Magny Cours: Round one Superpole, second qualifying report

WEATHER Patchy clouds with bright sunshine. LISTER STORM RACING TAKES GT POLE The Lister Storm team continued to lead the way at Magny Cours, with Jamie Campbell-Walter setting pole position time in his Lister Storm, which has been fastest in...

Patchy clouds with bright sunshine.

The Lister Storm team continued to lead the way at Magny Cours, with Jamie Campbell-Walter setting pole position time in his Lister Storm, which has been fastest in each session this weekend. The Briton lapped the Magny Cours track in a time of 1:33.974s during the single-lap Superpole session, to beat the Larbre Competition Chrysler Viper GTS-R of Christophe Bouchut. The reigning Champion was six tenths of a second slower, with a time of 1:34.653s. This is the first time that Lister managed to take overall pole position since the start of the Superpole system. Campbell-Walter took the GT pole at Estoril, but started behind the nr 76 RWS Porsche 996 GT3-R due a sudden rainshower.

Bouchut was more than half a second clear of his team mate Vincent Vosse in the nr 2 Chrysler Viper GTS-R. Fabio Babini was given the honour of qualifying the Paul Belmondo Racing Chrysler Viper GTS-R that he shares with Marc Duez. The Italian, racing for the first time in the GT class, set a time of 1:35.714, heading the second Lister Storm of Bobby Verdon Roe. Philippe Alliot was disappointed not to have been allowed to take part in the Superpole after a timing mix-up. The Frenchman, driving with David Hallyday in the Force One Racing Ferrari 550 Maranello, will start from sixth position on the grid for tomorrow's three-hour race.

Ferrari returned to the top of the time sheets with reigning champion Christian Pescatori setting fastest time in the Super Pole session in the JMB Racing Ferrari 360 Modena. The Italian set a time of 1:41.096, just six thousandths of a second faster than Stephane Ortelli. Ortelli and Amorim, driving the Freisinger Porsche, have thus far proved to be the toughest competition to the champions. However Ni Amorim spun the car into the gravel during the final 15 minutes of qualifying having missed his braking point. Andrea Bertolini was third fastest in the JMB Racing Ferrari a further half a second down while Iradj Alexander, making his first ever Super Pole run, set fourth fastest time in the JMB Competition Ferrari 360 Modena. Philipp Peter was fifth in the Autorlando Porsche and the six will fill the grid slots 13-18 for tomorrow's race.

Changes to the qualifying procedure this season will see a different look to tomorrow's grid. After the first qualifying session, the six fastest GT cars form Group A, while the six fastest N-GT cars are in Group B. The first session sets the grid positions for these groups. These positions are then redistributed within each Group during the Superpole session. Today, the fastest N-GT car in the first Qualifying session, the nr 54 Freisinger Motorsport Porsche 996 GT3-R, was 13th fastest. Therefore the N-GT pole-setting car, the nr 50 JMB Racing Ferrari 360 Modena, will start from 13th place on the grid. Ortelli, second in the N-GT Superpole session, will start from the original second-fastest Group B position, which was14th. Any car which fails to set a time during the Superpole is sent to the back of its group, meaning that the nr 5 Force One Racing Ferrari 550 Maranello starts from 6th position, last place in the A Group. The rest of the cars, Group C, had their grid positions determined by the combined times from the first and second session.

Jamie Campbell-Walter [Lister Storm Racing, nr 14 Lister Storm]: "We have done a lot of running with the Dunlop tyres over the winter and it paid off. It was a smooth lap, no dramas and it makes a difference for us to have tyre warmers. Last year Super Pole could be frightening for us; you got out of the car thinking 'Thank God that is over', but now it is quite enjoyable. You have grip instantly because the tyres are warm. Last year we struggled through Super Pole. This is a safer option and it helps us."

