Lister Storm Racing emerged victorious at the Sicilian track of Pergusa today, with Jamie Campbell-Walter and Nicolaus Springer taking their third win of the season at the wheel of the Lister Storm and closing up the title fight with two rounds ...
Lister Storm Racing emerged victorious at the Sicilian track of Pergusa today, with Jamie Campbell-Walter and Nicolaus Springer taking their third win of the season at the wheel of the Lister Storm and closing up the title fight with two rounds remaining. The spectators - estimated at around 35000, figures unequalled since the Formula Two days back in the 1980's - flocked to the circuit, watching from the grandstand or lining the hills around the track. They were treated to an action-packed race, full of changes of leader and some fascinating battles around the long, fast circuit. Freisinger Motorsport dominated the N-GT battle, with a one-two for the Porsche 996 GT3-R cars, finishing ahead of their direct title rivals, the two JMB Racing Ferrari 360 Modena cars, who have now slipped behind in the Teams classification.
Overcast, warm and windy; some light rain during the race
RACE STORY : LISTER TAKES 3rd GT WIN; FREISINGER CLAIMS THE N-GT TEAMS LEAD
Jamie Campbell-Walter and Nicolaus Springer won the eighth round of the FIA GT Championship in their nr 14 Lister Storm Racing Lister Storm to close the gap on championship leaders Christophe Bouchut and David Terrien, who finished fifth in their Larbre Competition Chrysler Viper GTS-R.
Mike Hezemans led into the final 15 minutes of the three-hour event when he pitted for fuel. However, his nr 3 Carsport Holland Chrysler Viper GTS-R refused to start, the fuel tank having been completely empty and unable to pick up the fuel he had taken on board.
Andrea Piccini, driving the nr 23 BMS Scuderia Italia Ferrari 550 Maranello, and Fabio Babini in the nr 12 Paul Belmondo Racing Chrysler Viper GTS-R could also have been in contention for the win, but they collided in the final hour. Piccini came off worst, pitched side-ways into the tyres but was able to return to the pits. The team sent him out again but on a high-speed section of the track his rear suspension collapsed, sending him into the barriers and retirement.
Babini was awarded a stop-and-go penalty for his part in the original incident, and that dropped him to third position overall at the flag. Boris Derichebourg was fourth in the nr 11 Paul Belmondo Racing Chrysler Viper GTS-R after a relatively trouble-free race.
In the N-GT class, it was the nr 54 Freisinger Motorsport Porsche 996 GT3-R of Stephane Ortelli and Marc Lieb that took a comfortable victory, ahead of their team-mates Stephane Daoudi and Cyrille Sauvage. Lieb started and steadily moved from his fifth position in class on the grid to lead by the time he handed to Ortelli, who stroked the car home.
Andrea Montermini and Iradj Alexander were third in the class, a move that takes Montermini ahead of his former co-driver Christian Pescatori in the title chase. Pescatori was slowed by a brake problem, that dropped himself and his co-driver Andrea Bertolini down to fourth position at the flag.
LISTER STORM OPENS UP CHAMPIONSHIP BATTLE
The Lister Storm Racing Lister Storm of Jamie Campbell-Walter and Nicolaus Springer took a hard-fought victory during a tense and exciting race at Pergusa. The duo started from fourth position on the grid but steadily moved through the field, inheriting first place after the leading Carsport Holland Chrysler Viper of Fabrizio Gollin came in for its pit stop.
Gentleman driver Springer took over the car, and new tyres, but dropped down to third before he handed the car back to his British co-driver. Campbell-Walter did not change tyres, but was able to move back to take the lead as cars in front of him crashed out, or struck problems in the pits, to take their 3rd win of the year. They now lie just 3.5 points off the leaders in the drivers' championship with two rounds to go, at Donington in England and at Estoril in Portugal.
