Sunday 27 March 2011

Race Win for Aston Martin After Action Packed Race

Round 1 – Abu Dhabi

Championship Race

26th March 2011

Race Win for Aston Martin After Action Packed Race

Clivio Piccione and Stef Dusseldorp scored a maiden victory in the Championship Race at Yas Marina after the Hexis AMR team produced a lightening pitstop that leapfrogged the nr3 Aston Martin DB9 from 5th into the lead. Dusseldorp had to soak up immense pressure from former FIA GT2 Champion Richard Westbrook for most of the second half of the race but the 21-year-old former single seat driver didn't put a wheel wrong in his first ever GT race. At the chequered flag the nr22 JR Motorsport Nissan GT-R was less than a second behind to record their second top 3 finish of the weekend. After a rollercoaster weekend the nr Muennnich Motorsport Lamborghini Murcielago of Marc Basseng and Marcus Winklehock finished in 3rd place to record the team's first ever podium finish in the FIA GT1 World Championship.

The race began with the nr41 Marc VDS Racing Team Ford GT of Maxime Martin on pole position, with Peter Dumbreck in the JR Motorsport Nissan alongside on the front row. At the start the Sumo Power Nissan of Enrique Bernoldi shot through from the second row to take the lead at the first corner, with Dumbreck getting into T1 before Martin. Further back Stefan Mucke in the nr8 Young Driver AMR Aston Martin was storming through the field from 15th, ending the opening lap in 8th place.

At the front Dumbreck was pressurising the leading Nissan of Bernoldi, while Martin was close behind the second placed JR Motorsport Nissan. For lap after lap the three cars circulated in formation, each trying to push the other into a mistake. Their battle allowed Winklehock and Piccione to close up to make it a five way battle for the lead as the pitstops approached. On lap 13 Martin finally got past Dumbreck's Nissan at T18 for second place just as the pit window opened.

Bernoldi, Martin, Piccione and Mucke all pitted together. The Sumo Power pitcrew went to work and got their car, with Ricardo Zonta now at the wheel, turned round in quick time. However the Marc VDS crew were even quicker and as the Nissan approached the Ford pit Makowiecki dived out in front but the two cars collided. They rubbed wheels for several metres before the Ford went through the tunnel ahead of the Nissan but Zonta's Nissan was damaged and had to return to the pits for a new tyre. Makowiecki was given a drive through penalty for the incident.

Meanwhile the Hexis pit crew had turned the nr3 car round and when the pitstops finished Stef Dusseldorp found himself leading the race, six seconds ahead of Richard Westbrook in the JR Motorsport Nissan. Westbrook then closed the gap and spent the next 20-minutes trying to pass the flying Dutchman in vain. At the chequered flag it was Dusseldorf and the rest of the Hexis team who celebrated a unexpected but very welcome victory.

Clivio Piccione, Hexis AMR Aston Martin DB9 No. 3

“It’s just an amazing feeling. I have to say a big thank you to the team, they made this win possible today – we had an amazing pit stop, the car has been good all the way through the weekend and it’s just the best start we can have! There was a lot happening at the front, but my aim was to stay as close as possible and out of trouble. Everything went to plan, and we knew we had a good pit stop and then Stef had a great drive at the end and I have to say a big well done to him for his first race in GT!”

Stef Dusseldorp, Hexis AMR Aston Martin DB9 No. 3

“I feel incredible! I have no words to say, except that the team made this possible. We did a great pit stop in the first race and now the team did the same job and out me in first. All I had to do was finish the race, which wasn’t as easy as it sounds because of the Nissan so it feels incredible. I have good memories from Zolder (the next round), so hopefully we can have a repeat performance there!”

Clivio Piccione and Stef Dusseldorf leave the Middle East with a two point advantage in the Championship, while Hexis AMR leads JR Motorsports by 11 points in the Team title race.

Round 2 of the FIA GT1 World Championship will take place in Belgium at Zolder on Sunday 10 April.

Info and Fotos FIA GT1/Acreditated and Autorized Media Press. Fotos DPPI

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