19/05/2007 First pole positions for TRACKSPEED Racing and TEAM BERLANGA
At this unusual track, qualifying sessions are more important than anywhere else, as overtaking is difficult. Wet at the beginning, but dry at the end, the conditions were tricky during the first session, where the nr 5 Trackspeed Racing Porsche 997 GT3 Cup driven by Richard Williams set its first pole position. The second session was rather chaotic, with three red flags. Ben Collins was the quickest, but unfortunately Collins had an accident at the end of the session with two other cars. The British driver will probably not take part in the race, as the car is badly damaged.
THE PORSCHE GETS ON WELL IN THE DIFFICULT CONDITIONS
When the weather conditions are tricky, the Porsches have always been present! The track was quite damp at the beginning of the first session, but it was drying up during the rest of the sessions. But from the start, Richard Williams, in the nr 5 Trackspeed Racing Porsche 997 GT3 Cup, was on a good pace, and he was the first driver to put slick tyres on. So of course Williams improved his time. After a nice battle with Erik Janis’ Lamborghini, Williams managed to set pole position, the first of the season for a Porsche, and the first pole position for him and for Trackspeed Racing in the FIA GT3 European Championship. With Jonathan Lang in 3rd position, Tom Ferrier in 4th, and Luc Paillard in 6th, the Porsches managed a great result in this session.
In second position, Erik Janis was happy to be on the first row: “That was our main goal. At such a track you need to be on the first row to expect a good result”. He is in the middle of the Porsches and he will do his best to take the lead at the first corner.
BEN COLLINS ON POLE
For the first time of the season, an Ascari set the fastest time. With two Red Flags, this session was in three different parts, and all the drivers improved in the last minutes. In the nr 33 Team Berlanga Ascari KZ1R GT3, Ben Collins managed to set the fastest time, even if the track was really busy at the end of the session. Unfortunately, after the chequered flag, Ben Collins had an accident with Martin Matzcke, in the nr 12 First Racing Lamborghini, and Jirik Jaromir, in the nr 15 S-Berg Racing Lamborghini. Those drivers were sent to the University Hospital for a check up. The cars were badly damaged, and it will be difficult for them to take part in both races, even with the teams doing their best. So it is possible that the pole setter, Ben Collins, will not take part in the second race of the week-end.
Behind Collins’ Ascari, five different cars were close. James Ruffier, in the nr 19 Riverside Corvette was second, Thomas Mutsch (Ford) third, Stephane Daoudi (Ferrari) fourth, James Pickford (Porsche) fifth and Diego Alessi (Aston Martin) sixth. With Alex Mortimer in 8th position, there were seven different makes in the top 10. The start of this race will be a great moment, as all the drivers know how important the first corner will be.
16/05/2007 FIA GT3 TAKES TO THE STREETS
After an exciting opening round in Silverstone, the FIA GT3 European Championship will be racing in the city for the very first time, in the streets of Bucharest. With the track being new for everybody, all the drivers will be on an equal footing. But there is no room for errors for the grid of over 40 cars expected to take part in the two races, which look like being even closer than usual.
« No-one has ever driven in Bucharest, so it’s even more open than usual, » commented Diego Alessi. After the first two races, in Silverstone, two drivers stood out from the rest : Henri Moser and Gilles Vannelet, sharing the nr 38 Ferrari 430 GT3 entered by Loris Kessel Racing. After two wins from two races, Moser and Vannelet are firmly in charge, but they will be under pressure on an unforgiving track like Bucharest. But they must surely remain the favourites for the event. Not according to Gilles Vannelet : « There are some weekends where everything goes perfectly, for no particular reason. We’ll have to see what happens in Bucharest, but there is no pressure on us. We especially do not want to be labeled as the favourites.”
And the Ferrari 430 cars will have plenty of competition, starting with the
Hexis Racing and BMS Scuderia Italia Aston Martin DBRS9 cars, and the S-Berg and
First Racing Lamborghini Gallardo, all of which were extremely competitive in
Silverstone. The Czech duo of Erik Janis and Jaromir Jirik should be
closely watched, as, not too far from home, they will be keen to do well. But on
this technical circuit, the Porsche 997 GT3 Cup, Ascari KZ1R GT3 and Dodge Viper
cars should be watched carefully. After the fast corners of Silverstone, the
slower Bucharest circuit should redistribute the cards…
The Corvette Z06R GT3 cars entered by Riverside and Martini Callaway Racing could also be well worth watching ; the cars already showed some of their potential at Silverstone, and the Corvette is always very much at ease on winding tracks.
After a remarkable debut, with most notably a pole position for Romain Bera, the Ford GT and Ford Mustang FR500 GT cars will take a step into the unknown in the streets of Bucharest, as these new cars will be trying a street circuit for the first time. Last but not least, Bucharest should see the Morgan Aero take to the track for the first time.The unusual British-built car, entered by a French team, is sure to be one of the attractions of the meeting. Which team will shine in the streets of Bucharest ? Which FIA GT3 European Championship drivers will win the first-ever city race ? Who can beat Moser and Vannelet ? One thing is certain : the two FIA GT3 European Championship races, which will actually last one hour and one minute in order to allow 46 cars to race, will be both close and spectacular !