Regenschlacht ... PK Carsport and AF Corse Victorious in Rain-Hit Oschersleben Race


The Start

The Start

The Start

The Start

The Start

The Start

The Start

The Start

Adam LACKO (CZE) - Mario DOMINGUEZ (MEX) _ SALEEN S7R GT1 N18 team K PLUS K

Adam LACKO (CZE) - Mario DOMINGUEZ (MEX) _ SALEEN S7R GT1 N18 team K PLUS K

Mike HEZEMANS (NED) - Anthony KUMPEN (BEL) _ CORVETTE C6R GT1 N4 team PK CARSPORT

Mike HEZEMANS (NED) - Anthony KUMPEN (BEL) _ CORVETTE C6R GT1 N4 team PK CARSPORT

Miguel RAMOS (POR) - Alex MULLER (GER) _ MASERATI MC12 GT1 N2 team VITAPHONE RACING

Miguel RAMOS (POR) - Alex MULLER (GER) _ MASERATI MC12 GT1 N2 team VITAPHONE RACING

Toni VILANDER (FIN) - Gianmaria BRUNI (ITA) _ FERRARI F430 GT2 N50 team AF CORSE

Toni VILANDER (FIN) - Gianmaria BRUNI (ITA) _ FERRARI F430 GT2 N50 team AF CORSE

Mike HEZEMANS (NED) - Anthony KUMPEN (BEL) _ CORVETTE C6R GT1 N4 team PK CARSPORT

Mike HEZEMANS (NED) - Anthony KUMPEN (BEL) _ CORVETTE C6R GT1 N4 team PK CARSPORT

Thomas MUTSCH (GER) - Marc HENNERICI (GER) _ FORD GT GT1 N44 team MATECH GT RACING

Thomas MUTSCH (GER) - Marc HENNERICI (GER) _ FORD GT GT1 N44 team MATECH GT RACING

Frederic MAKOWIECKI (FRA) - Stefan MUCKE (GER) _ ASTON MARTIN V8 VANTAGE GT2 N80 team

Frederic MAKOWIECKI (FRA) - Stefan MUCKE (GER) _ ASTON MARTIN V8 VANTAGE GT2 N80 team

Bert LONGIN (BEL) - James RUFFIER (FRA) _ CORVETTE C6R GT1 N3 team SELLESLAGH RACING

Bert LONGIN (BEL) - James RUFFIER (FRA) _ CORVETTE C6R GT1 N3 team SELLESLAGH RACING

Bas LEINDERS (BEL) - Renaud KUPPENS (BEL) _ FORD GT GT1 N40 team VDS RACING

Bas LEINDERS (BEL) - Renaud KUPPENS (BEL) _ FORD GT GT1 N40 team VDS RACING

Michael BARTELS (GER) - Andrea BERTOLINI (ITA) _ MASERATI MC12 GT1 N1 team VITAPHONE RACING

Michael BARTELS (GER) - Andrea BERTOLINI (ITA) _ MASERATI MC12 GT1 N1 team VITAPHONE RACING

Xavier MAASSEN (NED) - Thomas BIAGI (ITA) _ CORVETTE C6R GT1 N19 team LUC ALPHAND AVENTURES

Xavier MAASSEN (NED) - Thomas BIAGI (ITA) _ CORVETTE C6R GT1 N19 team LUC ALPHAND AVENTURES

Mike HEZEMANS (NED) - Anthony KUMPEN (BEL) _ CORVETTE C6R GT1 N4 team PK CARSPORT

Mike HEZEMANS (NED) - Anthony KUMPEN (BEL) _ CORVETTE C6R GT1 N4 team PK CARSPORT

Karl WENDLINGER (AUT) - Ryan SHARP (GBR) _ SALEEN S7R GT1 N14 team K PLUS K

Karl WENDLINGER (AUT) - Ryan SHARP (GBR) _ SALEEN S7R GT1 N14 team K PLUS K

Mike HEZEMANS (NED) - Anthony KUMPEN (BEL) _ CORVETTE C6R GT1 N4 team PK CARSPORT

