Zhuhai: Russian Age Racing qualifying report

POLE POSITION FOR RUSSIAN AGE RACING ASTON MARTIN DBR9 Christophe Bouchut took his second pole position of the FIA GT Championship season when the Frenchman qualified fastest for the ninth round at Zhuhai, China. Bouchut's time of one minute, ...

POLE POSITION FOR RUSSIAN AGE RACING ASTON MARTIN DBR9

Christophe Bouchut took his second pole position of the FIA GT Championship season when the Frenchman qualified fastest for the ninth round at Zhuhai, China. Bouchut's time of one minute, 30.661s in the Russian Age Racing Aston Martin DBR9 was six tenths of a second clear of the opposition.

It is the first time that the Cirtek Motorsport team has run the Aston Martin in the FIA series, the replacing the Ferrari 550 Maranello which will compete in the final round of the Le Mans Endurance Series in Turkey in three weeks. However, it is not the first experience of the car, having won the Nurburgring 1000kms in September with Robert Bell and Darren Turner. It did not take long for Bouchut, whose first pole of the year was at Magny Cours in April, to get to grips with the new machinery.

"This car is really good, much easier to drive than the Ferrari, but we need more time to get used to it," said the Frenchman. Bouchut's time was quicker than the pole position time set at the Chinese circuit in 2004, and is the first time since Silverstone in May that an Aston Martin DBR9 has taken pole position in the series when David Brabham set fastest time for the factory Aston Martin Racing team.

The pleasure of securing pole position was tempered by an accident in the afternoon qualifying session. Nikolay Fomenko spun and damaged the front of the DBR9 against a wall, though the team will be able to repair the damage before tomorrow's three-hour race. The problem has left fellow Russian driver Alexey Vasiliev with very little running in the car, though both drivers have extensive experience of the track.

The Russian Age Racing team lost time on Friday with gearbox problems, but the team reports that the DBR9 is easier to work on than the Ferrari it has replaced in the series. "It is easier to work on, but we still have a long way to go to learn about the car," confirmed team owner Rob Schirle. "If we had a couple of days testing, that extra knowledge would have helped.

"Christophe says that he made a few mistakes on his pole position lap and could have gone faster but I would expect that. We have no success ballast, only 10kg that the FIA Bureau has awarded to the Aston Martin DBR9, while the Maseratis, for example, have been given 40kg.

The race will take place over three hours, or 500km tomorrow, Sunday 23 October.

-rar-

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About this article
Series Blancpain Sprint
Drivers David Brabham , Darren Turner , Christophe Bouchut , Alexey Vasiliev
Teams Aston Martin Racing