05/10/2008 Peyroles and Ruffier take win and Championship lead

From the depths of despair on Saturday to the heights of elation on Sunday - James Ruffier and Arnaud Peyroles experienced the extremes of emotion at Nogaro. In race nine of the FIA GT3 European Championship, driving the No.1 Martini Callaway Racing Corvette Z.06R GT3,  they were forced out of a podium finish by a problem with the differential - but in race ten, they claimed victory and the overall lead of the Championship.They led home the No.29 AutoGT Racing Morgan Aero 8 GT3 of Johan-Boris Scheier and Gaël Lesoudier, with the No.21 Matech GT Racing Ford GT of Alex Mortimer and Bradley Ellis in third.

 The final podium place was only decided on the final lap when the No.40 Mühlner Motorsport Porsche 997 GT3 Cup S of Vosse and Jirik was barged out of the third place by Luca Pirri, in the No.19 Matech Ford GT he shares with Jürgen von Gartzen; Pirri crossed the line in fifth, ahead of the Porsche and behind the No.8 Hexis Racing Aston Martin DBRS9 of Accary and Mena, but the stewards held him responsible for the incident and handed out a 30-second penalty which dropped them out of the points.

 With the No.5 Kessel Racing Ferrari F430 GT3 of Balbiani and Ricci finishing sixth, that meant there were six different makes of car in the top six places - it also means that Jose Manuel Balbiani is the 2008 Ferrari Cup Champion. By contrast Ian Khan and Thomas Mutsch, the No.20 Matech Ford GT pair who came to Nogaro with a slender points lead, had a disastrous weekend - they were punted out of contention in the first race, and a mechanical problem forced them out of the second race while in second position.

 So Peyroes and Ruffier will head to the final two races of the GT3 Championship, in Dubai at the beginning of December, with an eight-point lead over Khan and Mutsch. Accary and Mena are just one point further back, level on points with Bradley Ellis. Two races, with everything to play for: the FIA GT3 European Championship is set for a grandstand finish.


Report: Race 2 Quotes, Nogaro 2008


Vincent Vosse – No.40 Mühlner Motorsport Porsche 997 GT3 Cup S, 5th: “I managed to hold position during my spell in the car – the Porsche was perfect, no problems with the tyres. The team worked well overnight, because it felt much better than it did yesterday.”

Jaromir Jirik - No.40 Mühlner Motorsport Porsche 997 GT3 Cup S, 5th: “I couldn’t have achieved this result without Vincent – because he was the best! Unfortunately I lost a podium place in the last-lap incident – Pirri just pushed me off the track. He had no room, there was no space there. So I’m pretty unhappy with that, although at the time I didn’t even know I was third!”