Friday 28 October 2011

FIA GT1: GT Racing's Ultimate Prize on Offer in Argentina

GT Racing's Ultimate Prize on Offer in Argentina

 After nearly seven months of some of the best motorsport action around – in the Middle East, Europe and Asia – the identity of the 2011 FIA GT1 World Champions will only become clear after the final two 60-minute races at the Potrero de los Funes circuit in Argentina. Ten drivers and four teams all still have a chance of being crowned World Champions this weekend at the end of an exciting season that has seen victories for Aston Martin, Ford, Lamborghini and Nissan.
In December 2010 San Luis also hosted the season finale at the end of the first year of the brand new FIA GT1 World Championship. The two Hexis AMR Aston Martin DB9s proved to be unstoppable, with Frederic Makowiecki and Yann Clairay taking the win in both the Qualifying and Championship Races.  However it was Michael Bartels and Andrea Bertolini who scored enough points to become the inaugural FIA GT1 Drivers’ Champions with their Vitaphone Racing Team securing the teams’ title.
Now, at the end of the second season, the all-German pairing of Michael Krumm and Lucas Luhr, in the nr23 JRM Racing Nissan GT-R, are currently leading the Drivers’ Championship, holding an 11-point lead over their nearest rivals. Four wins, including three Championship Race victories, makes them the most successful driver pairing this year, but with a maximum of 33 points available from the final two races they will be far from complacent when they line up on the grid for the season finale.
Britain’s Darren Turner and Germany’s Stefan Mücke are currently holding second place in the nr8 Young Driver AMR Aston Martin DB9. Turner and Mücke enjoyed a very successful weekend in Beijing, taking a win and second place in the last round in early September. 
Markus Winkelhock and Marc Basseng are in third place, 30 points behind Krumm and Luhr. The nr38 Münnich Motorsport Lamborghini Murcielago has won on three occasions this year, including a double win in Belgium during the early stages of the season. The former championship leaders haven’t had the best of luck in the last few races, leaving China with only four points to show for their efforts. However the team have shown their determination this year and they will fight all the way to the final chequered flag in their effort to become the 2011 World Champions.
Christian Hohenadel and Andrea Piccini are tied with Basseng and Winkelhock on 101 points, but are ranked fourth due to the podium countback rule. They won Round Four in Germany last May and the nr4 Hexis AMR Aston Martin could be a force to be reckoned with after the Hexis team finished first and third in San Luis last year.
Tomas Enge and Alex Müller are the final pair of drivers who are still in contention for the drivers’ title. Currently on 100 points, they arrive in Argentina on the back of a very successful weekend in China for the Young Driver AMR team, completing a one-two in each of the Beijing races with their teammates Turner and Mücke. This has put the Young Driver AMR team at the head of the Teams’ Championship table on 224 points, and another strong performance in Argentina could mean the German team being crowned 2011 Team World Champions.
JRM, on 216 points and eight points behind Young Driver, are the nearest rivals for the teams’ title. However, with a maximum of 57 points available, Hexis AMR, on 195 points, and Münnich Motorsport, on 182 points, also have a mathematical chance of securing the top spot after the final event of the year.
While out of the running for the world title, the Ford and Corvette teams are still forces to be reckoned with in Argentina. Last year’s race winners Frederic Makowiecki and Yann Clairay have both switched to Ford for 2011, with ‘Mako’ taking a double win at Ordos in China with Belgian driver Maxime Martin.
Corvette is the only manufacturer which has not won a race in 2011 but some strong performances this season could mean Exim Bank Team China could finish on a high note. French driver Michael Rossi scored his best championship finish in Beijing and will be looking for a podium finish in Argentina to complete his first season in the World Championship in some style.

Jeff Carter/Media Press Delegate.

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