Sunday 10 April 2011

All-Inkl Lamborghini Claims Maximum Points in Belgium

All-Inkl Lamborghini Claims Maximum Points in Belgium

Markus Winkelhock and Marc Basseng made it a perfect weekend for the Muennich Motorsport team with a lights to flag victory in the Championship Race during Round 2 of the FIA GT1 World Championship at Zolder in Belgium. Winkelhock brought the Lamborghini home nearly 10-seconds ahead of his nearest rival, Andrea Piccini in the Hexis AMR Aston Martin DB9. The Italian was put in a race winning position after another lightening pitstop by the Hexis team which enabled the Aston Martin to move from 9th to 2nd. Piccini held off an early challenge by Tomas Enge in the Young Driver Aston Martin, who in turn had to defend from Nicky Catsburg in the Exim Bank Team China Corvette. Catsburg was caught and passed right on the line by the charging Karl Wendlinger, who secured 4th place and the Swiss Racing Team's best finish in the FIA GT1 World Championship.

A torrid start saw a collision between the two Sumo Power GT Nissan GT-Rs which was triggered by the DKR Engineering Corvette No.47. In fact it was a trying day for the Nissan quartet with only the No.23 JRM car finishing the race. The No.37 Lamborghini of Dominik Schwäger and Nicky Pastorelli, which had set pole in Abu Dhabi, was also an early casualty, while the No. 6 Lamborghini of Jiri Janak and Max Nilsson wasn't able to start the race due to an oil pump problem.

As the field came through the first lap it was the No. 38 Lamborghini in the lead from the No. 11 Exim Bank Team China Corvette of Mike Hezemans and Nicky Catsburg.

The field remained tightly bunched however with less than four seconds covering the top eight after five laps, and the order condensed further three laps later when the Safety Car came out. Peter Dumbreck had dived down the inside of the No.40 Marc VDS Ford GT and looked to have the line, but spun as the Ford refused to cede ground and was collected by the helpless No. 9 Belgian Racing Ford GT - the resulting damage causing a lengthy Safety Car spell.

With the race resuming just one lap before the pit lane window opened, pit stops were crucial and Hexis again pulled off a superb stop to help the No. 4 Aston Martin of Andrea Piccini and Christian Hohenadel vault from ninth to second.

All-Inkl matched Hexis' superb 49-second stop however, and the No. 38 Murcielago emerged with a healthy lead which it proceeded to build in the closing stages, eventually coming nine seconds clear to give the team its second consecutive victory in Zolder.

The No.11 Corvette had been second after the pit stops but was picked off firstly by the No.4 Hexis car and then by its sister No.7 Young Driver Aston Martin - with the two DB9s rounding out the podium.

The Corvette tried to respond and exerted huge pressure on the Aston, only to fade badly in the closing stages and fall into the clutches of the No. 5 Swiss Racing Lamborghini - which claimed fourth on the run down to the chequered flag, 0.025s ahead of Catsburg in the Corvette.

Hexis' No. 3 DB9 claimed sixth ahead of Darren Turner and Stefan Mücke in the No.8 Young Driver Aston Martin, which had to work extremely hard to keep the No.41 Marc VDS Ford GT of Frederic Makowiecki and Maxime Martin at bay.

Michael Krumm and Lucas Luhr were the top Nissan pairing in the No.23 JRM GT in ninth, with the No. 40 and No.10 Ford GTs rounding out the finishers.

Coming out of Zolder, Marc Basseng and Markus Winkelhock lead the Drivers' Standings on 49 points ahead of Stef Dusseldorp and Clivio Piccione on 36 points, while the Hexis Aston Martin squad lead All-Inkl in the Team's Standings by 66 points to 49.

GT1 World next heads to Portimao, Portugal, in four weekends' time for the third round of the 2011 championship.

Marc Basseng, Münnich Motorsport Lamborghini No.38

“It’s been an incredible, amazing weekend – I didn’t believe it was possible! Thanks to the tam, the car and everybody who did the best possible job this weekend. We set up the car even better for the Championship Race than the Qualifying Race, and it was just great! Of course as a team manager I am happy we won but it’s not good that (the No. 37 Lamborghini) had a problem - we need both cars in the points for the team championship. It’s good for us to be leading the Drivers’ Standings though – everybody has to chase us and I like it that way.”

