FIA GT Championship 15 - 17 May 1998 Silverstone Round Sunday 17 May 1998 - Race _________________________________________________________________ Sunshine and 30.000 spectators ...
FIA GT Championship 15 - 17 May 1998 Silverstone Round Sunday 17 May 1998 - Race _________________________________________________________________ Sunshine and 30.000 spectators Although there were some grey clouds early on, the sky cleared at Silverstone, and everything was in place for a bright, sunny day's racing. 30.000 spectators enjoyed the sunshine and an excellent race. Mini Interview : Ricardo Zonta Zonta, reigning F3000 Champion and Mercedes driver, qualified the #2 car in 4th place yesterday.
We improved a little the car yesterday, and with qualifying tyres did a very good time, I think. Today, Ludwig made a good set-up for the race. Klaus will be in the car for the start, and I will take over after 2 hours.
What about your first victory at Oschersleben ?
I didn't expect that I would do so well. The first hour was very bad, but I kept the tyres very constant for the end of the race. Everyone else was using their tyres up, and mine were fresh.
And the move between F3000 and GT racing ?
It's different because we have lots of technological aides in GT, many people working on the car, many things we can change on the car. I won in F3000 last year, I did my job, and now I need to do my best here. I hope to go to Formula One eventually. I could have gone to F1 this year, but I think I don't have enough experience for Formula One yet. This year I can get very good experience, and learn many things, for maybe F1 next year. Grid Quotes We were fastest in the warm-up with the hardest compound tyres and a full tank. We might try to keep the same front tyres throughout the race, to save some time. Stéphane Ortelli, Roock Porsche We've gone back to the ordinary gearbox, as we were not sure about the reliability of the sequential box for the race. The car is fine. It should give us a good race. Martin Stretton, Konrad Porsche GT2. We have improved the car since yesterday - We will do our best to try and plough through, Müller, Krauss Porsche GT2. It feels good at last, Rob Schirle, Cirtek Ford Saleen. The Start Allan McNish made an excellent start in the #7 Porsche, leading away from the start-line, followed closely by the Panoz. Ludwig, in the #2 Mercedes CLK-GTR, got ahead of the #8 Porsche, while Christophe Bouchut, in the Persson Motorsport Mercedes, made one of his customary starts to put him fifth.
In GT2, Hürtgen, in the #56 Roock Porsche retained their lead, while Cor Euser pulled ahead of the Team Oreca Vipers to take second place in GT2.
The #9 Bitter was given a 20 second penalty for overtaking before the start, before coming into the pits with liquid leaking from the car. Race Summary
Bernd Schneider and Mark Webber took their first win of the 1998 FIA GT Championship at Silverstone today. It was not all plain sailing, however, as it looked early on as if the Porsche cars would dominate ; Allan McNish led convincingly from the start before being forced into retirement. This left David Brabham in the DAMS Panoz to lead the race for the first time in this kind of race. What could have been a fairy-tale result for the small team ended in the gravel as Uwe Alzen pushed through in his Porche. Schneider, who had risen from third after dropping to seventh on the first lap, took advantage of the confusion to slip into the lead - and the thirty-second penalty awarded to Alzen reinforced his advantage, which he was not to lose. Reigning GT1 Champion Schneider therefore regains the lead of the Championship, along with his young Australian team-mate, Webber. Two Porsches completed the podium, with Alzen and Müller ahead of the privateer Zakspeed Porsche of Bartels and Hahne. Oschersleben winners Ludwig and Zonta were fourth, having suffered from minor engine problems, with the second Zakspeed in fifth. Capturing the last of the points was the Davidoff McLaren F1 GTR, driven by Bscher and Lees.
Things were even less clean cut in GT2, where two of the favourites went out early on - Ortelli with engine problems, and Bell with overheating. This left the #51 Viper, driven by Beretta and Lamy, to win the race, in spite of driveshaft problems. With a succession of technical problems and excursions into the gravel decimating the field, Elf Haberthur's #60 Porsche GT2 rose up to take second place on the podium, with the #62 Stadler Porsche driven by Sick and Rohr in third. The Proton Competition line-up of Ried and Vuillaume were fourth, with the two Chamberlain Engineering Vipers both finishing in the points, in spite of fuel pick-up problems which made extra pit-stops necessary.
The Persson Mercedes cars had a relatively disappointing day, with Gounon's car retiring after just six laps. Their #11 Mercedes CLK-GTR of Bouchut and Mayländer went into the gravel with rear bumper damage after contact with Bartels in the Zakspeed Porsche. They went on to finish in 7th position, ahead of the Panoz. Other GT2 casualties include the Marcos, after a storming start, when they lost all gears. The Krauss Race Sports Porsche GT2 was lying 3rd four laps before the end, when slightly too much speed into Luffield put Müller into the gravel and out of the running. Neither Bitter finished, with the #10 car running for 20 laps. Quotes Olivier Beretta, Viper Team Oreca : We had a little problem and lost some oil, so the team called us in and put some extra oil in. Without this decision it would have been difficult to finish the race. We had a little bit of luck, and did a good job. It's nice for the Championship. But now, like everyone, our biggest target is Le Mans. Pedro Lamy, Viper Team Oreca : At that moment, I though we'd lost the race. But we were lucky, because they stopped. I've had worse days, but I've had better days, Hugh Chamberlain, getting both Vipers into the points. Michel Neugarten, Elf Haberthur : The Haberthur team is a very good team, and we are starting with GoodYear now, and we need to work really a lot. I think we can arrive. We have endurance, and the problem is now to make a really good time. Axel Rohr, Stadler Motorsport :It's very great because on Friday, we destroyed our car in an accident with a factory car. I didn't know the size of the gap behind me. I could have taken it easy ! Müller, Krauss Race Sports, losing out on third place in GT2. Mark Webber, AMG Mercedes : It's the first time I've taken over the lead of a GT race. I had to consolidate and not take too many risks. I knew Bernd had a difficult first stint, he managed to come up from seventh to first with some luck, but he drove very well. I managed to maintain, and was quite conservative with traffic. The rest - I was really happy. The Panoz was a little bit too slow. I closed the gap between him and me very quickly, and then I saw Bernd Schneider in the mirrors - he pushed very hard, and I did the same. Uwe Alzen on the accident which took the Panoz out of the lead. Today we had a car able to win - it was just a problem with the penalty, Jörg Müller. We were side by side into the first corner, we had some traffic, we were both trying to brake very late into the corner, but I was on the inside line, and he was trying to come in. I touched him and he spun off. It was a normal race situation Michael Bartels, Zakspeed, on the incident with Bouchut in the Persson Mercedes. It's unexpected, but nice. It was a good race for us, Thomas Bscher, finishing sixth in GT1 in the McLaren F1 GTR.