Interlagos: Series qualifying race report

Qualifying Race success for Aston Martin Darren Turner and Tomas Enge in the Young Driver Aston Martin No.7 won an eventful Qualifying Race in Interlagos. The pair had been trailing the early race leaders Enrique Bernoldi and Xandi Negrao in...

Qualifying Race success for Aston Martin

Darren Turner and Tomas Enge in the Young Driver Aston Martin No.7 won an eventful Qualifying Race in Interlagos.

The pair had been trailing the early race leaders Enrique Bernoldi and Xandi Negrao in the Vitaphone Maserati No.2 but at the pit stop it was the Young Driver crew who were the slickest to get Enge out ahead of Bernoldi and into the lead.

The Maserati duo eventually finished fourth after a drive-through penalty for throwing tyres at the pit stop.

Second place went to Peter Dumbreck and Michael Krumm in the Sumo Power Nissan GT-R No.23.

The Hexis Aston Martin No.10 of Clivio Piccione and Jonathan Hirschi filled the final place on the podium.

Nicky Pastorelli and Dominik Schwager in the No.38 Munnich Motorsport Lamborghini were fifth.

The drivers championship leaders Michael Bartels and Andrea Bertolini in the Vitaphone Maserati No.1 finished 8th from 19th to put themselves in reasonable shape for the Championship Race tomorrow.

Their cause was helped when their closest rival Thomas Mutsch in the Matech Ford GT No.5 crashed out early in the race after a tangle with the Reiter Lamborghini No.25 of Frank Kechele.

Sao Paulo Qualifying Race: What the drivers say ...

Darren Turner, Young Driver Aston Martin No.7

"It appeared that the Maserati had a little more pace in the first stint but Tomas (Enge) is a great driver and they were unable to pass him after we got them in the pit stop. Tyre performance was key and very good for us.

"The guys did a fantastic pit stop and got us out two seconds ahead of the Maserati. I tried to close the gap to the lead as much as I could before the stop.

"The team has done a great job in setting up the car and it really shows. The most important thing is that we are in a good position for tomorrow's race."

Tomas Enge, Young Driver Aston Martin No.7

"It was a really exciting race but very hot. The car was perfect and Darren did a great job in the first stint. The Young Driver team did a fantastic job in the pit stop - we got the jump on Maserati because of the great team work."

Peter Dumbreck, Sumo Power Nissan No.23

"We were racing in very hot conditions out there today. I was under a lot of pressure from the chasing Aston Martin and plus the tyres started to fall off in performance which made it tough. Michael did a great job at the start of the race and managed to keep away from trouble."

Michael Krumm, Sumo Power Nissan No.23

"It was a very tough first stint for me. I had to give away a few places at the start to stay away from trouble which was frustrating. It was a very aggressive race from everyone but we came through. Peter and the team did a great job, and the pit stop was good. I am really looking forward to a solid race tomorrow. "

Jonathan Hirschi, Hexis Aston Martin No.10

"This is the second podium of the season, which is very good for us and the whole team. The car was very good during my stint and the team a very good job on the pitstop. Thanks to the mechanics at Hexis and also to Clivio.

"After our first podium at Silverstone the middle of the season hasn't been so good for us. We're now at the front of the grid, we'll see what happens tomorrow and I hope we'll be on our first podium for the Championship Race."

Clivio Piccione, Hexis Aston Martin No.10

"The car was going pretty well, we knew the stint was going to be long and I had to keep my tyres safe for the whole run. I drove steady for all my laps and tried to push to make some ground on the cars ahead.

"I followed the Nissan for the last bit of the race, just trying to keep the pressure on and waiting for a mistake, but it didn't happen. It's going to a long race again tomorrow and hopefully we'll be in the top three again."

Thomas Mutsch, Matech Competition Ford GT No.5

"The podium was the least we could have expected today because the car had very good speed. But when you have someone turning in at the braking zone like that there is not much chance.

"I am happy to hold my hands up and say that Navarra was all my fault but here I had my race ended by something that I had no control over. I am really very annoyed to have my race ended like that and our championship chances badly affected. I am disgusted to be honest."

Richard Westbrook, Matech Competition Ford GT No.5

"What a dreadful way to end our race. It's a really bad day for us and the championship hopes. We had our best Qualifying position when we had been playing catch-up in previous races when we've had good results. The car was fantastic and then our race is ended by a really amateurish move.

"Thomas (Mutsch) goes for the regulation pass down the inside and he (Frank Kechele) turns in at the braking zone. I'm not sure what he expected Thomas to do -- hit the ejector button and go over the top of his car? As it turns out he put both cars out of the race so what was he trying to gain? It's very difficult to take."

Frank Kechele, Reiter Lamborghini No.25

"It was a short story for us today. The way I saw the incident with Thomas (Mutsch) was that he came from way back to make the move on the inside and braked late. I turned in and we hit each other. It's a shame for both of us but I didn't do anything on purpose."

Michael Bartels, Vitaphone Maserati No.1

"With 40 kilos this is the best we could hope for today. Tomorrow we have to be patient and make sure we keep the championship chase going by scoring more points. We have to protect our 35-point lead as best we can."

Enrique Bernoldi, Vitaphone Maserati No.2

"The car felt very good although we have gone a bit aggressive on set-up today so we might be a bit more conservative for tomorrow to be a bit easier on the tyres. We have some good tyres for the race tomorrow so I guess we just have to be clever about when we use them. But I'm confident of a good finish from fourth place. Xandi (Negrao) has done a great job in the car so it's looking good."

Xandi Negrao, Vitpahone Maserati No.2

"It was a great shame that we got the drive-through. We lost a place at the pit stop but we still got the penalty so it was tough. Still we secured fourth and we hope to be competitive in the Championship Race tomorrow."

-source: gt1world

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About this article
Series Blancpain Sprint
Drivers Enrique Bernoldi , Tomas Enge , Michael Krumm , Darren Turner , Peter Dumbreck , Michael Bartels , Dominik Schwager , Clivio Piccione , Andrea Bertolini , Nicky Pastorelli , Richard Westbrook , Thomas Mutsch , Jonathan Hirschi , Frank Kechele
Teams Nissan Motorsport