A fascinating photo-finish end to the sixth round saw Andrea Piccini and Jean-Denis Deletraz take their third consecutive FIA GT Championship win, and gain the lead in the Drivers Classification in Oschersleben today. Their BMS Scuderia Italia ...
A fascinating photo-finish end to the sixth round saw Andrea Piccini and Jean-Denis Deletraz take their third consecutive FIA GT Championship win, and gain the lead in the Drivers Classification in Oschersleben today. Their BMS Scuderia Italia Ferrari 550 Maranello crossed the line just a second ahead of the charging Lister Storm of Jamie Campbell-Walter and Nicolaus Springer, who helped Lister Storm Racing retake the Teams lead. The Paul Belmondo Racing Chrysler Viper GTS-R of Marc Duez and Fabio Babini finished third. An extremely close N-GT race was finally won by the Autorlando Porsche of Philipp Peter and Toto Wolff, overhauling the RWS Motorsport Porsche of Antonio Garcia and Horst Felbermayr Jr. Andrea Garbagnati and Andrea Bertolini were third in their JMB Racing Ferrari 360 Modena, further increasing their team's points lead.
WEATHER : Overcast / spectators : 22,000
Andrea Piccini and Jean-Denis Deletraz set fastest time in the warm-up session in the nr 23 BMS Scuderia Ferrari 550 Maranello. The pair were a tenth of a second faster than the nr 3 Carsport Holland Chrysler Viper GTS-R of Mike Hezemans and Anthony Kumpen, while Fabio Babini and Marc Duez were third in the nr 12 Paul Belmondo Racing Chrysler Viper GTS-R. Antonio Garcia was the fastest of the N-GT runners in the nr 76 RWS Porsche 996 GT3-R, the Spaniard taking the position from Philipp Peter and Toto Wolff in the nr 58 Autorlando Sport Porsche 996 GT3-R which was classed second overall in the opening stages of the session. The nr 50 JMB Racing Ferrari 360 Modena of Christian Pescatori and Andrea Montermini was on form for the first time this weekend, setting third fastest time in the warm-up, ahead of Tomas Pichler in the Cirtek Motorsport Porsche 996 GT3-R.
PICCINI AND DELETRAZ TAKE CHAMPIONSHIP LEAD
BMS Scuderia Italia scored a hat-trick of victories when Jean-Denis Deletraz and Andrea Piccini won the sixth round at Oschersleben in the nr 23 BMS Scuderia Italia Ferrari 550 Maranello. Piccini crossed the line little more than a second ahead of Jamie Campbell-Walter, who shared the Lister Storm with Nicolaus Springer. It was the third win in succession for the Ferrari pair, and one that moves them to the head of the drivers' championship by a single point from Campbell-Walter and Springer with four rounds to go.
Piccini dropped from second position on the grid to fifth at the start, but made up places to run second at the first round of pit stops. Deletraz stepped aboard and took the lead from Springer in the second hour. However, the nr 12 Paul Belmondo Racing Chrysler Viper of Fabio Babini and Marc Duez was always in close attendance, and it took the lead at the final round of stops when the team elected not to change tyres.
The last hour provided one of the races of the season, with the top three battling hard, but it was Piccini who controlled the race from the front, and allowed Campbell-Walter to close at the flag despite coping with worn front-tyres.
SECOND FOR LISTER PAIR
The Lister Storm Racing Lister Storm pair of Jamie Campbell-Walter and Nicolaus Springer came home in second position after team tactics played another major part in the result. Springer took the car for the second hour of the race with fresh Dunlop tyres for the first time this season, and was able to lap competitively throughout. The team made up further time when it changed just the left-side tyres at the final stop for Campbell-Walter, but it was just not enough. The second Lister Storm Racing Lister Storm of Bobby Verdon-Roe and Paul Knapfield came home sixth overall having started from 16th following their oil pressure problems during practice and qualifying.
PAUL BELMONDO RACING THIRD
The Paul Belmondo Racing pair of Fabio Babini and Marc Duez recorded their second podium of the season when they finished third overall. The pair had taken the lead at the final round of stops when they elected not to change their Pirelli tyres. However, they were delayed when they suffered a sticking throttle towards the end of the race, and they dropped to nearly a minute behind at the end.
MORE POINTS FOR LARBRE AND CARSPORT
Larbre Competition saw their drivers Carl Rosenblad and Vincent Vosse finish fourth overall, but their team-mates Christophe Bouchut and David Terrien failed to finish for the first time this season. The nr 1 Chrysler Viper GTS-R suffered a misfire problem, followed by transmission failure, and eventually retired. The Carsport Holland team got both of its Chrysler Viper GTS-Rs to the finish, though only the nr 4 of Fabrizio Gollin and Luca Capellari scored points with fifth at the flag. The nr 3 of Anthony Kumpen and Mike Hezemans suffered a puncture in the first hour that threw them out of sequence with their pit stops, but they were further delayed in the pits when the car refused to start at the second stop.
