Hockenheim Saturday 1st qualifying session

FIA GT Championship 26 - 28 June 1998 Hockenheim Round Saturday 27 June 1998 - 1st qualifying practice session Weather The weather continues to be hot and overcast, with slightly ominous grey clouds closing in towards the end of the first ...

FIA GT Championship 26 - 28 June 1998 Hockenheim Round Saturday 27 June 1998 - 1st qualifying practice session

Weather The weather continues to be hot and overcast, with slightly ominous grey clouds closing in towards the end of the first qualifying session.

Update - Bitter, Roock and Konrad Many of the cars damaged yesterday have been fixed by their teams in time for today's first qualifying session. The #56 Roock Racing Porsche GT2 has a new engine, and the Proton Porsche has had the turbo replaced. After amazing work by the mechanics, the #65 Konrad Porsche, which caught fire after an oil leak yesterday, is back on the track. "When you've just jumped out of a burning car, you always think it's worse than it really is," Martin Stretton, sharing the car with Seiler, said. Although the engine still worked, they have changed it. "We've only lost out on time. Qualifying is good for the ego, but in terms of the race, it's not so important." Neither of the Bitter cars made it into the track, however. The #10 car is not being worked on. The gearbox from the #9 made an express trip to Great Britain by private plane in an attempt to get it fixed in time for the race.

First Qualifying : GT1 After the practice sessions, Ludwig said that a 1:57 was possible - and his team-mate Bernd Schneider, in the #1 Mercedes CLK-GTR '98, proceeded to prove him right, with a time of 1:57.585 putting him on provisional pole. This is almost 1.5 seconds faster than his pole-setting time from last year. Second and third places on the provisional grid are currently occupied by the Persson Mercedes cars. However, both cars had heavy crashes during the session. "I had my second set of qualifiers on," Marcel Tiemann, driving the #12 car, said. "I tried to give too much, and finished in the gravel. The car is OK, except for lots of stones. I am happy for the race, the car is nice to drive. Our only chance against the Porsches and '98 Mercedes is our consistency. But the first row is not too bad - I'm pleased." The damage to the #11 car is more substantial. Bernd Maylnder, taking over the car after Christophe Bouchut had set the third best time of 1:59.015, slid heavily into the tyres at the end of the pit straight. "It was the same as the other laps, but when I used the brakes, it was overbraking at the rear, and I hit the barriers - harder than I thought." The car, he hopes, will be repaired in time for tomorrow's race. The #7 Porsche, driven at the time by Dalmas, also hit the barriers, at the Sachs curve, but with no damage to the car. "We lost nothing but a good time - we'll try again this afternoon." The DAMS Panoz was sixth. "It's not perfect, but the car is more suited to this track than I thought," David Brabham said. "We can be competitive, but a win is another thing." The car is using new 19" inch rims for this race, so there is also a learning curve to adapt to this change.

GT2 : Marcos on late charge Although the fastest time in GT2 was once again set by the Viper Oreca of Beretta and Lamy, the Viper cars were split on the grid by a storming last minute lap from Cor Euser in the Marcos LM 600. In spite of their qualifying schedule being messed up by new driver Christian Vann missing the in' board, and further time spent with the scrutineers, Euser just managed to put on qualifiers and get one lap in. "I was amazed. We are running very low down - that's the only way to make us competitive. It means the car is very light, and hard to drive." Euser's time of 2:08.444 was only 3 tenths slower than Beretta's provisional GT2 pole time of 2:08.141.

GT2 Quotes "We've put in a new engine - it's all OK now" Team Owner Bruno Krauss, Krauss Race Sports, whose car was towed in yesterday after an engine failure.

"The car is good today - we're in the 2:13''s - although we had a little problem with a valve in the steering going off , so we lost some time. But generally, everything is going to plan," Team Manager Rolf Steuer, Stadler Motorsport

"It's slightly embarrassing - we had planned to buy the spare Oreca car. But then it won at Le Mans, and so they are not selling it. We're hoping to get another one from Chrysler as soon as we can," Hugh Chamberlain, on their current one-car status.

"We usually run in the French GT Championship - we were 5th at Spa, which was very good. Here, the level is really up a rung, and we are not well enough equipped to compete - we don't have enough experience. But the atmosphere is good, and we'll try !" Bernard Schwach, Swiss Team Salamin.

Proton loses times Due to a failure to see the yellow flag and light indicating that he should come in to be weighed, Patrick Vuillaume, driving the Proton Porsche 911 GT2, had his qualifying times from the first session removed. "I was concentrating on the Mercedes ahead, not looking for lights. And there are so many flags coming on to the pit straight. So they took my times away. We'll have to start again this afternoon," a resigned Vuillaume said.

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About this article
Series Blancpain Sprint
Drivers David Brabham , Marcel Tiemann , Bernd Schneider , Christian Vann , Cor Euser , Martin Stretton
Teams DAMS