Posted by: porschebahn | June 23, 2009

Race report FIA GT Championship in Oschersleben

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Porsche junior Holzer second – Collard/Westbrook defend points’ lead

With second place for Porsche junior Marco Holzer (Germany) in the Porsche 911 GT3 RSR and the defence of the championship lead for works drivers Emmanuel Collard (France) and Richard Westbrook (Great Britain) in the GT class, the German round of the FIA GT Championship came to an end. The turbulent two hour race on the 3.696 kilometre short circuit in the Motorsport Arena Oschersleben turned into a thriller when light drizzle became a torrential downpour after just a few laps.

For 21-year-old Marco Holzer, who shared driving duties with Britain’s Sean Edwards for the Belgian ProSpeed Competition team, it was the first podium result after securing sixth and fourth respectively at the first two FIA GT Championship races in Silverstone (GB) and on the Adria Raceway (Italy). “Second place at my third GT race is fantastic,” the Porsche youngster said. “I had to brake at the start because some GT1 vehicles spun in front of me. Unfortunately, when this happened three Ferraris slipped past and later blocked me. That’s why the team brought the pit stop forward. While Sean was driving it began to rain. That resulted in an extra pit stop – otherwise we could have even won today. When it was my turn again I was so nervous – I’ve never driven the RSR in the rain before. I had practically zero visibility and was aquaplaning terribly. Under these circumstances Sean and I are totally happy with second place.” Last year Edwards secured fifth in the Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup.

To defend the championship after three of eight rounds was small consolation for Emmanuel Collard and Richard Westbrook in the end. After two wins in succession, the pair competed under impeding conditions. To increase the suspense, handicap weights are given to the first three place-getters in each race of the FIA Series. ProSpeed had to carry 40 kilograms of ballast in their 911, after already having received 50 kilograms because the two drivers had been classified in the highest “Platinum” category as experienced and successful pilots. The Frenchman took up the race from a lowly tenth in the GT class, but after 16 laps lay a sensational sixth when he received a hefty nudge from a competitor and had to retire with a damaged car. “I’m furious about this,” said the Frenchman, who only last week celebrated a clear victory in the LMP2 class in Le Mans with the Porsche RS Spyder. “Despite the extra weight I was gaining ground on the dry circuit. In the wet we could have utilised our experience and made up more places.” Westbrook, double overall winner of the Porsche Supercup, added: “Now we look forward to the 24 hour race in Spa at the end of July where we can really attack. You also receive double the points there.”

The second Porsche junior, Martin Ragginger, secured a commendable fifth place for the Italian Brixia Racing team. After the Adria Raceway, this marked the second time that the 21-year-old had taken up a race from pole position. In Silverstone he underscored his reputation as an excellent qualifier with starting position two. During the start chaos on the narrow and twisty circuit, Ragginger briefly lost his lead, but quickly gained it back again and set about to gradually extend it under extreme weather conditions. His teammate, Italian gentleman driver Luigi Lucchini, lost several places in the spray, which Ragginger could no longer make up again in the final spurt. “I’m satisfied with fifth,” said the young Austrian. “With our mixed driver duo we did the best we could under such difficult race conditions, we finished and earned crucial points.”

Guest driver Jörg Bergmeister (Germany) experienced a weekend of mixed fortunes. He replaced Tim Sugden (Great Britain) in the Trackspeed team for the weekend and promptly set the fastest time in qualifying. Due to a technical mistake of the team, his pole-setting time was disallowed and he was relegated to the back of the field. From there, Bergmeister put in a formidable charge in rain to reach second place, only to then spin in the gravel. “It was my fault,” said a frustrated Bergmeister, who competes as a Porsche factory driver in the USA. “I pushed too hard. I’m so sorry for the team!”

Race result in the GT class:

1. Bruni/Vilander (ITA/FIN), Ferrari F430, 69 laps
2. Holzer/Edwards (GER/GBR), Porsche 911 GT3 RSR, + 16.558 seconds
3. Mücke/Makowiecki (GER/FRA), Aston Martin V8 Vantage, + 23.991
4. Mullen/Niarchos (CAN/GBR), Ferrari F430, + 1 lap
5. Ragginger/Lucchini (AUT/ITA), Porsche 911 GT3 RSR, + 1 lap

Standings in the GT class after three of eight rounds of the 2009 FIA GT Championship:

1. Emmanuel Collard, Porsche, 20 points
Richard Westbrook, Porsche, 20
2. Gianmaria Bruni, Ferrari, 18
Toni Vilander, Ferrari, 18
3. Marco Holzer, Porsche, 16
4. Robert Bell, Ferrari, 13
Andrew Kirkaldy, Ferrari, 13
5. Martin Ragginger, Porsche, 9
Luigi Lucchini, Porsche 9

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