Mike HEZEMANS (NED) - Anthony KUMPEN (BEL) _ CORVETTE C6R GT1 N4 team PK CARSPORT

Michael BARTELS (GER) - Andrea BERTOLINI (ITA) _ MASERATI MC12 GT1 N1 team VITAPHONE RACING

Michael BARTELS (GER) - Andrea BERTOLINI (ITA) _ MASERATI MC12 GT1 N1 team VITAPHONE RACING

Mike HEZEMANS (NED) - Anthony KUMPEN (BEL) _ CORVETTE C6R GT1 N4 team PK CARSPORT

Mike HEZEMANS (NED) - Anthony KUMPEN (BEL) _ CORVETTE C6R GT1 N4 team PK CARSPORT

 

Oscherleben, 21 June, 2009

For its tenth visit to the Motorsport Arena Oschersleben, the FIA GT Championship had an incident packed two-hour race, thanks to a rain-shower which started around 20 minutes into the race, growing steadily heavier.  With conditions becoming exceedingly tricky, there were plenty of spins and trips into the gravel although only five cars were not classified.  With 32,000 spectators turning up for the regular June visit of the GT cars to northern Germany, they were treated to a fine win from PK Carsports Corvette C6R of Kumpen and Hezemans, ahead of the two Vitaphone Maserati MC 12 cars.  From the three races this year, three different makes of car have claimed wins.  As for the GT2 category,  AF Corse, victorious at this circuit in 2007 and 2008,  made it three in a row, with reigning Champions Bruni and Vilander taking their first victory of the season in their Ferrari 430 GT2.  Sharing the podium with the nr 61 Prospeed Competition Porsche and the Hexis Racing AMRs Aston Martin V8 Vantage, this gave the GT2 category  the rare sight of three different makes on the podium.  After double winners Collard and Westbrook failed to finish, the GT2 category is once again looking extremely close.

KUMPEN AND HEZEMANS SINGING IN THE RAIN

 That was a really easy win we had a trouble-free race, Mike Hezemans said after bringing his Corvette C6R across the finish line to take his 13th FIA GT Championship win.  Despite qualifying down in 7th position, he made the best of the start, while a three-way sandwich at the first corner dropped the pole-sitting nr 2 Maserati MC 12, the nr 14 K plus K Saleen and the nr 19 Luc Alphand Aventures Corvette out of immediate contention.  Although the cars made their way back up the field, Hezemans took the lead and pulled away, followed initially by the SRT Corvette and the nr 18 K plus K Saleen.  When the rain started, the gap at the front closed up, but once the car had pitted for rain tyres, Kumpen continued the good work, keeping the lead and seemingly unbothered by the treacherous conditions.  Hezemans took over for the last few minutes, emerging with an 11-second lead and finally crossing the finish line after 71 laps with a 9 second advantage. Were happy, were still second in the Championship but its close, Kumpen said afterwards. Bartels and Bertolini did a fantastic job again so they are making life tough for us. 

The Corvette was followed across the line by the two Vitaphone Racing Team Maserati cars.  Bertolini, in the nr 1 car, had dropped some places at the start, but he and Bartels put in a steady performance despite the weight in their MC 12, lying third for much of the first hour until they were overtaken by the recovering nr 2 car.  However, in the rain, the nr 1 recovered the advantage, and they were lying in second place after the second round of pit stops, followed by the nr 2 car, 26 seconds adrift.  The fine group finish for Vitaphone not only confirmed Bartels and Bertolinis points lead heading into the Total 24 Hours of Spa,  but strengthened the teams position in the Team classification.  They have also accumulated more success ballast although this will not be carried at Spa, but will be added to any weight from Spa for round 5.  The result could have been much worse with that crash at the start and the heavy rain, because there was only one strategy in the rain : to keep the car on the track. Ive never seen so many cars spinning off, and there was massive aquaplaning.  We have added another eight points to our account, and now we are going to Belgium, Bartels commented.  He also confirmed that a third Maserati MC 12 was likely to race in Spa.  It is the last year of the Maserati MC 12 in the FIA GT Championship, and we will do everything to win the Total 24 Hours of Spa. 