PETER AND WOLFF SCORE HARD-FOUGHT N-GT WIN
Philipp Peter and Toto Wolff scored their first win of the year at Oschersleben, after one of the closest races of the season during the first half of the three-hour event. Andrea Bertolini, driving the nr 51 JMB Racing Ferrari 360 Modena, took the lead from Stephane Ortelli before the Monaco-based Frenchman retired the nr 54 Freisinger Motorsport Porsche 996 GT3-R with a broken wheel rim in the first hour.
Alexander Iradj was running third in the first hour behind the wheel of the nr 53 JMB Competition Ferrari 360 Modena with Antonio Garcia closing rapidly in the nr 76 RWS Porsche. Garcia made his way through the pack to take the lead before stopping at mid-distance to hand to Horst Felbermayr Jnr, who was making his N-GT class debut in the championship. Tomas Pichler was also getting involved in the battle for third in the class in the nr 62 Cirtek Motorsport Porsche 996 GT3-R.
Peter took over the car in third position for the final 90 minutes, and proceeded to close the gap and take the win in the final half-hour of a spectacular event.
THIRD PODIUM FOR GARBAGNATI AND BERTOLINI
Andrea Garbagnati and Andrea Bertolini finished third in the nr 51 JMB Racing Ferrari 360 Modena, despite a late-race spin by Garbagnati at the end of the race! Bertolini took the lead in the first hour of the race, but was eclipsed by the flying Garcia who took the lead in the second hour. Garbagnati was then forced to concede second position to Peter's nr 58 Autorlando Porsche 996 GT3-R but the pair still scored their .
Christian Pescatori and Andrea Montermini lost their chance to extend their lead in the N-GT drivers' championship when both suffered a spin, one in each half of the race. The pair, driving the nr 50 JMB Racing Ferrari 360 Modena, took the flag in seventh position, one outside the points on a day when their chief rivals, the nr 54 Freisinger Motorsport Porsche 996 GT3-R of Stephane Ortelli and Sascha Maassen, retired with a broken wheel rim in the first hour.
Their team-mates Stephane Daoudi and Bert Longin were fourth at the flag, ahead of Tomas Pichler and Raffaele Sanguiolo in the nr 55 Cirtek Motorsport Porsche 996 GT3-R. Jurgen von Gartzen and Ian Khan were sixth, the final point-scoring position, despite a late-race spin by Khan.
NOTES AND QUOTES
Andrea Piccini, nr 23 BMS Scuderia Italia Ferrari 550 Maranello - 1st GT: "At the start I thought that one of the cars passed before the green light. I couldn't close the door so dropped to fifth. It was very difficult for me to pass the Carsport cars because they were very fast in a straight line. I don't think that Gollin saw me and I hit him, and I am sorry about that. I didn't hit him deliberately, I was all over the grass, but we touched. I started to push to catch the Lister, but there was always traffic. We lost time in the pit stop with the refuelling. When I took the car I was only five seconds behind. I had to close the gap which was hard because the front tyres were gone. It was a hard race.
Jean-Denis Deletraz, nr 23 BMS Scuderia Italia Ferrari 550 Maranello - 1st GT: "I took the car over in a good position, and controlled the race, to be able to give it back in the right condition. However, we had a problem refuelling, and for that reason, Andrea had to drive a very hard last stint. We are now leading by one point, but the next race is a very long one and, to be honest, we are not sure that we have the car to do it."
Nicolaus Springer, nr 14 Lister Storm Racing Lister Storm - 2nd GT: "I had a good time, it was a good weekend. It was nice for a German to race in Germany, especially considering that 14 years ago this was a Russian occupied zone! Now we have a modern facility here. I had fresh Dunlop tyres for a change, it was a confidence boost.
Jamie Campbell-Walter, nr 14 Lister Storm Racing Lister Storm - 2nd GT: "I had a good start and a good beginning of the race. We decided to give Nic the new tyres because of the nature of the circuit makes it hard on the front tyres. He did a great job, the best all year, and obviously benefited from the new tyres. We had great fuel consumption this weekend, so we could run an hour and 8 minutes on the fuel. When Nic came in we changed only the two left tyres which gave us good track position. It was a good race, and it got close at the end, and congratulations to them. About 20 minutes into my stint I had a few big slides and was overdriving the car a bit so I backed off, but it came back towards the end of the stint."
