Oschersleben: Free practice sessions report

Championship Round 6 - Oschersleben - Free Practice Sessions. This is the first time since 1999 that the FIA GT Championship has visited the German circuit of Oschersleben, situated to the south west of Magdeburg. The track was completed in...

Championship Round 6 - Oschersleben - Free Practice Sessions.

This is the first time since 1999 that the FIA GT Championship has visited the German circuit of Oschersleben, situated to the south west of Magdeburg. The track was completed in 1997, and Friday, July 12, 2002 will be the circuit's fifth birthday. The first round of the 1998 season of the FIA GT Championship was the first international race meeting to be held at the track.

After five rounds of the 2002 season, four drivers are leading the GT point standings : Jamie Campbell-Walter, Nicolaus Springer, Christophe Bouchut and David Terrien. In the Teams classification, the top four teams, Larbre Competition Chereau, Lister Storm Racing, Carsport Holland and BMS Scuderia Italia, are separated by only ten points. Five points separate the top three in the N-GT class heading into this weekend, with Christian Pescatori and Andrea Montermini ahead of Stephane Ortelli. In the Teams classification, JMB Racing leads Freisinger Motorsport by 18 points.

WEATHER
Changeable weather, with sun early in the day, becoming overcast, with showers later.

LAST TIME--
Eventual Champions Olivier Beretta and Karl Wendlinger took a comfortable victory at Oschersleben in 1999, 51 seconds ahead of Jean-Philippe Belloc and Marc Duez in the second Chrysler Viper Team ORECA Chrysler Viper GTS-R--Sascha Maassen was the star of the opening hour, leading all the way to the first round of pit stops in the Roock Racing Porsche 911 GT2 which had claimed pole. The Porsche retired with a broken differential --Ni Amorim and Toni Seiler took the final podium position in the Chamberlain Chrysler Viper--Michel Ligonnet and Wolfgang Kaufmann were the leading Porsche finishers, fifth overall in the Freisinger Motorsport 911 GT2.

CARSPORT WINS APPEAL
The Carsport Holland team has kept its second position earned at the fourth round of the FIA GT Championship at Jarama, Spain. Mike Hezemans and Anthony Kumpen finished second on the road, but were excluded, pending the appeal, for a front wishbone that "did not conform with the technical regulations of the Championship." The appeal was heard by the FIA in Paris on Wednesday, July 10.

"Having heard the explanations of the parties and examined the various documents and other evidence, the Court decided that the decision of the Stewards was null and void," said the FIA statement.

ACCIDENT FOR CALDERARI REDUCES BMS SCUDERIA ITALIA TO ONE CAR
The BMS Scuderia Italia team is down to one car after Enzo Calderari, driver of the nr 22 Ferrari 550 Maranello, suffered an accident during the week and hurt his arm which required surgery on Thursday. The team was unable to find a replacement for the Swiss driver to share with Lilian Bryner and Frederic Dor at such short notice. Calderari expects to be back at Enna Pergusa on September 22, and for the rest of the FIA GT Championship.

PADDOCK RUNDOWN
Horst Felbermayr Jr is competing in the N-GT class for the first time, sharing the nr 76 Porsche 996 GT3-R with Antonio Garcia. His place in the nr 17 Proton Porsche 911 GT2has been taken by Mauro Casadei and Giovanni Caligaris. Jean-Philippe Belloc, second here in 1999 for Chrysler Team ORECA, will share the nr 52 JMB Competition Ferrari 360 Modena with Pietro Gianni.

HANDICAP WEIGHTS
The Larbre Competition Chrysler Viper GTS-R of Christophe Bouchut and David Terrien carries the most success ballast this weekend, the full 100kg after finishing on the podium at every race so far this year. The nr 23 BMS Scuderia Italia Ferrari 550 Maranello carries 80kg as it has won the last two rounds, gaining 40kg each time. Team Carsport Holland carries 50kg, after keeping its second position at Jarama, and finishing third at Anderstorp, while the nr 14 Lister Storm Racing Lister Storm of Jamie Campbell-Walter and Nicolaus Springer carries just 10kg after not finishing at Anderstorp. In N-GT, both the nr 50 JMB Racing Ferrari 360 Modena of Christian Pescatori and Andrea Montermini and the nr 54 Freisinger Motorsport Porsche 996 GT3-R carry the maximum 50kg ballast. The Ferrari has finished first and second at the first four rounds, and finished fourth at Anderstorp. The Porsche has won each of the last three races to collect its ballast total. The nr 51 JMB Racing Ferrari 360 Modena and the nr 58 Autorlando Porsche 996 GT3-R both carry 15kg.

