Oschersleben: Round six preview

LG Super Racing Weekend Round 6 - Oschersleben (Germany) - 12th - 14th July 2002 Ten days after the Swedish crowds braved the rain at the Scandinavian Raceway in Anderstorp to watch the fifth round of the LG Super Racing Weekend series, the...

LG Super Racing Weekend
Round 6 - Oschersleben (Germany) - 12th - 14th July 2002

Ten days after the Swedish crowds braved the rain at the Scandinavian Raceway in Anderstorp to watch the fifth round of the LG Super Racing Weekend series, the teams and drivers will be meeting up again in Germany, at the Oschersleben Motopark, near the town of Magdeburg. With half of the season over, having provided many wonderful races and thrilling on-track action, the title battles in all the Championships and series are still wide open, with another five weekends of excellent racing action in prospect.

The FIA GT Championship has a long association with the 3.667 km Oschersleben circuit, as it was the first major international championship to race there. The first round of the 1998 season was held in Oschersleben, with a Mercedes one-two-three in the GT1 class, and Chrysler Viper Team Oreca victorious in the GT2 category. The Championship returned to the German circuit in 1999, when Stephane Ortelli took pole position in a Porsche 911 GT2. His team-mate then was Sascha Maassen, who will once more join him this weekend, although now at the wheel of a Porsche 996 GT3-R. The 1999 race, however, was dominated by the Chrysler Viper GTS-R cars, which took five of the top six places.

The track is relatively short, tight and twisting, and relatively technical. The stadium layout means that it is very good for spectators. However, for the drivers, it can be rather tiring, as there are no long straights, and many corners, meaning that there is no time to relax. The weather is the unknown factor; conditions cooler than Jarama, but warmer and drier than Anderstorp, would be perfect.


Despite the rain, the FIA GT Championship's first visit to Sweden produced an action-packed race, like all the other races that have taken place this season. The nr 23 BMS Scuderia Italia Ferrari 550 Maranello took its second consecutive win, bringing drivers Jean-Denis Deletraz and Andrea Piccini closer to the Championship leaders. With both Larbre Competition Chéreau Chrysler Viper GTS-R cars finishing in the points, while neither Lister Storm finished the race, Larbre has now overtaken Lister Storm Racing in the Teams Championship, while Bouchut, Terrien, Campbell-Walter and Springer have all tied for first place in the Drivers Championship. In the N-GT Championship, Freisinger Motorsport took its third consecutive win, Stephane Ortelli driving the nr 54 Porsche 996 GT3-R with Emmanuel Collard. JMB Racing still has a good lead in the Teams points, but Ortelli is closing fast on JMB Racing drivers Montermini and Pescatori in the Drivers classification. Oschersleben's tight, technical circuit will make the handicap weights extremely important. Bouchut and Terrien will have 100 kg in their Chrysler Viper GTS-R, the leading Ferrari 550 Maranello will have 80, with the leading N-GT contenders, the nr 54 Freisinger Porsche and the nr 50 JMB Racing Ferrari 360 Modena both on 50 kg.


The FIA International Court of Appeal will meet in Paris on Tuesday July 9th to hear the appeal against the exclusion of the nr 3 Carsport Holland Chrysler Viper GTS-R from the Jarama round for non-conformity. The decision will be announced on Wednesday July 10th in the afternoon.


Dart Racing, the Italian team that enters an Alfa Romeo 156 Gta for young British driver Tom Ferrier in the FIA European Touring Car Championship, has announced plans to enter the FIA GT Championship. In conjunction with Red Bull, they plan to race an Italtecnica-built Ferrari 550 Maranello, updated to 2002 specifications, from the Pergusa round on September 22nd. The car will be driven by Austrian Dieter Quester and Italian Luca Riccitelli, who have been frontrunners in the N-GT class for RWS Motorsport over the past two seasons. A presentation of the team and the car's livery will take place in the Super Racing Club in the Oschersleben Paddock, at 18:00 on Saturday 13th July.


