Magny-Cours: Qualifying report

DOUBLE FRENCH POLE POSITION AT HOME ! The sun shone down on the local heroes at Magny-Cours today, where both the GT1 and GT2 pole positions for Sunday's round of the FIA GT Championship were claimed by French drivers.

DOUBLE FRENCH POLE POSITION AT HOME !

The sun shone down on the local heroes at Magny-Cours today, where both the GT1 and GT2 pole positions for Sunday's round of the FIA GT Championship were claimed by French drivers. Christophe Bouchut set the overall pole in the nr 17 Russian Age Racing Ferrari 550 Maranello, while Emmanuel Collard was the fastest GT2 driver, setting pole for British team Gruppe M in a Porsche 996 GT3-RSR. Qualifying was extremely close, although rising temperatures meaning that there were few improvements in the second session.

BOUCHUT GIVES RUSSIAN AGE RACING ITS FIRST POLE

Triple FIA GT Champion Christophe Bouchut claimed his eighth FIA GT pole position - and his first since 2001 - in the nr 17 Russian Age Racing Ferrari 550 Maranello, giving the team its first-ever pole position. The Frenchman, already third on the grid in Monza, was pleased with the performance put in by the Russian team : "I am very happy as we are in France and I love this track ! It is a nice feeling to be on pole. With Cirtek, we did a very good job in the first qualifying practice this morning. The car's set up was perfect. I tried to give my best. I am very happy with this lap. Tomorrow for the race, we will be three drivers sharing the car, which is the wrong number for a three-hour race. But we will do our best. We will not be in a position to win the race but I expect a good position in the race. I will be strong in the first hour."

He will start the race alongside the nr 15 JMB Racing Maserati MC 12, qualified by Andrea Bertolini, while the second row will consist of the nr 9 Vitaphone Racing Team Maserati, third despite 30 kg penalty weight from Monza, and the nr 6 GLPK-Carsport Corvette C5R.

COLLARD COMPLETES FRENCH DOMINATION WITH GT2 POLE

Emmanuel Collard, runner-up in the category in 2004, set the best time in the GT2 category at Magny-Cours today, making it two in a row for the nr 88 Gruppe M Porsche 996 GT3-RSR, which Tim Sugden had placed on pole in Monza. The French driver was pleased with his performance : "I am very happy to be on pole position, especially here, on my home track. To start the race on pole is fine but to finish the race in a good position is even better ! I have to think about the race, as there is a lot of competition. The race here will be as tough as in Monza ! We worked on the race set up on our car, especially considering the weather, which will be tough on the tyres".

The leading GT2 car will start from 15th place overall. After the nr 66 Porsche lost some of its morning times due to rear wing problems, second place in GT2 was taken by the leading British GT car, the nr 83 Scuderia Ecosse Ferrari 360 Modena. Marc Lieb placed the second GruppeM Racing Porsche third.

BALFE MOTORSPORT LEADS G2

As in Monza, the Balfe Motorsport Mosler put in a fine performance, and will start just behind the leading Gruppe M car. Both drivers, Shaun Balfe and Jamie Derbyshire, know this circuit, having raced here in Radicals in 2002, and the added experience has been of great benefit. "Qualifying worked well, like it did in Monza," Shaun Balfe explained. " I hope that we will be able to convert this into a decent result tomorrow ! The team is looking forward to three hours of good racing. It is also good to have the British GT guys racing with us ! Whether I will have the same opinion after the race tomorrow, we will have to see."

-fia-

Be part of something big

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series Blancpain Sprint
Drivers Emmanuel Collard , Christophe Bouchut , Marc Lieb , Shaun Balfe , Jamie Derbyshire , Tim Sugden , Andrea Bertolini