Friday 21 September 2012

FIA GT1: Vita4One BMW sets the early pace at Nürburgring

Vita4One BMW sets the early pace at Nürburgring

Michael Bartels (DEU) and Yelmer Burrman (NLD), the drivers’ championship leaders, set the early pace on the penultimate round of the FIA GT1 World Championship at Nürburgring.

The Vita4One BMW put the disappointment of the previous round in Russia behind them to produce a best lap time of 1:56.068 over the two Free Practice sessions in overcast conditions in the Eifel mountains of Germany.

Second fastest overall was the Hexis McLaren of Fred Makowiecki (FRA) and Stef Dusseldorp (NLD) with a 1:56.239 with the sister McLaren of Alvaro Parente (PRT) and Gregoire Demoustier (FRA) third in 1:56.444.

Dusseldorp, who partnered Makowiecki to victory in the Championship Race in Russia, to put the pair into contention for the drivers’ championship, was pleased with the team’s efforts at the daunting Nürburgring circuit.

“Today was not too bad. I was quite happy with the second session but we still have to improve the car. It is looking quite competitive, everything is quite close so we’ll see tomorrow how we are placed in Qualifying but it was quite a good start for us today,” he said.

“It is important for us to score more points than the BMW and the Mercedes. Right now the BMW is quickest so we need to improve.”

The Reiter Engineering Lamborghinis, which missed the Russian round, were quickly on the pace in Germany. Peter Kox (NLD) and Stefan Rosina (SVK) setting the fourth fastest lap time of 1:56.547.

The closest challengers to Bartels and Buurman in the drivers’ point chase, German pair Marc Basseng and Markus Winkelhock in the No.38 Münnich Motorsport Mercedes were in a lowly ninth place overall. “We struggled a bit with new tyres today. The balance is not quite there. It’s OK on the used tyres, so we need to find better grip,” Winkelhock admitted.

“We still have some time to work on the balance ahead of Qualifying so we will see.” Münnich Motorsport founder and team owner René Münnich has set the Saxony outfit clear objectives in the remaining two rounds, here at Nürburgring and at the final round at Donington Park, England next weekend - 29–30 September.

“Our goal is set: We want to get both titles,” he said. “The Nürburgring should fit our Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG GT3 very well.

“We hope to extend our advantage in the team championship. And it would be very important for Marc and Markus to take the lead of the drivers’ ranking here.”

Basseng and Winkelhock are returning to the scene of one of their greatest successes highly motivated. The duo won the 24-hour race on the Nürburgring this year and they know this track with its changing weather conditions in the Eifel from numerous appearances in other series.

“Of course, this is an extra motivation to get the best possible results on this very beautiful track. We will give everything we can to get on the top of the podium. We want to set the cornerstone for the championship titles here,” Basseng said.

Tomorrow’s Qualifying session starts at 09:55 local time followed by the Qualifying Race at 14.05.

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Cameron Kelleher

Head of Communications
SRO Motorsports Group

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