Pergusa: Race report

Today's third round of the FIA GT Championship, watched by approximately 40,000 spectators gathered around the Pergusa circuit in Sicily, saw Fabrizio Gollin and Luca Cappellari cross the line first in the GT category, at the wheel of their BMS ...

Today's third round of the FIA GT Championship, watched by approximately 40,000 spectators gathered around the Pergusa circuit in Sicily, saw Fabrizio Gollin and Luca Cappellari cross the line first in the GT category, at the wheel of their BMS Scuderia Italia Ferrari 550 Maranello. They finished ahead of their team-mates Biagi and Bobbi, with the Lister Storm of Campbell-Walter and Kinch third. However, a faulty airbox caused the car to be excluded after scrutineering, promoting Biagi and Bobbi to their third successive win. The team has appealed and the results therefore remain provisional.

In N-GT, a thrilling end to the race saw Sugden and Short take their first win in the FIA GT Championship, in the EMKA Racing Porsche 996 GT3-RS. Tim Sugden took the lead on the last lap when Fabrizio De Simone, in the nr 52 JMB Racing Ferrari 360 Modena, spun after a frantic last minute battle between the two cars. Twin brothers David and Godfrey Jones took the third place in their Eurotech Porsche 996 GT3-RS.


Fabrizio Gollin and Luca Cappellari might have taken the chequered flag, but their exclusion after post-race scrutineering promoted Bobbi and Biagi to their third consecutive win in the FIA GT Championship. After qualifying second, Gollin and Cappellari ran strongly in the top three throughout, taking the lead when their team-mates Biagi and Bobbi lost time in the pits. BMS Scuderia Italia now have 46 points, leading Lister Racing by 20, with Bobbi and Biagi fourteen points ahead of Gollin and Cappellari in the Drivers classification. "Even with 80 kg, the car is fantastic," Bobbi said afterwards, "This is a very good result for the Championship."


EMKA Racing, consistently one of the fastest Porsches this season, took its first win in the FIA GT Championship today. The British team has competed in the Championship for a number of years, previously with Steve O'Rourke and Tim Sugden, but this year O'Rourke has taken the role of Team Manager, and his place in the nr 61 Porsche has been taken by Martin Short. They were lying second towards the end of the race, but a final splash and dash for the JMB Ferrari brought it back out on the track just in front of Sugden. The EMKA Porsche took the lead, but a thrilling battle between the two saw the Ferrari regain the upper hand on the penultimate lap. On the final lap, however, De Simone spun, allowing Sudgen to cross the line first. "It's still quite surreal; we've always been quick but never won," he said afterwards.


Jean-Marc Gounon started from pole in the Konrad Saleen S7-R and ran strongly throughout his stint, easily keeping the lead of the race. "The car was perfect," he said. He was followed by the nr 22 BMS Ferrari, while the nr 5 Force One Chrysler Viper, so fast all weekend, suffered damage after blowing a tyre and retired. This brought the nr 14 Lister up to third place.

When Gounon handed the Konrad over to Toni Seiler, the car dropped back, while the three BMS-run Ferrari 550 Maranello cars came to the fore. By lap 43, Bobbi was leading from Cappellari, with Seiler third and the nr 21 Care Racing car fourth. On lap 68, however, the Saleen retired due to a broken gearbox, leaving three Ferrari 550 Maranello cars ahead of three Lister Storms. The nr 23 car lost time during a long pit-stop, due to a broken speed limiter, demoting it behind the nr 22. Near the end of the race, a late splash-and-dash for the nr 21 promoted the Lister to third on the track. After the nr 22 was excluded, the race win has provisionally been awarded to the nr 23 BMS Ferrari 550 Maranello of Biagi and Bobbi, with the nr 14 Lister of Campbell-Walter and Kinch second, and the nr 21 Care Racing Ferrari of Bryner, Calderari and Livio third. Fourth place is provisionally taken by the Creation Autosportif Lister of Verdon-Roe and Zadra, with Piccini and Deletraz fifth. Alliot and Zacchia were sixth for Force One Racing, with the sole remaining Graham Nash Motorsport Saleen S7-R of Amorim, Chaves and Ramos seventh. The final point for eighth point went to the Zwaan's Racing Chrysler Viper.


The nr 52 JMB Racing Ferrari 360 Modena started strongly from pole, ahead of the two TMC Ferrari 360 cars. However, an early collision between the nr 52 JMB car and the nr 50 Freisinger Motorsport Porsche 996 GT3-RS meant an early pit-stop for the Ferrari, which dropped down the field. Freisinger Motorsport tried to repair nr 50 car of Ortelli and Lieb, but the car was eventually forced to retire. The two TMC Ferrari 360 Modena cars then looked to be dominating the race, but the nr 89 car developed gearbox problems, leaving the nr 88 in the lead ahead of the nr 51 Freisinger Porsche of Longin and Gardel, and the fast recovering nr 52 JMB Ferrari. The nr 57 MENX Ferrari went off the track into the barriers, bringing the safety car out briefly. The nr 88 N-GT car, leading the class, came into the pits during this period, and was to receive a 30 second stop and go penalty for exiting when the light was red. When the nr 51 Porsche retired with an engine problem, the nr 61 EMKA Porsche, which had been consistently fast, was then lying second behind the nr 52 JMB Ferrari 360 Modena. The final four laps saw the lead change four times, with Sugden finally taking his first win, after 500 km of racing, on lap 102. Third place went to the Jones twins, David and Godfrey, in the nr 75 Eurotech Porsche 996 GT3-RS -- the first time they have finished a race in the Championship. The battle for fourth place was equally exciting, with the all-Russian crew of the nr 77 RWS Yukos Porsche 996 GT3-RS gaining the advantage on the final lap over their Polish counterparts in the nr 56 Alda Motorsport Porsche. With four points for fifth place, these were Alda's first points in the Championship. The nr 53 JMB Racing Ferrari of Kutemann and Gosse was sixth, with the two TMC cars taking the final points for seventh and eighth.


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Series Blancpain Sprint
Drivers Fabrizio Gollin , Toni Seiler , Martin Short , Tim Sugden , Jean-Marc Gounon , Godfrey Jones , Luca Cappellari , Steve O'Rourke