Christophe Bouchut [Larbre Competition--Chereau, nr 1 Chrysler Viper GTS-R]: "Second position is good for us. The season started late because we chose to race in the USA. So generally I am really happy with the way the season has started. We have new modifications on the Viper and I think we can be closer to the Lister Storm's times this year. I was not very happy with my lap time because I had understeer and many small problems, which is natural with a brand-new car. It is a bit early to say, but I am sure I will be competitive and will push to the limit."

Vincent Vosse [Larbre Competiton --Chereau nr 2, Chrysler Viper GTS-R]: "We put the car on the track for the first time not that long ago and we had a few problems yesterday and were not on the pace. We were not on the pace. I am surprised to be in the top three." [Talking about the updates to the Chrysler Viper GTS-R that he is running this weekend, including revised engine, sequential gearbox, larger rear wing and wider rear track]: "It is an advantage, it makes the car different to drive. If we continue to improve like we have done since yesterday, it will be a good thing soon!"

Bobby Verdon-Roe [Lister Storm Racing, nr 15, Lister Storm]: "I had a problem getting the car into fourth gear and I think that the clutch was already going. Now it is gone. I overdrove the car a little bit and lost tenths of a second here and there anyway."

Andrea Piccini [BMS Scuderia Italia, nr 23, Ferrari 550 Maranello]: "I did three years of Formula 3000, two with Kid Jenson Racing and one with the European Minardi team, and I was a test driver for the Minardi Formula One team. BMS Scuderia Italia is very important in Italy so it is a good option for me. The team only got the car on Wednesday, and I drove it for the first time yesterday but I was quick straight away. The car is enjoyable to drive. It is easy to make a mistake in this car, as there is a lot of movement, but I like the car and the team and I want to have some fun. Formula One is the dream of everybody, but I cannot go there without big money, which I don't have. I am doing a lot of things outside motor racing. I am studying economics at university in Perugia and I am managing my little brother, Giacomo, who is 17 and just starting out in racing. It was a bit of fun for me when I started racing, but now I can help him with the contacts that I have made."

Christian Pescatori [JMB Racing, nr 50 Ferrari 360 Modena]: - "Yesterday we did a good job for qualifying. We have a new setup for the Pirelli tyres, it is not perfect but the car is good enough for first position. The car is basically the same as last year and it is only the tyres that are completely different."

Stephane Ortelli [Freisinger Motorsport, nr 54 Porsche 996 GT3-R,]: "We have changed to Dunlop tyres since last season, which means we have had to work on the set-up. Yesterday, we worked for the race, running with more fuel. With less fuel for the qualifying, I was a bit surprised by the handling of the car with oversteering. However, I am pleased with my qualifying, and the small gap between the Ferrari and the Porsche looks good for tomorrow's race. It looks like being a good fight."

Ni Amorim [Freisinger Motorsport, nr 54 Porsche 996 GT3-R,]: "Stephane was the only one to use scrubbed tyres during the Super Pole session. We are saving a set for tomorrow's race. I went off because I braked too late."

Andrea Bertolini [JMB Racing, nr 51 Ferrari 360 Modena]: - "I am very happy for myself and for the team. It was very good to have three Ferrari Modena 360 cars in the Superpole. I hope my co-driver, Andrea Garbagnati, and I will manage a good time in the race tomorrow."

Jurgen von Gartzen, [JVG Racing, nr 60, Porsche 996 GT3-R]: "I flat-spotted my tyres when I locked them up at the hairpin. It is difficult with cold tyres and cold brakes, the cold brakes are the worst. My co-driver Ian Khan is getting faster and faster. Every lap that he does he gains experience and I think that he is going to do a very good job."


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About this article
Series Blancpain Sprint
Drivers Andrea Piccini , Christian Pescatori , Ni Amorim , Vincent Vosse , Stéphane Ortelli , Philippe Alliot , Jamie Campbell-Walter , Christophe Bouchut , Paul Belmondo , Andrea Garbagnati , Fabio Babini , Ian Khan , Andrea Bertolini , Bobby Verdon-Roe , Marc Duez , Jurgen von Gartzen , Alexander Iradj
Teams Larbre Competition