Fabio Babini, nr 12 Paul Belmondo Racing Chrysler Viper GTS-R - 3rd GT: "I am very happy for this result. The last hour we had a good car, and the tyres would do the two stints, but we had a problem with the throttle cable at the end. The throttle was open, and it was difficult under braking like that!"
Marc Duez, nr 12 Paul Belmondo Racing Chrysler Viper GTS-R - 3rd GT: " It was not difficult for me to bring the car back in the same condition. We had a little vibration and a problem with the throttle cable, so it was not our best weekend, the car was not 100 per cent. We decided not to change tyres, which was a risk, but we did it to finish third."
Vincent Vosse, nr 2 Larbre Competition Chéreau Chrysler Viper GTS-R - 4th GT : "We had no real problems, although the traffic was heavy, which cost us some time. At least we have scored some points again, and I am on the same number of points as Hezemans, Kumpen, Duez and Babini, which is good for the rest of the season. I've finished all the races in the top six, but we haven't been close enough to fight with the big boys. I'm looking forward to Spa, where I will be sharing the nr 1 Viper with Bouchut, Terrien and Sebastien Bourdais."
Bobby Verdon-Roe, nr 15 Lister Storm Racing Lister Storm - 6th GT: "Considering we had two engine changes in the build up to the race and we didn't do a lap at speed before the race, I think this was a good result for us. We blew and engine at Spa, put another motor in but there was a problem with that, so they put another one in and that is the one that we have just finished the race with. To go into the race with no track knowledge we did well. The first stint was very good, and it was fun passing all of those cars. It was nice to finish after all of those DNFs this season."
Paul Belmondo, nr 11 Paul Belmondo Racing Porsche 996 GT3-R - 7th GT: "My engine was overheating because I had been off, at the beginning when I was behind Alliot. I was just catching up, then Claude-Yves did a good stint but I got in for the last one and went off at the same place!"
Philipp Peter, nr 58 Autorlando Sport Porsche 996 GT3-R - 1st N-GT: "Toto did a perfect job at the beginning. We were running on the engine map that gave the best fuel consumption. When I got the car, I was able to push and make up the position and every time I made up a place, I could see the crew jumping up and down so that was nice!"
Toto Wolff, nr 58 Autorlando Sport Porsche 996 GT3-R - 1st N-GT: "This was the team's first win of the season, and my first FIA GT win. I had quite a good start, and the first six or seven cars were running close together. I had a big bang with one of the cars and nearly spun out. Then we had quite a good fight between three Porsches and every second lap there was some banging of some sort going on. It really reminded me of my days in Formula Ford! I am really delighted."
Antonio Garcia, nr 76 RWS Motorsport Porsche 996 GT3-R - 2nd N-GT: "At the beginning of the race, I missed the start, I was fifth on the grid but by the first corner I was ninth. It was hard to re-gain the position but I eventually got behind Ortelli and the Ferraris. I was not pushing, just following the pace. When I saw that I had ten minutes left, I passed him and gave Horst as much advantage as I could."
Horst Felbermayr Jr, nr 76 RWS Motorsport Porsche 996 GT3-R: "This is my first FIA GT podium, as well as being my first race in the N-GT category, so it's a very good start. Towards the end of the race, I tried to slow down to have no fuel problems at the end. Peter is a very fast driver, so I preferred to let him pass and have a safe second place. I would really like to do more N-GT races this year."
Andrea Garbagnati, nr 51 JMB Racing Ferrari 360 Modena: "I had a spin at the end of the race. Andrea was on the radio telling me to go faster. I made a mistake earlier, and I had ruined a tyre which gave me a problem going left. Then I went in a little too fast and lost control. Instead of spinning I went straight, but when I was back on the asphalt I braked and spun. I didn' t damage the tyres too much. The car was performing well. We couldn't run much over the weekend because of various problems, so I am very pleased with this result."
Stephane Daoudi, nr 55 Freisinger Motorsport Porsche 996 GT3-R - 4th N-GT: "It's a slightly disappointing result for us, although it is our best finish of the season, because we were in third place until just before the end, when we had to stop again for fuel. I made a super start, and got up from 4th to 8th. But we really feel we can finish on the podium soon."
Rob Schirle, team manager, Cirtek Motorsport - nr 62 Porsche - 5th N-GT: "Despite stopping twice where everyone else stopped once, I think this was the best position that we could have finished with these two drivers, and Tomas drove a particularly good race."
Andrea Montermini, nr 50 JMB Racing Ferrari 360 Modena: - 7th N-GT : "The first stint was very difficult. The tyres were cold and I had a spin, but then the car was not that bad. Then Christian had another off and he lost another set of tyres. We threw away a very good opportunity to gain more Championship points."