An official test day for the Proximus 24 Hours of Spa will take place on July 9th at the Spa-Francorchamps circuit in Belgium. Many of the leading teams will be present. The day will include a press conference to launch the Spa round of the LG Super Racing Weekend. Any members of the press wishing to attend should contact the National Press Officer for the event, Pierre van Vliet, at RACE, on +32 - Fax: +32 or by email at info@race.be


To the delight of team manager Jack Leconte, second place for Bouchut and Terrien, and sixth for Vosse and Rosenblad, gave French team Larbre Competition Chéreau enough points to take the lead of the FIA GT Championship Teams Classification after the Anderstorp race. The team's exemplary consistency, with its cars finishing in the points at every race, has also meant that the nr 1 Chrysler Viper GTS-R will carry 100 kg penalty weight at Oschersleben. "We are all very pleased, as this was the aim," explained Vincent Vosse, driver of the nr 2 Larbre Competition Chéreau Chrysler Viper GTS-R. "We have a number one car, and our job is to help it win the Drivers Championship, and we also have to help the team in order to win the Teams Championship. Unfortunately, my error in Qualifying in Sweden meant that Rosenblad and I were not able to finish higher than sixth. I think otherwise we could have been in the top four, because I like racing in the rain. Luckily, I do not make mistakes like that very often. The team has been very reliable so far this season; for good results, you need to be both reliable and competitive, which is not such an easy compromise." Vosse is looking forward to Oschersleben, where he last raced in 1999. "It seems a long time ago. As far as I remember, it's a modern circuit, a bit like Valencia, but faster. We were third fastest in Qualifying there, in both the rain and the dry, but had engine problems in the race. I'm really looking forward to going back, as I have some good memories of the place."

"We'll have almost no weight in Oschersleben - only 10 kg - which is a big bonus," Jamie Campbell-Walter said after neither Lister Storm finished the rain-soaked Swedish race. "No-one in the team is familiar with the track, but as far as I know it is quite short and twisty; circuits like that are generally easier to learn than longer tracks like Spa-Francorchamps. Sweden was unfortunate, but we have to look forward, and hope to get some good points before the Proximus 24 Hours of Spa." Jamie finished his previous race in the mud, having left the track due to a persistent brake problem. "The car was full of gravel and mud, but there was no damage. We really suffered with the brake problem, which was caused by a broken cable. We've changed it, and everything is now OK. However, in Anderstorp, no-one had a spare cable. BMS leant us one, but it was 4 inches too short. Strangely, it is usually cheap and simple parts like that which cause the most problems."

Dutch team Carsport Holland is currently lying in third place in the GT Teams Classification, after its two Chrysler Viper GTS-R cars finished in third and fourth places at Anderstorp. Mike Hezemans last drove at Oschersleben in 1999, at the wheel of a Marcos LM600 in the free practice sessions. "I only did a handful of laps, because the engine broke," the Dutch driver said. "As far as I remember, the track is quite slow, and we might have a little bit of a power advantage over the Ferrari there, as there are no long straights. But basically, I think the Lister will be unbeatable, especially as they have almost no penalty weight. We have been trying different roll bars and other things, to try and make progress with the car. We were so quick at the start of the season, but everyone else has caught up with us. There are a lot of very good drivers in the various Chrysler Viper GTS-R cars, which means they are still competitive, but despite that, I think it will be difficult for any of us to win a race, except for the Proximus 24 Hours of Spa, where our reliability should win through."

The Force One Ferrari 550 Maranello missed the Anderstorp event, in order to test the car and attempt to solve the reliability problems, which have plagued the car during the previous races. "We have been testing in Fiorano, and have made a lot of changes to the car," Philippe Alliot explained. "We will be back for the Oschersleben race, and we hope that the car will be reliable." As usual, Alliot will share the nr 5 Ferrari with French rock star and motorsports enthusiast David Hallyday.


JMB RACING RETAINS ITS LEAD (1st in N-GT, 52 points)
"We had a few problems in Anderstorp," Andrea Montermini admitted. "We thought we would be fine in the rain, but the conditions were different than we had supposed, and the hour and a half behind the safety car destroyed our job." The points leaders in the N-GT Drivers Classification only finished in fourth place in Sweden, the first time they have failed to finish on the podium this season. "We really need to work a lot, as Porsche is putting in a huge effort," Montermini continued. "However, I am enjoying my first season in the FIA GT Championship, and I am so pleased to be driving a Ferrari and to have been leading the Championship for five races. The whole team, including myself, is putting in a huge effort to try and maintain that lead. There is a lot of pressure from Porsche." The nr 51 Ferrari 360 Modena of Andrea Garbagnati and Andrea Bertolini crossed the line in second place in Anderstorp, to maintain the team's lead in the Teams Classification. "The result was really good, but the conditions were tough, and I nearly went off a couple of times on the straight," Andrea Garbagnati explained. "Andrea Bertolini did a very good job and gave me the car in second or third place. We didn't change our Pirelli tyres, as they were performing very well, so we gained some time. I concentrated on making as few mistakes as possible, and achieved our best result so far, finishing ahead of Pescatori and Montermini. I still can't really believe it ! "

