Spa: Series race report

Reiter Lamborghini takes the spoils The Reiter Lamborghini No.25 of Ricardo Zonta and Frank Kechele won a thrilling Championship Race at Spa. Starting from second on the grid, the Brazilian/German pair ran at the front throughout the hour-long...

Reiter Lamborghini takes the spoils

The Reiter Lamborghini No.25 of Ricardo Zonta and Frank Kechele won a thrilling Championship Race at Spa.

Starting from second on the grid, the Brazilian/German pair ran at the front throughout the hour-long main event to claim Lamborghini's first Championship Race win of the season.

Altfrid Heger and Alex Muller produced a stunning drive from 12th place in the Triple H Maserati No.33 to finish second. It was a major turnaround for the pair after starting last in the Qualifying Race the previous day.

FIA GT1 newcomer Richard Westbrook made an instant impact by claiming third with partner Thomas Mutsch in the Matech Ford GT No.5.

The Qualifying Race-winning Mad Croc-Corvette No.11 of Xavier Maassen and Jos Menten, which had led the main event from pole, retired after 20 minutes with a right rear puncture.

The Reiter Lamborghin No.24 of Peter Kox and Christopher Haase, which was also running strongly in the lead pack after the pit stops, retired with 18 minutes left.

Hans Reiter: 'It was a long time coming'

Reiter Engineering team boss Hans Reiter, soaked in champagne, revelled in the team's first win in 11 years of FIA GT racing and the first for Lamborghini in the 2010 season.

"Is was a great victory and it has been a long time coming," he said. "We've never had the budget to do a full season before and it feels really good.

"Ricardo's pit stop was a disaster, but he managed to get out and win. We still have a lot to learn. When you look at the likes of Vitaphone (Maserati) who have been doing it so profesionally for so many yeatrs, you realise that we must get better.

"We had the fastest car out there today, and the thing that feels best about it is that it wasn't luck."

In a reference to the Reiter No.24 Lamborghini of Peter Kox and Christopher Haase, which started seventh and led the race at one point before retiring from third place towards the end, he added: "The first pit stop with Peter's car was fantastic, perfect, he drove brilliiantly all weekend. He must be the most unlucky guy here today."

Spa Championship Race: What the drivers say ...

Ricardo Zonta, Reiter Lamborghini No.25

"It's great to be back in this championship, especially winning. It's a great feeling. I was talking to Hans (Reiter) and he said that this victory is so important for the team. I feel very connected with the team now, I think after this win now that it will get better.

"My start was very good, when I saw green I just went. I was happy with the first few laps as I knew that the other (Mad-Croc No.11) car had new tyres and I pushed hard as I had to keep my pace. So at the end of my stint I had a little problem with the balance, so we decided to stop early because of that. Frank drove brilliantly and then we won."

Frank Kechele, Reiter Lamborghini No.25

"When I came out of the pits and saw the Ford (No.5) in front, the first information that I got was that I shouldn't attack him because he's one lap down. I wasn't sure as I saw the ranking and that he was top 10 and thought that he might be in front of us.

"At Eau Rouge there was a yellow flag, and then no green afterwards so I didn't know if I could overtake him, so I didn't take the risk to get a penalty and just stayed beside him. Then there was a safety car which was a bit lucky. I didn't know how the tyres would last but in the end they lasted really good."

Altfrid Heger, Triple H Maserati No.33

"I'd like to congratulate Hans (Reiter) and his team. It's good for the championship to have another manufacturer win. Yesterday in the Qualifying Race we started last and overtook 11 cars, and we overtook 11 cars today. Maybe it is unnecessary for us to do any practice anymore. We finished on the podium because our car was running really consistently."

Alex Muller, Triple H Maserati No.33

"The car was very very consistent, the tyre degredation is the most important point of this championship. You just have four sets, two free practice sessions, a warm up and two races. Our advantage was that we just did a few laps in first Qualifying so we still had two new sets. My engineer called me a said 'you are the fastest car on the track' that helped a lot. In the races we were lucky as well, but in racing you need luck."

Richard Westbrook, Matech Ford GT No.5

"Yes, no cigar at the end but still but third place, I didnt expect it at all. It's a bit of a surprise as I don't think that it is a track for the Fords, we lose a lot on the straights. I had a lot of fun, it's really enjoyable.

"The racing is very hard but very fair and I actually like the tyre situation, the fact that they go off so much. You have to change your driving style from one way with the new tyres and one way for when they go off. I think that it's good for the spectators. That's been the biggest thing to learn. It's a good start and something to build on."

Thomas Mutsch, Matech Ford GT No.5

"Richard made a really good start to the weekend and got used very very quickly to our car. He did an incredible job in his stint. I'm looking forward to the next races."

Spa Championship Race: Further driver reaction ...

Enrique Bernoldi, Vitaphone Racing Maserati No.2

"My race was OK - I started 11th on the grid and made some good progress and was racing close up front. We had a disastrous race yesterday in the Qualifying Race so it was good to make some way back up but really we should have been on the podium in today's Championship Race. That is why I am very frustrated. We now look ahead to the Nurburgring and we hope for better there."

Michael Bartels, Vitaphone Racing Maserati No.1

"We came front behind today to finish in seventh place. We scored some points which is always good but it was a very difficult weekend for us. We won at Paul Ricard last time out so we had some weight ballast put on the car here this weekend so we couldn't fight for the victory - maybe a podium could have been in reach."

Darren Turner, Young Driver Aston Martin No.7

"The race went OK but obviously the Qualifying Race didn't go so well where we ended up 11th and then got promoted up to 10th on the grid. Thomas made a cautious start and lost a few places at turn one. But the team did a great stop as usual and made some places back. We didn't have the fast car but it was good to come away from here with some points."

Nicky Pastorelli, All-Inkl Munnich Motorsport Lamborghini No.38

"The speed of our car was really good, as was the first part of our race. We lost some time and places in the pit stop so for the second part of the race we had to start all over again. We couldn't really do much from there. Overall I am happy that we have the speed and the car is consistent so we hope to get in the top five for the next race."

-source: gt1 world

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About this article
Series Blancpain Sprint
Drivers Enrique Bernoldi , Ricardo Zonta , Darren Turner , Michael Bartels , Peter Kox , Nicky Pastorelli , Xavier Maassen , Jos Menten , Altfrid Heger , Richard Westbrook , Thomas Mutsch , Christopher Haase , Frank Kechele , Alexander Muller
Teams Münnich Motorsport , Reiter Engineering