FIA GT Championship Round 4 A long and hot race in Spain saw BMS Scuderia Italia take their first win in the FIA GT Championship, after a dominant performance from Andrea Piccini and Jean-Denis Deletraz. Piccini started from pole and pulled...
FIA GT Championship Round 4
A long and hot race in Spain saw BMS Scuderia Italia take their first win in the FIA GT Championship, after a dominant performance from Andrea Piccini and Jean-Denis Deletraz. Piccini started from pole and pulled away, despite the scorching heat, and the Italo-Swiss pairing were never seriously threatened. Carsport Holland's Kumpen and Hezemans ended their run of bad luck to take second, ahead of Lister Storm Racing finished sixth, to retain the points lead. In N-GT, Freisinger Motorsport took their second consecutive win, with Stephane Ortelli and Sascha Maassen. Championship leaders Pescatori and Montermini, in the JMB Racing Ferrari 360 Modena, just managed to hold on to second place from the RWS Motorsport Porsche of Garcia and Fertl.
WEATHER : Sunny and hot
Andrea Piccini and Jean-Denis Deletraz headed the warm-up session in their nr 23 Ferrari 550 Maranello, nearly a second clear of the nr 3 Carsport Holland Chrysler Viper GTS-R of Mike Hezemans and Anthony Kumpen. Marc Duez and Fabio Babini were third fastest in the nr 12 Paul Belmondo Racing Chrysler Viper GTS-R. The nr 5 Force One Ferrari 550 Maranello of Philippe Alliot and David Hallyday suffered a collapsed front left suspension on the car's first flying lap, with Alliot behind the wheel. Pietro Gianni headed the N-GT class in the nr 52 JMB Competition Ferrari 360 Modena, ahead of his team-mate Andrea Montermini, recovering from influenza, in the nr 50 JMB Racing Ferrari 360 Modena. Jurgen von Gartzen was third in the nr 60 JvG Racing Porsche 996 GT3-R, ahead of Antonio Garcia in the nr 76 RWS Racing Porsche 996 GT3-R.
BMS SCUDERIA ITALIA RACES TO OVERALL WIN
Two weeks after claiming its first pole position in Brno, with Tomas Enge, BMS Scuderia Italia scored its first win of the year. It was a text-book lights-to-flag victory, with Andrea Piccini and Jean-Denis Deletraz setting the pace in nearly every session this weekend, and fulfilled their promise to deliver a win in the nr 23 BMW Scuderia Italia Ferrari 550 Maranello. Piccini started the race and, for the first hour, was consistently the fastest car on the track, extending his lead to more than 26 seconds. Deletraz kept the lead through the second hour, and Piccini stepped aboard for the final hour to finish the race 33.270 seconds ahead of the second-placed Carsport Holland Chrysler Viper GTS-R.
CARSPORT TAKES SECOND
After a run of bad luck which saw them retire from the lead in the past two rounds of the Championship, the Carsport Holland driver pairing of Mike Hezemans and Anthony Kumpen took second position in the nr 3 Chrysler Viper GTS-R. The pair started second, and tailed the Ferrari all the way to the flag. Although they were never more than 25 seconds behind the car, they never appeared to be in a position to challenge for the lead, and in the final 10 minutes, Hezemans dropped back and settled for second. The second Carsport Holland Chrysler Viper GTS-R, nr 4 of Fabrizio Gollin and Luca Capellari was running strongly, and was involved in a tight battle with the nr 1 Larbre Competition Chrysler Viper GTS-R for fourth position, until it suffered an electrical failure during the second hour and retired.
LARBRE TAKES THIRD
The nr 1 Larbre Competition Chrysler Viper GTS-R of Christophe Bouchut and David Terrien finished third, to maintain its record of four podium finishes out of four races. However, the Spanish heat came at a cost as Bouchut was taken to the medical centre after the race, with burned feet. Vincent Vosse and Carl Rosenblad finished in fourth place. With Lister Storm Racing only scoring one point, Larbre Competition Chereau is now only four points behind the leaders in the Teams classification.
POINT AND CHAMPIONSHP LEAD FOR LISTER
Jamie Campbell-Walter and Nicolaus Springer continue to lead the championship for drivers after finishing sixth overall in their nr 14 Lister Storm Racing Lister Storm. Campbell-Walter was never higher than third and, when he handed the car over to Springer without changing the tyres, the car dropped back. The German struggled around the 3.8km track, and pitted after 40 minutes. Campbell-Walter then had to make an extra stop for fuel with 20 minutes to go. The sister Lister Storm Racing Lister Storm of Bobby Verdon-Roe and Paul Knapfield, retired in the first hour with a clutch failure.