SECOND FOR CARSPORT HOLLAND
Fabrizio Gollin and Luca Cappellari brought their nr 4 Carsport Holland Chrysler Viper GTS-R home in second position. Gollin, starting from pole position, led at the end of the first hour before he handed to his Italian co-driver. Cappellari returned the car an hour later in fourth position and the pair benefited from the problems that struck their team-mate and the Ferrari ahead of them.
ORTELLI SCORES FIFTH WIN
Stephane Ortelli scored his fifth win of the year in the N-GT classification in his nr 54 Freisinger Motorsport Porsche 996 GT3-R. Ortelli, from Monaco, has been victorious at Brno, Jarama, Anderstorp and Spa this year already. He has shared two of his wins with Marc Lieb who drove from fifth on the grid to lead by the time he handed to Ortelli.
The pair were followed home by their team mates Stephane Daoudi and Cyrille Sauvage in a comfortable 1-2 for the Freisinger team, which is now 8.5 points clear of the JMB Racing Ferrari team that finished third and fourth with their new driver line-ups of Montermini/Alexander and Pescatori/Bertolini
POINTS FOR RWS
Antonio Garcia and Horst Felbermayr Jnr finished fifth in the N-GT class, 13th overall in the nr 76 RWS Porsche 996 GT3-R. Felbermayr started from pole position but was involved in a collision with another car and made a precautionary pit stop as he saw smoke in the car.
Garcia took over the car and allowed Ortelli through to lap the Porsche, but the Spaniard was able to keep the Freisinger Porsche in sight for nearly an hour. "I don't know why we were so far behind," said Garcia. "The car was very good and comfortable."
CIRTEK TAKES SIXTH
Cirtek Motorsport took another point following a great drive by Briton Adam Jones in the nr 62 Porsche 996 GT3R. It was the first point-scoring finish of both Jones and his co-driver Moreno Soli and the pair were delighted. "It was a hard race but it went really well. We found a consistent pace and brought it home," said Jones.
NOTES AND QUOTES
Jamie Campbell-Walter, nr 14 Lister Storm Racing Lister Storm - 1ST in GT: " We had a good race. We were struggling a bit around here and were really surprised by Gollin's pace in qualifying. During the race, we decided not to change tyres after Nicolaus' stint, which gave us a 20 second advantage. At one stage, I was behind Mike Hezemans' car which had a loose rear windscreen. It was quite scary as I thought it would hit my car ! But then it didn't ! After Spa's disappointment, it is good to win a race again and the perspective for the Championship title is good. As for Donington, Lister has won the last 9 races it took part in there and we have been doing a lot of testing there as well !"
Nicolaus Springer, nr 14 Lister Storm Racing Lister Storm - 1st in GT: "I had a new set of tyres for my stint which gave me confidence. I like the circuit here; the last time I came was 5 years ago for the 50th anniversary of Ferrari. This track suits me".
Luca Cappellari, nr 4 Carsport Holland Chrysler Viper GTS-R - 2nd in GT: " We had a very good start and fought with Jamie (Campbell-Walter) and Mike (Hezemans). We did not change the tyres after the first stint and I have to say that it was quite hard to use the same set of tyres for that long around here ! The braking was very hard. Unluckily, Mike had a problem in the pits and therefore, we finished second. The light rain was not a problem as the tyres were very hot. We have had a very good weekend with pole and second position in the race - our best result so far !"
Fabio Babini, nr 12 Paul Belmondo Racing Chrysler Viper GTS-R - 3rd in GT: "We are very happy to be on the podium again after our problems in Spa ! The car was fantastic throughout the three days. I was awarded a stop & go penalty as I hit Piccini's Ferrari while trying to overtake him. That corner was the only possibility and Piccini closed the door^Å"
Marc Duez, nr 12 Paul Belmondo Racing Chrysler Viper GTS-R - 3rd in GT: "It is a strange feeling as we could have been in a better position without the stop & go penalty. Fabio was faster than Piccini and was gaining 15 seconds a lap on him. We could have been better than third^Å"
David Terrien, nr 1 Larbre Competition Chéreau Chrysler Viper - 5th in GT: "I think that we had a good strategy. We decided not to cut the kerbs during the first two hours, but to save the car. With the weight in the car we would break it too easily. We decided not to change tyres for my stint, so I had a hard stint, and it was hard to keep the car going quickly. Then the front-right wheel got stuck and we lost a lot of time in the pits. That cost us a place on the podium because we were not that far behind the Belmondo cars."