Belgian team SRT finished in a fine fourth position, Longin and Ruffier having made the most of the first corner chaos and kept in the leading group for most of the race.  The nr 19 Luc Alphand Aventures Corvette was fifth, crossing the line ahead of the two battling Ford GT cars, the Marc VDS Racing car just ahead of that entered by Matech GT Racing.  

The best Saleen was the nr 11 Full Speed Racing Saleen S7 Twin Turbo of Luke Hines and Stephane Lemeret in eighth, taking the final point.   The Nissan GT-R achieved the teams objective, which was to reach the finish line, being classified for the first time in an FIA GT Championship race. The nr 14 K plus K Motorsport Saleen S7 the final classified car in tenth, having dropped back during the heavy rain due to visibility problems. 

The nr 13 Full Speed Racing Saleen did not finish further to misfire problems, while the nr 18 K plus K Saleen went into the barriers while lying an excellent second, reportedly with accelerator problems. 

VITAPHONE KEEPS THE LEAD

 The Total 24 Hours of Spa are a little bit like Vitaphone -Land, and believe me, the next six weeks will see the maximum preparation on the car, Michael Bartels said after todays second-place finish. The team is looking in good shape before the years longest event.  With five podium finishes between the two cars so far this season, Bertolini and Bartels have a three-point lead over Hezemans and Kumpen in the Drivers Classification.  Xavier Maassen retained his third place in the points, with Mller and Ramos fourth, on equal points with SRT drivers Longin and Ruffier.

In the Teams Championship, Vitaphone enjoys a 15-point margin over the PK Carsport team, with K plus K Motorsports third, on equal points with Luc Alphand Aventures. 

FIRST WIN OF 2009 FOR AF CORSE

Victorious in Oschersleben in 2007 and 2008, AF Corse made it three in a row , the Italian team claiming its first win of the season for reigning Champions Toni Vilander and Gianmaria Bruni.  Bruni, second on the grid, made a good start to take the lead.  Ragginger, in the Brixia Porsche,  took advantage of traffic to regain the lead, but the AF Corse Ferrari maintained position and really came to the fore once the rain started. With rainman Toni Vilander behind the wheel, the nr 50 Ferrari was in command, Bruni taking over again at the end and bringing the car across the line with a 16-second lead over the nearest Porsche.  This was the nr 61 Prospeed Competition car of Marco Holzer and Sean Edwards, the youngest driver pair on the grid.  They put in a strong race to finish second despite an extra pit stop. I am really happy to win, Toni Vilander commented. I feel bad for car nr 60, but it was good for us. Thats racing. The Championship is completely open again, with two points separating us, so from Spa on it will be flat out, and well have to see who is the next to make a mistake.

As for Edwards and Holzer, they were delighted with the result. We were just pushing all the time.  The car was great, with just a bit of understeer, but the conditions were really difficult.  It was my first time with the Prospeed team  and they did a great job, and we were a great pairing. Im very happy with second. 

Third place went to the nr 80 Hexis Racing AMR Aston Martin V8 Vantage, claiming its first FIA GT podium finish and giving the category a rare sight of three makes in the top three.  The car may have struggled in the dry, but was consistently fast in the difficult conditions, Mcke and Makowiecki behind the wheel.  Everybody is happy, Stefan Mcke commented. We never thought wed finish in third position. The podium is a very good finish for Aston Martin and for Hexis Racing AMR, so everybody did a good job. The car still needs to improve.  It is very good and competitive in the wet, but about 1 second off the pace in the dry. We know exactly in which direction we have to go, and its good for the future. 

Fourth went to the nr 55 CRS Racing car of Mullen and Niarchos.  Niarchos had been driving in a strong second position in the heaviest rain, until he went wide into the gravel right at the end of his stint.  Early race leader Ragginger and his team-mate Lucchini were fifth after another strong performance.  Sixth was the second CRS car of Bell and Kirkaldy, who had struggled with visibility problems due to a damaged windscreen.   Trackspeed was seventh, ahead of the second AF Corse Ferrari.