FIRST FREE PRACTICE SESSION : PAUL BELMONDO RACING AND FREISINGER FASTEST
Fabio Babini and Marc Duez were fastest in the opening session in their nr 12 Paul Belmondo Racing Chrysler Viper GTS-R, just four-thousandths of a second quicker than the nr 23 BMS Scuderia Italia Ferrari 550 Maranello of Andrea Piccini and Jean-Denis Deletraz. The nr 14 Lister Storm Racing Lister Storm of Jamie Campbell-Walter and Nicolaus Springer was third fastest, while Paul Belmondo and Claude-Yves Gosselin took fourth in the team's second Viper. The Force One Ferrari 550 Maranello of David Hallyday and Phillippe Alliot, returning to the Championship after missing Anderstorp, set the ninth time, before Hallyday went off early in the session when the window of the driver's door came loose.

Stephane Ortelli and Sascha Maassen headed the N-GT class in their nr 54 Freisinger Motorsport Porsche 996 GT3-R, six-hundredths of a second faster than Antonio Garcia and Horst Felbermayr Jnr in the nr 76 RWS Motorsport Porsche 996 GT3RS. Andrea Bertolini was third fastest in the nr 51JMB Racing Ferrari 360 Modena despite pulling off the track near the end of the session when his oil pressure dropped suddenly. The nr 53 JMB Competition Ferrari 360 Modena of Marco Lambertini, Batti Pregliasco and Iradj Alexander was fourth fastest, ahead of the championship-leading Ferrari of Christian Pescatori and Andrea Montermini that was struggling with a lack of power.

SECOND FREE PRACTICE SESSION : LISTER LEADS GT, AUTORLANDO BEST IN N-GT
Jamie Campbell-Walter headed the time-sheets in the nr 14 Lister Storm Racing Lister Storm, benefiting from a change in gear ratios that caused him to miss the start of the session. Campbell-Walter, one of the four championship leaders, set a time of 1m25.932 during the session, which was declared wet. The second Lister Storm, the nr 15 of Bobby Verdon-Roe and Paul Knapfield, missed the session due to an oil pressure problem on their car. The team has sent for a new V12 engine from its base in Leatherhead and that should be installed in time for first qualifying.

The nr 2 Larbre Competition Chrysler Viper GTS-R of Vincent Vosse and Carl Rosenblad was second fastest, just over one tenth of a second slower than the Lister, and two tenths ahead of Mike Hezemans and Anthony Kumpen in the nr 3 Carsport Holland Chrysler Viper GTS-R. Christophe Bouchut and David Terrien were fourth, happy with the balance of their Chrysler Viper GTS-R despite the 100kg weight handicap.

The nr 5 Force One Ferrari 550 Maranello of David Hallyday and Phillippe Alliot missed the session as the team carried out repairs to the car following this morning's accident.

Autorlando headed the N-GT category, the nr 58 Porsche of Toto Wolff and Philipp Peter setting a time of 1m29.407s to beat the Freisinger Motorsport Porsche 996 GT3-R of Stephane Ortelli and Sascha Maassen by seven thousandths of a second. The nr 53 JMB Competition Ferrari 360 Modena of Marco Lambertini, Batti Pregliasco and Iradj Alexander was third quickest on a bad day for the Ferrari team. Christian Pescatori and Andrea Montermini were unable to set a representative time due to engine problems. The nr 52 JMB Competition Ferrari 360 Modena of Pietro Gianni and Jean-Philippe Belloc had an electrical problem that caused the throttle to cut out when wide open.

Alex Vasiliev crashed the nr 77 RWS Motorsport Porsche 996 GT3-R, causing damage to the rear left of the car. The nr 66 MAC Racing Porsche of Moreno Soli and Fabio Venier failed to take part in the session following an accident in the morning that caused extensive damage to the front of the car.