Miguel de Castro, nr 15 Lister Storm Racing - 7th in GT : "This was my second race after Spa, and it was very hard. From the moment I took the car over from Bobby, I felt the brake pedal was long. Over the next four or five laps it got worse and worse. I had a spin, and by the end I was just trying to keep it on the track. Bobby had the same problem, and after that, we just concentrated on trying to finish the race.
Andrea Piccini, nr 23 BMS Scuderia Italia Ferrari 550 Maranello - DNF : "As I had qualified so low down after our air-box problems, I had to start behind some N-GT cars, and so I was really lucky that the safety car came out, as I was able to catch up. At the end of my stint I was fifth, which was quite good from 18th on the grid. Jean-Denis did an excellent stint, he was one of the fastest men on the track today. We had to change all our tyres at each stop as we were using a softer compound, so we lost some time in the pit stops. When I took over again, I just had to keep Babini behind me to get third. He was pushing, and he was fast but he couldn't pass me. When we were coming up to the chicane, I was going through it, and he pushed me and I went off. I came in to the pits, and I thought the car was OK, but before the last corner, the suspension broke at high speed, and I hit the barriers. That was it. It was just not our weekend. But there are two races left and we will try to win again."
Stéphane Ortelli, nr 54 Freisinger Motorsport Porsche 996 GT3-R - 1st in N-GT : "As a spectator, I am very happy. Marc (Lieb) did a great job. I just had to drive the car and maintain the lead we had. I had to concentrate a lot not to make any mistakes. With the pressure and the rain, it was not so easy. For the Championship, if the pressure is like this until the end, it will be good for everyone. JMB pushed us a lot both in the qualifying and in the start of the race. Iradj (Alexander) was great at the start of the race and I really enjoy fighting with such good drivers !"
Marc Lieb, nr 54 Freisinger Motorsport Porsche 996 GT3-R - 1st in N-GT : "It was not at all easy today. Our strategy was to push very hard from the start and it was really difficult to keep my concentration with all the chicanes".
Stéphane Daoudi, nr 55 Freisinger Motorsport Porsche 996 GT3-R - 2nd in N-GT : "I am very happy - for myself and also for the team, which now takes the lead in the Championship. I knew we had to do two stops so I had to push very hard. It is the first time I was leading a FIA GT race ! I also have to thank Cyrille (Sauvage) who did a great job. We had no orders from the team, except not to touch each other !"
Cyrille Sauvage , nr 55 Freisinger Motorsport Porsche 996 GT3-R - 2nd in N-GT : "It was a pretty hard race as it was hot and we had a little bit of rain. Also this track is tricky and with the rain, it was even more difficult ! I had a good concentration so I managed to stay second and keep the Ferraris behind".
Andrea Montermini, nr 51 JMB Racing Ferrari 360 Modena - 3rd in N-GT : "It was a good race with many changes. The team did a great job putting together two two-car teams. Iradj also did a great job. It was difficult for me to go faster than the Porsches. The traffic stopped us all through the race and I had to lift the accelerator several times. I knew that this circuit would be difficult for us but I am looking forward to the two last races of the season. We are not giving up!"
Iradj Alexander, nr 51 JMB Racing Ferrari 360 Modena - 3rd in N-GT : "It was the best race of the season for me as it was the first time I had the opportunity to work with a professional driver. The car was also really perfect. We are trying to work in the right direction to improve the car for the last two races of the season".