Oschersleben: Qualifying report

WEATHER The weather remains warm and sunny in Oschersleben, but significantly cooler than in Imola two weeks ago, with temperatures expected to rise to 21C. Tomorrow should be cloudy and slightly cooler, with a maximum of 19C. Rain, however,...

The weather remains warm and sunny in Oschersleben, but significantly cooler than in Imola two weeks ago, with temperatures expected to rise to 21C. Tomorrow should be cloudy and slightly cooler, with a maximum of 19C. Rain, however, remains unlikely.


Austrian driver Walter Lechner Jr once more proved he is one of the fastest drivers in the FIA GT Championship, claiming his sixth pole position and his third of the season. Driving the nr 4 Konrad Motorsport Saleen, he set a time of 1:23.543 in the first qualifying session, leading a very close bunch of drivers, with the top ten qualifying within less than one second. "We tried a new type of tyres on the front, which were very good," Walter said. "Overall, I'm happy with the session, even though we still have some problems with the temperatures of our rear tyres. The car itself is great and I feel we could have gone even quicker if it hadn't been for this."

With the track being warmer, the afternoon session did not bring any changes, as the teams had expected. Second place on the grid will go to the nr 2 BMS Scuderia Italia Ferrari, with the nr 28 Graham Nash Motorsport claiming its best qualifying position of the year, after Paolo Ruberti set the third-fastest time. The nr 1 BMS car set the fourth-fastest time, but was forced to change the engine, thereby relegating the Ferrari 550 to the back of the grid. This moves the nr 33 AF Corse Maserati MC 12 of Mika Salo and Andrea Bertolini, which qualified in fifth place, up to fourth spot on the grid, while the nr 7 RML Saleen will be fifth. The other car to change its engine was the nr 5 Vitaphone Racing Team Saleen, which qualified in ninth, but will start just in front of the BMS car.


Sascha Maassen, in the nr 99 Freisinger Motorsport Porsche 996 GT3-RS, claimed his second pole of the year and his fifth overall today, with a lap of 1:27.106 set fifteen minutes into the first qualifying session. "I'm glad I managed to find a more or less clean lap and didn't get stuck in the traffic," Maassen said. "I'm happy with the session. The car was very good, and the tyres were at their best - the perfect conditions for a fast lap! It's difficult here, though, because there's a lot of dirt and stones on the track. I'm afraid we will see quite a few punctures during the race."

Second place on tomorrow's grid will be taken by the nr 62 GPC Giesse Squadra Corse Ferrari 360 Modena, driven this weekend by team regular Christian Pescatori, and Belgian driver Vincent Vosse, a Championship regular but competing in the N-GT category for the first time. Third place went to the nr 50 Freisinger Yukos Porsche of Ortelli and Collard, with the team's second car, driven by the Russian duo Vasiliev and Fomenko, fourth.


An extremely close qualifying session around the technical and twisting Oschersleben circuit saw the nr 4 Konrad Saleen in the lead, with Walter Lechner Jr setting a time of 1:23.543. Walter was already on pole at this circuit last year, when his pole time was 1:23.869.

At the start of the 45-minute session, the nr 1 BMS Scuderia Italia Ferrari 550 Maranello was fastest, with Matteo Bobbi setting a time of 1:23.954. But within ten minutes of the start, Lechner Jr set was was to be the best lap of the session, relegating the nr 1 car to second despite it improving by two tenths.

Fifteen minutes into the session, the nr 2 BMS Ferrari moved up to second, with a lap of 1:23.939, despite the 100 kg penalty weight the car is still carrying. At this stage, the nr 33 Maserati was third, with the nr 28 Graham Nash Saleen fourth. Half-way through the session, Paolo Ruberti, in the nr 28 Saleen, improved to second with a lap of 1:23.695; ten minutes later, Gollin regained second position when he set a time of 1:23.691, just four thousandths faster than the Saleen.

After an extremely close session, the top ten cars were separated by just 0.866 seconds, with three Saleens, two Ferrari 550 Maranello and one Maserati in the top six positions.

In N-GT, Maassen and Luhr set the fastest time in the nr 99 Freisinger Motorsport Porsche, with a time of 1:27.106. The nr 50 car, currently leading the Championship, was fastest for the first third of the session.

The nr 99 then improved, and their time remained fastest for the rest of the session. The nr 50, carrying 75 kg penalty weight, was relegated to third when the nr 62, driven by Christian Pescatori, set a time of 1:27.360. They were followed by the nr 77 Freisinger Yukos Porsche of Vasiliev and Fomenko, with the nr 59 Jens Petersen Porsche, the nr 69 Proton Porsche and the nr 57 Vonka Racing Porsche taking the remaining places on the grid.

There were problems for the nr 1 BMS Ferrari, which only completed six laps and will have to change the engine. The nr 5 Vitaphone Saleen, which had an engine change yesterday, was down in 9th, with the drivers complaining of a lack of top speed.


Twenty-four cars took part in the second session, with the nr 1 BMS car absent. There was not a single improvement during the warmer session, during which the two Maserati cars were the fastest on the track. The nr 33 Maserati MC 12 of Salo and Bertolini set the best time, with a lap of 1:24.397, while the nr 34 car was close behind , setting a lap of 1:24.838.

They were followed by the nr 5 Vitaphone Saleen S7, and the nr 24 DAMS Lamborghini Murcielago, which set its best position so far, with a lap of 1:25.217, just 0.8 seconds behind the leading Maserati. Wendlinger and his new team-mate Tarso Marques were fifth, ahead of Naspetti and Morbidelli in the nr 13 GPC Giesse Squadra Corse.

In N-GT, the nr 62 Ferrari 360 Modena set the fastest time, with a lap of 1:29.078, just three thousandths ahead of the pole position holder, the nr 99 Freisinger Motorsport Porsche. Ortelli and Collard were third, ahead of Vasiliev and Fomenko in the nr 77 Freisinger Yukos Porsche.


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About this article
Series Blancpain Sprint
Drivers Tarso Marques , Mika Salo , Christian Pescatori , Vincent Vosse , Sascha Maassen , Matteo Bobbi , Andrea Bertolini , Jens Petersen , Paolo Ruberti
Teams AF Corse , DAMS