Preview Rounds 9 & 10
15 August 2011
New Frontiers for FIA GT3
After four events in Portugal, Great Britain, Spain and France supporting the GT1 World Championship, the FIA GT3 European Championship now heads to a new country and a new challenge for the next two one-hour races, when it will be the headline series at the Admiral GT3 Racing Weekend in Slovakia this weekend (19-21 August 2011).
It will be the first time that the FIA GT3 European Championship has raced at the new Slovakia Ring circuit, although the championship has visited Brno in the neighbouring Czech Republic twice before (2007 and 2010).
The 5.9km Slovakia Ring circuit, which is located 40km from Bratislava, was opened in 2008. As well as the FIA GT3 European Championship the circuit will also host rounds of the Central European Zone Championship, the Radical European Cup and Formula D2 and D3 this weekend.
Championship leaders Francesco Castellacci and Federico Leo (79 points) [nr50 AF Corse Ferrari 458 Italia] hold a slender 4-point advantage over Enzo Ide and Greg Franchi (75 points) [nr33 Belgian Audi Club Team WRT Audi R8], with Edward Sandström and Abdulaziz Al Faisal (73 points) [nr6 Need for Speed Team Schubert BMW Z4] just 2 points behind the Audi pairing. With 100 points on offer over the next two events, the championship is still wide open.
In the Team Championship, it is an all-BMW Z4 affair at the top of the table with Need for Speed Team Schubert (126 points) holding a 5-point lead over Faster Racing by DB Motorsport (121 points). However, AF Corse (97 points), Belgian Audi Club Team WRT (88 points) and Graff Racing (85 points) are all within striking distance of the leaders and it could all change once again this weekend in Slovakia.
Slovakia is represented by four drivers for the first ever FIA GT3 event in their country with Anton Kiaba and Stefan Rosina racing with Reiter Engineering, taking the wheel of the nr25 Lamborghini Gallardo LP600. Jirko Malcharek will join French driver Didier Andre in the nr32 Belgian Audi Club Team WRT Audi R8, while Filip Sladecka will race with Patrick Hirsch in the nr45 HEICO Motorsport Mercedes Benz SLS AMG.
The Czech Republic is also well represented this weekend, with the Gravity Charouz Racing team hoping for success with their pair of Mercedes-Benz SLS AMGs on their neighbour’s premier race circuit. Jarek Janis will once again join Russian Leo Machitski in the nr11 car, while the nr12 Mercedes is an all-Czech line up with Jan Stovicek and Jakub Knoll sharing the driving duties.
Track action begins on Friday 19th August with Free Practice, while Qualifying and Round 9 of the 2011 FIA GT3 European Championship take place on Saturday 20th at 09:30 and 14:45 (local time) respectively. Round 10 takes place on Sunday 21st August and is due to start at 11:15.
Useful links and documents
CLICK HERE for the provisional entry list
CLICK HERE for the provisional event timetable
CLICK HERE for the championship positions after Round 8
CLICK HERE for the Media Information Document for Slovakia Ring
CLICK HERE for a map of the Slovakia Ring circuit
Last Time at Paul Ricard
In the previous event at Paul Ricard last month, Round 5 winners Albert von Thurn und Taxis and Nikolaus Mayr-Melnhof scored their second win of the 2011 season in emphatic style with a lights-to-flag victory. Von Thurn und Taxis, starting from pole position in the nr24 Reiter Engineering Lamborghini Gallardo, led the 28 car grid into the first corner and opened up a 10-second gap over the following cars by the time the pit stop window opened. The nr24 Lamborghini was the last to pit; Mayr-Melnhof took over the driving duties and held the lead until the chequered flag. Second place went to the nr50 AF Corse Ferrari 458 of Leo and Castellacci. Despite pressure from the nr1 Prospeed Porsche of Paul van Splunteren, Leo handed over the car in 2nd place, with Castellacci bringing the car home for their third podium finish and the lead of the FIA GT3 Drivers Championship. The final podium place went to the nr15 Sainteloc Racing Audi R8 LMS of Dino Lunardi and Jerome Demay. Demay made up seven places on the opening lap from 13th on the grid and handed the Audi to Lunardi in 4th place and a penalty for the nr1 Porsche for a pit stop infringement gave Lunardi the final podium position.
In Round 8, reigning FIA GT3 Team Champions Prospeed Competition returned to the top step of the podium. Maxime Soulet, starting from 4th on the grid, got a good start and handed over the Porsche in 2nd place to Paul Van Splunteren. The Dutch driver caught and passed the leading LMP Motorsport Aston Martin DBRS9 of Gael Lesoudier to take the team’s first podium finish in 2011. Maxime Martin and Gael Lesoudier scored their third podium finish of the year after leading for most of the 27 lap race. The nr33 Belgian Audi Club Team WRT Audi R8 of Greg Franchi and Enzo Ide was a distant 3rd after Franchi sliced through the field at the start after qualifying in 14th place. Ide took control of the Audi and brought the car home for the third podium finish of the season.
There will be live television coverage of every round of the FIA GT3 European Championship in many parts of the world, with a full rundown of the TV channels on the official championship website, www.gt3europe.com, where the races will also be streamed live and the latest championship news, results and other information will be available immediately after each race.
Background to the FIA GT3 European Championship
The 2011 FIA GT3 European Championship takes place over six double-header events across Europe, starting in Portugal on the 7/8 May at the Autodromo do Algarve. The first four events were held with the FIA GT1 World Championship before continuing the season as the headline series in Slovakia, which replaces the event that was due to be held in Russia, and at the season finale at Zandvoort in the Netherlands in October. As well as competing against some of the best up-and- coming sportscar drivers in the world, the overall champions will join a very elite group of European title holders, with Michelin also providing a €150,000 award to move up to the FIA GT1 World Championship in 2012.
2011 FIA GT3 European Championship
For more information on the Slovakia Ring visit http://www.slovakiaring.sk
Monday, 15 August 2011
Preview Rounds 9 & 10 Slovakia Ring 15 August 2011 New Frontiers for FIA GT3
Posted by AmigosRacing/MRS GT. at 17:04
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