FREISINGER TAKES SECOND CONSECUTIVE N-GT VICTORY
Stephane Ortelli raced to his second consecutive victory in the N-GT category, this time sharing his nr 54 Freisinger Motorsport Porsche 996 GT3-R with Sascha Maassen. The driver from Monaco steadily extended his lead throughout the first half of the race, pitting just short of half-distance to hand over to Maassen. The German driver had enough of a lead to make a last-minute stop for fuel and still come out in the lead. His second win has moved Ortelli up to second position in the N-GT drivers' classification. The team's second car, driven by Bert Longin and Stephane Daoudi , were delighted with their fourth place finish in the class in their nr 55 Freisinger Motorsport Porsche 996 GT3-R, equalling their Silverstone performance.
JMB RACING MAINTAINS CHAMPIONSHIP LEAD
Christian Pescatori and Andrea Montermini extended their lead in the drivers' championship with a second-place finish in the nr 50 JMB Racing Ferrari 360 Modena. Montermini started seventh in the N-GT class, but made his way through to second before handing to Pescatori just short of half distance. The Italian fought with the nr 76 RWS Porsche of Antonio Garcia but then extended his lead, enough to make an extra stop for fuel with just 10 minutes remaining. He came out just ahead of the Spanish driver, and had to defend his position for the final laps. Andrea Garbagnati and Andrea Bertolini were fourth in their nr 51 JMB Racing Ferrari 360 Modena, increasing the team's points to 43, 19 ahead of nearest rival Freisinger Motorsport.
GARCIA TAKES THIRD AT HOME RACE
Spanish driver Antonio Garcia gave RWS Motorsport its first points of the season on his return to the Championship. He took third position in the nr 76 RWS Porsche 996 GT3-R that he was sharing with German Hans Fertl, crossing the line scant metres behind Christian Pescatori''s second-placed Ferrari. Garcia had not expected the Ferrari to make two stops, so he had dropped back during the final stages of the race. However, when Pescatori emerged just in front, he started to push despite the heat and having been in the car for nearly two hours. Despite closing to within .2 seconds, he was unable to pass the Ferrari in the time remaining, and had to settle for third place.
NO POINTS FOR AUTORLANDO
For the first time this season, the Autorlando team failed to score any points, despite starting strongly. Toto Wolff and Philipp Peter were running third and pitted for the first time while leading, but a left-front puncture forced them to stop a second time, and they came home in seventh, one place ahead of their team-mates Joel Camathias and Luca Rangoni.
NOTES AND QUOTES
Andrea Piccini, nr 23 BMS Scuderia Italia Ferrari 550 Maranello -- 1st in GT: "I didn't push very hard at the beginning as I didn't know how the tyres would be. It was the first time I had driven with a full tank of fuel, so I had to push but try to keep the tyres. After a while the car was more neutral to drive, so it was easier. However, a lot of the cars were difficult to overtake. The last stint was a lot better. We had made the gap and just had to control it. The car was perfect, and the Michelin tyres were very constant."
Anthony Kumpen, nr 3 Carsport Holland Chrysler Viper GTS-R - 2nd in GT: "The car was OK, but we were not fast enough this weekend to keep up with the Ferrari. We are usually the fastest car on the track, but not this time -- we will have to find something to help us improve for the next race."
David Terrien<.b>, nr 1 Larbre Competition Chereau Chrysler Viper GTS-R -- 3rd in GT : " Christophe spun just before handing over, so I started in 7th position, and I had to push hard to come back. The tyres were very constant, and Michelin have done a very good job after the Dunlop domination at this track last year. This is the first time this season our tyres have been so consistent. Considering we have 70 kg penalty weight, I think this was a good result."
Paul Belmondo<.b>, nr 11 Paul Belmondo Racing, Chrysler Viper GTS-R -- 5th in GT: "My brakes had gone by the end. I got close to Vosse, but then I went off a little bit on the outside, so I thought it would be better to finish fifth than to not finish at all. I am happy with the result. It was a pity for the other car, which retired with an oil pump problem, but they were running well in the early stages.
Jamie Campbell-Walter<.b>, nr 14 Lister Storm Racing Lister Storm -- 6th in GT: "Sometimes you get just sixth place! It was very hard doing 1 hour and 20, especially in a car with the engine in the front. I feel alright from the driving - it is my feet that are the problem. The car and tyres were, but we were so far behind fifth that there was no way of catching them. We are still leading the championship, having finished in the points every race, so we cannot complain."
