Round three of the 2003 season of the FIA GT Championship is taking place at the Italian circuit of Pergusa, situated at the south of the country, in Sicily. The Championship was last here in 2002, in September, when the Lister Storm of ...
Round three of the 2003 season of the FIA GT Championship is taking place at the Italian circuit of Pergusa, situated at the south of the country, in Sicily. The Championship was last here in 2002, in September, when the Lister Storm of Campbell-Walter and Springer won the GT class, while Freisinger Motorsport finished first and second in N-GT. The circuit, oval in shape with a number of chicanes, is located in the natural basin around an extinct volcano, and is both fast and hard on the cars.
The weather is warm in Sicily, although the sky remains overcast. Temperatures in the early afternoon were reported to be 27°, with a track temperature of 34°.
After winning the first two rounds, the nr 23 BMS Scuderia Italia Ferrari 550 Maranello of Biagi and Bobbi will carry 80 kg penalty weight while the team's nr 22 car, driven by Gollin and Cappellari will carry 60 kg, and the nr 15 Lister Storm 20 kg. In N-GT, the nr 88 and 89 Team Maranello Concessionaires Ferrari 360 Modena cars will carry 35 and 10 kg respectively, while the nr 50 Freisinger Motorsport Porsche carries 15 kg and the nr 58 Autopalace Ferrari 360 Modena has 10 kg penalty weight.
- 31 cars are taking part in this event; 17 in the GT category and 14 in the N-GT
- David Hallyday is missing this event; the nr 4 Force One Racing Festina Chrysler Viper GTS-R will be driven by Philippe Alliot and 20-year old Swiss driver Steve Zacchia this weekend.
- The International Court of Appeal met in Paris on Wednesday May 7th, in order to examine the appeal on behalf of Team Maranello Concessionaires, concerning the exclusion of car 89 from the Magny-Cours event. Having heard the explanations of the parties and examined the various documents and other evidence, the Court upheld the decision of the Stewards.
- Due to this decision, the NGT points situation is confirmed : Mullen and Davies are leading with 18 points, and Fabrizio de Simone and Bertolini second with 13 points. In the Team Championship, Team Maranello Concessionaires lead with 24 points, ahead of JMB Racing and Freisinger Motorsport jointly on 13 points.
- Reigning Champion, Larbre Competition, is not present in Enna-Pergusa, the team having lost its title sponsor over the winter and run into difficulties. The nr 1 Chrysler Viper ran strongly in both Barcelona and Magny-Cours, but failed to finish due to minor problems.
First Free Practice Session : Lister and Freisinger lead
Jamie Campbell-Walter, in the nr 14 Lister Storm set the fastest time in the first free practice session, with a lap of 1:36.836 round the 4.95 km circuit. His best time was set late in the session, after being urged on by team owner Laurence Pearce. Until then, the best time had been set by the nr 9 JMB Racing Ferrari 550 Maranello, with Fabio Babini at the wheel. His time of 1:37.094 was just 0.258 seconds slower than the nr 14 Lister Storm, the car having one of its best days of the season so far. The nr 22 BMS Scuderia Italia Ferrari of Gollin and Cappellari was third, despite 60 kg of penalty weight, ahead of the nr 21 Care Racing Ferrari of Bryner, Calderari and Livio.
In N-GT, the Freisinger Motorsport Porsche 996 GT3-RS was fastest, with a lap of 1:40.133, ahead of the nr 52 JMB Racing Ferrari 360 Modena, and the nr 99 RWS Yukos Porsche 996 GT3-RS.
A number of drivers were learning the circuit, and were being very cautious with the chicanes and the kerbs, hoping to go faster in the afternoon. There were gearbox problems for the nr 12 Proton Porsche 911 GT2, which was 13 seconds slower than the Lister Storm, while the nr 58 AutoPalace Ferrari 360 Modena was having engine cut-outs, lapping in 1:50.876.
Second Free Practice Session : Bryner fastest in GT, EMKA leads in N-GT
Lilian Bryner set the fastest time in the second free practice session, at the wheel of the nr 21 Care Racing Ferrari 550 Maranello, with a lap of 1:36.429. She was followed by Anthony Kumpen in the nr 5 Force One Festina Chrysler Viper GTS-R. The nr 2 Konrad Motorsport Saleen S7-R was third fastest, but the car was involved in a crash later in the session, when Toni Seiler spun and Stephane Daoudi, in the nr 99 RWS Yukos Porsche 996 GT3-RS, was not able to avoid him. The session was briefly red-flagged, and both cars should be repaired in time for tomorrow's qualifying sessions. Nathan Kinch was 10th fastest in the nr 14 Lister, getting to know the track, while the nr 15 Storm spent much of the session in the pits with engine problems. The EMKA Racing Porsche 996 GT3-RS, which had spent the morning running in a new engine and letting the drivers get to know the track, was fastest in the second session, with a lap of 1:40.642. The JMB Racing Ferrari 360 Modena set the second-fastest time, with the Freisinger Motorsport Porsche of Lieb and Ortelli third.
The Proton Porsche 911 GT2 only set three laps, with an engine problem, while the nr 58 Autopalace continued to struggle with their engine cutting out.