show, the starting procedure will be slightly modified tomorrow. At 10.20, the pit lane will open. All cars will leave the pits to cover a reconnaissance lap. The pit lane will be closed at 10.35. Exceptionally, the cars will not stop on the starting grid after their reconnaissance lap but in the "Opel Kurve". The drivers will come out of their cars to kick the balls to the spectators in the grandstands. The mechanics of each team will gather there to push the cars onto the grid in starting order.

Final Word "If you're not quick on the straight, you can forget it," Cor Euser, Marcos Racing International on being competitive at Hockenheim.

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About this article
Series Blancpain Sprint
Drivers Jan Lammers , Mark Webber , David Brabham , Karl Wendlinger , Marcel Tiemann , Bernd Schneider , Michael Bartels , Klaus Ludwig , Mike Hezemans , Cor Euser , Jean-Marc Gounon , Olivier Beretta , Armin Hahne
Teams Persson Motorsport , Team Zakspeed