NOTES AND QUOTES

Christophe Bouchut, nr 1 Larbre Competition Chereau : "This morning we tried a hard compound and this afternoon the compound was softer and better. But with the penalty weight, we destroy the normal tyres quickly. Over one lap, it doesn't make a big difference, but over a race distance the gap is bigger. Superpole is not our objective. I was in the top six here this morning and this afternoon, but that was maybe due to my experience of the track. The car has a very good balance. The Ferrari and the Lister, which has very little weight, will go very well."

David Hallyday, nr 5 Force One Racing Ferrari 550 Maranello: "I was in the triple left hander and the window of the driver's door came loose and then broke off. I thought that the whole door was going, lost concentration and crashed. The car went in at the rear first, so the wing is broken, but it will be OK."

Fabio Babini, nr 12 Paul Belmondo Racing Chrysler Viper GTS-R : "I am very pleased both with the car and the circuit. It's a nice circuit, and good for us. Marc did a very good time this morning, and we continued to test this afternoon, when I set a good time with old tyres. We are mainly working for the race, but it has been rather difficult due to the changing weather conditions. I think we need to do a 1:25 tomorrow to get a good qualifying time. It is obviously more important to have a good Sunday than a good Friday, but a day like today is good for the team, for our confidence, after a number of races with problems."

Jean-Philippe Belloc, nr 52 JMB Racing Ferrari 360 Modena: "Yesterday evening Jean-Michel Bouresche [JMB's team owner] called me to invite me to drive. I missed the free practice this morning, and I missed the afternoon session because of a problem with the car ! I don't know exactly what the problem is. All I can tell you is that when you are on the straight at full throttle, the throttle cuts out. You stop, you rest, you go, and 1000 metres later, you stop again. I went in and out of the pits, and I was trying to learn the car. We will start the qualifying session with no testing! It is a new car to me, a new team, it is a little bit difficult. At least I know the circuit!"

Philipp Peter, nr 58 Autorlando Sport 996 GT3-R: "After testing for Le Mans, racing in the FIA GT Championship and racing in the Porsche Supercup, I needed a break. I took a few days holiday but on the first day I fell off my jet-ski and hurt my shoulder. I didn't score at Jarama and because of the accident I missed Anderstorp so I think the championship is over for me."

Antonio Garcia, nr 76 RWS Motorsport, Porsche 996 GT3-R: "We are concentrating on the race, because it is difficult to be consistent around this track. I did my best time in the sixth lap, and I managed to do the same time twice. The traffic is quite heavy. At this track there is no place to overtake. It won't be a problem for us in the race, the problem will be for the GT cars. There are sequences of corners with no straights, so they could lose a lot of time. I think that it will be OK if the GT drivers just relax!"

Nikolaj Formenko, nr 77 RWS Porsche 996 GT3-R: "We have a new engine in my car, which is fantastic. It is going really well. At the moment I am working on a comedy film called "Key for the Bedroom" which is due to debut in Russia in November. I play a factory owner who falls in love with a married woman. I have had the name of the director, Rjazanov, cut into my hair for a joke. It made him laugh."

-fia-

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About this article
Series Blancpain Sprint
Drivers Andrea Piccini , Antonio Garcia , Karl Wendlinger , Christian Pescatori , Ni Amorim , Vincent Vosse , Stéphane Ortelli , Sascha Maassen , Jamie Campbell-Walter , Jean-Denis Deletraz , Andrea Montermini , Jean-Philippe Belloc , Anthony Kumpen , Mike Hezemans , Toni Seiler , Christophe Bouchut , David Terrien , Wolfgang Kaufmann , Paul Belmondo , Mauro Casadei , Nicolaus Springer , Fabio Babini , Olivier Beretta , Andrea Bertolini , Claude-Yves Gosselin , Enzo Calderari , Lilian Bryner , Bobby Verdon-Roe , Paul Knapfield , Marc Duez , Batti Pregliasco , Michel Ligonnet , Toto Wolff , Philipp Peter , Fabio Veni , Alexander Iradj , David Hallyday
Teams Larbre Competition