The biggest casualty today was the nr 60 Prospeed Competition Porsche of Collard and Westbrook, who went off after 16 laps further to a collision.  The team retains its points lead in both classifications, but Westbrook and Collard are now only two points ahead of Bruni and Vilander. 

AF CORSE CLOSE THE GAP IN THE POINTS

Aiming for a fourth consecutive title, Italian team AF Corse moved a step closer to the dominant team so far this season, Prospeed Competition, with their win in Germany.  Bruni and Vilander now have 18 points, two behind double race winners Collard and Westbrook.  The top of the tables are dominated by the two teams, as Prospeeds Marco Holzer is third, two points behind the AF Corse leaders, while AF Corses second crew are currently fourth, on equal points with CRS Racings Bell and Kirkaldy.

In the Teams points, Prospeed have a seven-point lead over AF Corse, with CRS Racing a further ten points behind.  As for the Manufacturers, Ferrari has 61 points, 13 ahead of Porsche, while Aston Martin has 8.   

SECOND CITATION CUP WIN FOR NIARCHOS

CRS Racing team owner and driver Chris Niarchos claimed his second Citation Cup win after a fine performance in the rain. Its slightly disappointing as we were in second for much of my stint. I kind of relish these conditions.  In the dry I struggle to be as fast as the pro drivers, but in the wet, here, at Spa, or anywhere else, Im nearly on a par. So we could have been further ahead.  But to come out with a fourth place overall considering the conditions I couldnt be more happy.  The teams activities seem to be growing by the day, and next year looks like being even more so. The team has done great, and as both a driver and the team owner, I am very pleased with everything weve done. We have put together a great package and our drivers are competitive at every level so were very pleased. 


Race Results

Pos

Car

Class

Drivers

Car

Gap

1

4

GT1

Hezemans /
Kumpen

Corvette Z06

2

1

GT1

Bertolini /
Bartels

Maserati MC 12

9.207

3

2

GT1

Muller /
Ramos

Maserati MC 12

35.696

4

3

GT1

Longin /
Ruffier

Corvette Z06

1:47.676

5

19

GT1

Maassen /
Biagi

Corvette Z06

1 LAP

6

40

GT1

Leinders /
Kuppens

Ford GT (001 PT GT1)

1 LAP

7

44

GT1

Mutsch /
Hennerici

Ford GT (001 PT GT1)

1 LAP

8

11

GT1

Hines /
Lemeret

Saleen S7 Twin Turbo

2 LAPS

9

50

GT2

Bruni /
Vilander

Ferrari F430

2 LAPS

10

61

GT2

Holzer /
Edwards

Porsche 911 GT3 RS (997)

2 LAPS

11

80

GT2

Muecke /
Makowiecki

Aston Martin V8 Vantage

2 LAPS

12

55

GT2

Mullen /
Niarchos

Ferrari F430

3 LAPS

13

97

GT2

Ragginger /
Lucchini

Porsche 911 GT3 RS (997)

3 LAPS

14

35

GT1

Krumm /
Turner

Nissan GT-R

3 LAPS

15

14

GT1

Wendlinger /
Sharp

Saleen S7

4 LAPS

16

56

GT2

Bell /
Kirkaldy

Ferrari F430

4 LAPS

17

59

GT2

Bergmeister /
Ashburn

Porsche 911 GT3 RS (997)

5 LAPS

18

51

GT2

Barba Lopez /
Cadei

Ferrari F430

7 LAPS

19

78

GT2

Heyer /
Romanini

Ferrari F430

8 LAPS

20

13

GT1

Monfardini /
Mowlem

Saleen S7

29 LAPS

21

95

GT2

Russo /
Perez Companc

Ferrari F430

53 LAPS

22

77

GT2

Ruberti /
Malucelli

Ferrari F430

54 LAPS

23

60

GT2

Collard /
Westbrook

Porsche 911 GT3 RS (997)

55 LAPS

24

18

GT1

Dominguez /
Lacko

Saleen S7

59 LAPS