Edinburgh -- 15 August 2006: After the gruelling Spa 24 Hours, the FIA GT teams will be glad to get back to the shorter three-hour races, starting this weekend at Paul Ricard in the South of France. Paul Ricard is one of the best test circuits ...
Edinburgh -- 15 August 2006: After the gruelling Spa 24 Hours, the FIA GT teams will be glad to get back to the shorter three-hour races, starting this weekend at Paul Ricard in the South of France. Paul Ricard is one of the best test circuits Europe has to offer and this race will be the first major event to be held there since it was rebuilt five years ago.
The Scuderia Ecosse team will look a little different this weekend. After a fine performance for the team at Spa, Marino Franchitti will be back in a Ferrari at Ricard, but this time he'll be in car number 63. Chris Niarchos has other commitments so has asked the Scot to take his seat for this race. The team has a 'tradition' to uphold at Ricard; after taking four-out-of-four pole positions so far this year the pressure is on to not break the run. More importantly though the team needs to win on a regular basis to take points away from the Championship leaders and be in contention for the FIA GT title.
Nathan Kinch (#62): "I tested at Ricard earlier this year and thoroughly enjoyed the track. It's a technical circuit and the facilities are excellent. Once again it's going to be a strong battle with the other 430s but we're up for it. It's good to see Marino in the other car; we need to concentrate on taking as many points away from AF Corse as possible."
Andrew Kirkaldy (#62): "I've never been to Paul Ricard! I've heard it's a nice track and that it will suit the Ferrari but that's about as much as I know. This won't be a problem though. I'd never been to Oschersleben either but that didn't stop us being fastest in qualifying and winning the race!"
Tim Mullen (#63): "So far this year we've had the speed to win but we've not had the luck. Hopefully that will change when we get to Ricard. The other car (#62) has had a win so now it's our turn. It's good to have Marino on board and I hope we get a great result this weekend."
Marino Franchitti (#63): "I'm delighted to be back with the team so soon after Spa. I drove with Tim in Scuderia Ecosse's first ever race (2003 Le Mans 1000kms) and I'm looking forward to driving alongside him again, so thanks to Chris for the opportunity. I feel at home with the team and I hope between the two cars we can come away from the weekend with a good haul of points."
Stewart Roden, Team Principal: "As the guys have said we need to concentrate on scoring points now. Ricard is a fantastic track and I think we'll see some very high speeds along the Mistral Straight. It's a shame Chris can't be with us this weekend but Marino will do a good job, just as he did at Spa. The event is going to fly by, with it being a two-day meeting; mind you one less late night can only be a good thing!"
The Paul Ricard round of the FIA GT Championship is a two-day meeting with practice and qualifying on Saturday, before the three-hour race begins at 1330hrs (CET) on Sunday.