Kurt Mollekens<.b>, nr 25 PSI Porsche GT Turbo -- 7th in GT : "Everything went as it should. We were suffering from understeer, without which we would probably have done better. We had no technical problems at all, and after Silverstone, we were quite confident of a good result here. But the understeer problem was quite horrible at this track, so 7th is most probably quite good. We hope for better results in Anderstorp and Oschersleben."
Francois Lafon<.b>, nr 9 Team ART Chrysler Viper GTS-R -- 8th in GT : "Generally, the weekend has been good, especially with the weather. It started quite badly for us, as we lost the first free practice session with a technical problem. Then we lost our qualifying times after missing a scrutineering check, which meant we both had to qualify the car during the second qualifying session. We started 11th on the grid, and had a problem-free race, although it was horribly hot. Jean-Pierre did two stints and I did one; we made no mistakes and finished 8th, which I consider a good performance for a professional/gentleman driver team. The GT category is of a very high level this season, with a lot of fast cars, and very few mistakes being made."
Enzo Calderari<.b>, nr 22 BMW Scuderia Italia, Ferrari 550 Maranello: "The transmission bar broke, so there was a big vibration and we had to stop. It was very hot. I have only ever driven in one race when it was this hot, and that was in Suzuka. Our car was very good, everything was OK but we had one little defect. At least the team's other car won."
Stephane Ortelli<.b>, nr 54 Freisinger Motorsport Porsche 996 GT3-R - 1st in N-GT : "It has been a very good weekend for us. Sascha did a good job in the Superpole, and the first place on the grid gave us a big advantage. I pulled out a good gap and I was able to do some quick times at the end of the stint, as our tyres were still good."
Sascha Maassen<.b>, nr 54 Freisinger Motorsport Porsche 996 GT3-R - 1st in N-GT : "I was not yet on the reserve tank at the end of the race, but when the JMB Ferrari pulled into the pits, we decided not to take any risks and to stop too, so as not to risk running out of fuel."
Andrea Montermini<.b>, nr 51 JMB Racing Ferrari 360 Modena - 2nd in N-GT: "I had started quite a way behind, after a difficult qualifying session. Luckily, I managed to stay out of trouble, despite a big war going on between some Porsches in front of me. I avoided any contact and just put the lap times in. I eventually managed to get up to second place and then handed over to Pescatori. He had a big battle with Garcia, but managed to keep second place, which is good for our points."
Antonio Garcia<.b>, nr 76 RWS Motorsport Porsche 996 GT3-R -- 3rd in N-GT : "We had hoped to do the race on one stop, so Hans started, running smoothly and saving fuel and tyres. However, we started to have problems after 40 laps so we had to change the strategy. I got in and ran for the rest of the race. It was very, very hot. I didn't expect the Ferrari to have to pit again, so I was just keeping the pace. When I saw the Ferrari go in, I pushed hard to try and take second, but , it was too late and I had to settle for third. It was a pity."
Hans Fertl<.b>, nr 76 RWS Motorsport Porsche 996 GT3-R -- 3rd in N-GT : " I would like to thank Antonio Garcia for his fantastic job in qualifying, the Superpole and the race -- he did a fantastic job. I was pleased to be able to hold on to second position at the start despite an oversteer problem. "
Andrea Bertolini<.b>, nr 51 JMB Racing, Ferrari 360 Modena -- 4th in N-GT: "The drinks bottle stopped working, so that made it very hard in this heat. It was not possible to push too hard. We only made one stop, and the fuel was OK. Andrea Garbagnati did not have much fuel left, but I was fine during my stint."
Bert Longin<.b>, nr 55 Freisinger Motorsport Porsche 996 GT3-R -- 5th in N-GT: " This was the first time that I had taken the start in the FIA GT Championship. I had a long fight with the Ferraris. I thought I would overtake them, but they knew what they were doing. I think that we could have been fourth, if we had been luckier, but we are both new to this championship, so I think that fifth is a very good result."
Phil Bastiaans<.b>, nr 63 System Force Motorsport, Porsche 996 GT3RS: "I had a spin when I made a mistake. I put the car into second and dropped the clutch so I spun. We had a problem with the temperature -- our cool suit was not working and it was unbelievably hot, especially the first 15 laps. I was fighting with Jurgen von Gartzen and the Ferrari, and I was overdriving the car so the tyres went off, but it was the first time that I took the start so I wanted to do a good job. We had to stop because we had a gearbox problem. All the gears were there, but there was a lot of noise coming from the gearbox so we decided to stop."