Markus Winkelhock, Münnich Motorsport Lamborghini No.38

“It was easy actually. First of all the pit stop was good, the car was just great and the balance was in the car after the first few laps. It couldn’t have been much better than yesterday, but even at the end I was able to attack and get good lap times. I’m so happy, I think we definitely took the maximum out of the weekend. For sure it won’t be easy next weekend with so much ballast, and I have never driven at Portimao, but hopefully we can be strong again.”

Christian Hohenadel, Hexis Aston Martin Racing No. 4

“It was not a bad race, although it was a difficult start because there was a mess in the first corner and then I made a mistake on the third or fourth lap when I put in the speed limiter on the pit straight and lost two or three places. Luckily there was a safety car which brought us back into the pack, and we know the team do a perfect job in the pits and they brought us out nearly in the lead. Credit to my team-mate of course, but I think the team did the best job today!”

Andrea Piccini, Hexis Aston Martin Racing No. 4

“The pit stop was the key of the race for us, because the guys again did an excellent job. At the moment it looks like we have an advantage here, but its because all the team train many times a week to be so good and they are always thinking about strategy – they are really, really good like that. When I got out I tried to keep in touch with the Lamborghini but it was not possible – I think they showed they’re the quickest car at the moment, but we’re in contention in the Drivers’ Standings and the team is leading, which is important.”

Tomas Enge, Young Driver Aston Martin Racing No. 7

“The race was not easy, it reminded me of Portimao last year when I was P2 after the pit stop and slid down to P10. Luckily it did not happen this time, as I was trying to save the tyres much more and it paid dividends at the end. We had a pretty good pit stop and I was able to overtake the Corvette on my out lap. Third is a great result for the whole team, we scored points and we go to the next race without too much weight ballast so we will try and keep going like this.”

Alex Muller, Young Driver Aston Martin Racing No. 7

“The start was okay, it was quite tight at the first turn but we managed to get through it. Apart from that it was a clean race, when the Safety Car came out it blocked everybody up but in the end I started third and finished third so we scored important points. Now we look forward to Portimao and another podium maybe!”

Ricardo Zonta, Sumo Power Nissan GT-R No.20

“It has been a bad weekend for us. We had a puncture in the Qualifying Race yesterday which ruined our race. Today at the start, the Corvette (No.47) hit me so hard in the main straight it spun me round and I ran into the other (Sumo) Nissan. Another race over. It's difficult to take."

Peter Dumbreck, JR Motorsports Nissan GT-R No.22

“It was a daft start. I managed to keep good control at the start. I was very careful and conceded position to slower cars - better safe than sorry. In my eyes I was fully alongside of him (the Marc VDS Ford GT No.40) I saw him turn in and I tried to get out of it. I get collected, he spun me around and we are out of the race.”

Mike Hezemans, Exim Bank Team China Corvette No.11

“It’s a pity that we lost one place in the pit stop because I think we could have been as high as third today. We know that with the Corvettes there is so much rear tyre wear in the last five or six minutes so it is a struggle for us. The racing is very competitive just the two All-Inkl cars seem to be a bit ahead at the moment but I’m happy with the car, the team is coming together and it’s going well so far.”

Milos Pavlovic, Belgian Racing Ford GT No.10

“I am really enjoying being involved in the championship, it’s great to be part of a world championship. It was not such a good weekend for us but we are a new team and we are learning all the time. We are looking forward to the next race in Portugal.”

Peter Kox, Swiss Racing Team Lamborghini No.5

“This is a great result for the team. We have done four races now and we don’t have a scratch on the car which makes a nice change from last year. I am sure we can get better and challenge for the podium or even a win soon. I was pushing Nicky Catsburg (Corvette No.11) a bit at the end and waiting for the chance to take him. I could see that he was struggling a little bit with traction. So I saw my chance and made the pass. It was a good clean fight and I enjoyed the race a lot.”

Fred Makowiecki, Marc VDS Ford GT No.41

“We are suffering due to lack of power. I feel that the balance of performance is hurting us. Basically we have the same package as last year but we can’t run at any good pace on the straights. We just don’t have the straight line speed. It makes overtaking very difficult for us. We go to the next race but we will still have the same issues.

Info and Fotos: FIA GT1/for acreditated and autorized media press.

No comments:

Post a Comment