Anderstorp saw Stéphane Ortelli take his third consecutive win, sharing the nr 54 Porsche 996 GT3-R with Emmanuel Collard. For Oschersleben, he will be reunited with his Jarama team-mate, Sascha Maassen. "We used to race together in 1998 and 1999 for Roock Racing, and got pole position in Oschersleben in 1999," Ortelli explained. "I have really good memories of that race, as I had a very good fight with Beretta in the Oreca Viper, although we eventually retired with mechanical problems. I think the circuit will be advantageous for us, as we have driven there before, although it is not my favourite sort of track. I am rather concerned about the penalty weight, which will be difficult on a track like that, with a lot of corners and chicanes. The important thing is for Porsche to win on home ground in Germany, so we will try hard to beat the Ferrari cars. We need another good result for the points, so I hope we will get it on Sunday."

The nr 55 Freisinger Porsche 996 GT3-R, driven by Stephane Daoudi and Bert Longin, has been making steady progress since the beginning of the season, and Daoudi claimed the second place on the grid for Anderstorp, his best qualifying position yet. Despite a difficult race, Daoudi is confident for the rest of the 2002 FIA GT Championship. His Belgian team-mate Bert Longin took the wet start in Anderstorp (and not Daoudi as stated in the post-race quotes). "It was very difficult for Bert at the start, as the windscreen wipers were not working, so he had to go slowly. When I took over, I went off twice, as I couldn't see anything, which meant I lost a lot of time," French driver Daoudi explained. "However, I feel I am improving race by race, and I am confident that we will soon be able to get some good results. At one point in Anderstorp I was catching Ortelli, although I was a couple of laps behind him. The car is now very competitive, and I am learning the circuits. Apart from Magny Cours, they are all new to me. The advantage with that is that I am getting very quick at learning new tracks. For Oschersleben, I hope we will be able to finish on the podium."

Autorlando have made steady progress this season, scoring points in every round except for Spain.

"I must say we were very lucky to get a podium finish in the last race," said Toto Wolff, driver of the nr 58 Autorlando Porsche 996 GT3-R. " Before the race, if you had asked me if it was possible, I would have said never. During qualifying, our engine wouldn't start, and then it burnt, so we only did two or three laps with an engine that wasn't working properly. We started 11th, a long way down. However, I had a solid turn at the start of the race. The stop and go didn't help, but Walter Lechner was very lucky with the safety car and got up to 3rd, overtaking Pescatori on the track. All season we have had problems in qualifying, but in the race we are really on the pace. I think the main reason is that we have two very balanced drivers. I am really looking forward to Oschersleben as I know the track well. It is a short, narrow track, not particularly hard to learn, but there is one very fast triple left that you have to be careful with. I'm really hoping to be on top. Philipp Peter should be back in the car with me; he is driving in the Porsche Supercup this weekend and we will see how it goes. If not, Walter is ready to step back in, and he knows the circuit by heart, so that won't be a problem." As in Spain, Joel Camathias and Renault Sport Clio Trophy leader Luca Rangoni will share the other car.


Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series Blancpain Sprint
Drivers Andrea Piccini , Joel Camathias , Emmanuel Collard , Vincent Vosse , Stéphane Ortelli , Sascha Maassen , Philippe Alliot , Jamie Campbell-Walter , Jean-Denis Deletraz , Andrea Montermini , Mike Hezemans , Luca Riccitelli , Dieter Quester , Andrea Garbagnati , Andrea Bertolini , Bert Longin , Luca Rangoni , Jack Leconte , Toto Wolff , Philipp Peter , Tom Ferrier , David Hallyday
Teams Larbre Competition