The Zhuhai International Circuit in China acted as host for the opening round of 2007 FIA GT championship, the only non-European FIA GT round. On Saturday morning at 09.30hrs local time the light turned to green, for the first free practice...
The Zhuhai International Circuit in China acted as host for the opening round of 2007 FIA GT championship, the only non-European FIA GT round. On Saturday morning at 09.30hrs local time the light turned to green, for the first free practice session of this edifying and highly competitive championship. The major change for 2007 is the reduction of the race length from three hours down to two. In addition the duration of the meeting is brought back to two days. A total of 24 cars and 48 drivers were present at the start in China, representing 6 manufacturers and 16 countries. Amongst these Jos Menten and Peter Kox defended the Dutch honours with the Lamborghini Murcielago R-GT emanating from the All-Inkl.com Reiter Lamborghini team. Unfortunately Jos Menten's debut with the Lamborghini Murcielago R-GT did not turn out the way he had hoped.
Variable weather conditions gave all the teams a hard time during the free practice sessions. During the first practice session Jos Menten registered the seventh best time on a drying track. Unfortunately the second was not as successful. An electrical problem at the end of the session resulted in the Sant'Agata bull having to remain in the pit box. The fastest lap times were clocked at the end of the session, whereby the Lambo #8 dropped down in the ranking.
Peter Kox took qualifying for his account and brought the Lamborghini Murcielago R-GT into thirteenth spot, on the seventh row of the grid. "This isn't an ideal starting position", Jos commented. "Today we had trouble in trying to warm up the tyres. But in fact the race is not until tomorrow. And the prizes are only distributed at the end of the race. It's a great pity that we weren't able to show off the car's full potential today. The balance isn't 100% perfect but we do expect to put in a better performance tomorrow..."
At 13.30hrs local time the start signal was given for the season opener of the FIA GT championship. From the start Peter Kox promptly gained a few places and was soon lapping within the top ten. but fifteen minutes into the race the driver from Brabant found himself in a close fought battle with the Barwell Motorsports' Aston Martin. This resulted in the cars coming into contact and the Lambo spinning off the track. It took some time for Kox to extricate himself from the gravel trap and reach the pitlane. Jos Menten took over the relay at the wheel of the Lamborghini and on exiting the pitlane was some three laps down on the leader. During his one hour stint 'The Flying Dutchman' managed to regain nine places. With a mere 45 minutes from the end of the race Menten once again handed over the wheel to Kox. but unfortunately a lengthy Safety-Car appearance put an end to the dramatic climb of Lambo #8. The Lamborghini Murcielago finally took the chequered flag in 12th place.
"A really unfortunate weekend", the driver from Haelen moaned after the race. "Just nothing was going our way. The Lambo was difficult to handle because the suspension's geometry had become damaged after the altercation with the Aston Martin. Let's just hope that we have now had our quota of bad luck. We are heading home with a zero score, but I'm looking forward to the start of the European season at Silverstone! The result of the other Lamborghini seems pretty positive to us. Stefan and Christophe drove a hard race and their strategy worked to perfection, heartiest congratulations to them! Even though it was an unexpected result it will undoubtedly be a source of additional motivation for the entire team. It is an excellent reward for all the hard work put in by everyone at All-Inkl.com Reiter Lamborghini."