Friday, June 11, 2010
FIA GT3 Spain-preview
FIA GT3 European Championship
Rounds 5 & 6 – Jarama, Spain
19/20 June 2010
EVENT PREVIEW: GT3 Takes Centre Stage in Spain
After four races in the United Kingdom and the Czech Republic supporting the FIA GT1 World Championship, the FIA GT3 European Championship heads to Spain to take centre stage for the first time this season. Rounds 5 & 6 of the 12-round Championship will be held on the 3.8 kilometre Jarama circuit, near the Spanish capital Madrid, the first time the series has visited the country.
With large grids representing 10 different marques, the FIA GT3 European Championship continues to provide action-packed racing on the top European race circuits. The visit to Jarama will be with the Superleague Formula which will provide the Spanish race fans the best of both worlds – top flight GT and single-seater racing action.
So far Corvette has been the dominant force in 2010, winning three of the first four races and filling five of the six podium places in Rounds 3 and 4 at Brno last month. The opening round of the 2010 season saw the Trackspeed Porsche 911 GT3 R of Jose Luis Cunill and Tim Bergmeister take the first win of the year but only after the Graff Racing Corvette of Mike Parisy and the Callaway Competition Corvette of Christian Hohenadel both suffered technical problems. In Round 2 the Callaway Competition team put the earlier race one problems behind them with Christian Hohenadel and Daniel Keilwitz claiming victory in the second 60-minute race of the weekend ahead of the Hexis AMR Aston Martin of Frederic Makowiecki and Manuel Rodrigues. Third place for Cunill and Bergmeister gave the Trackspeed Porsche pairing the championship lead as the Championship headed to the Czech Republic for Rounds 3 and 4 at Brno.
The Czech track was missing from the 2009 calendar and, as a firm favourite among the teams and drivers, it made a welcome return this season. Reigning French GT3 Champion Mike Parisy and his co driver Joakim Lambotte dominated the weekend in the Graff Racing Corvette with a double win which was a huge relief for the team after the disappointments at Silverstone. In Round 3 it was a Corvette 1-2-3 with Parisy taking the chequered flag ahead of Christian Hohanadel in the Callaway Competition car, with Dino Lunardi taking the second podium finish in three races for the Toni Seiler Racing Corvette.
The early pace setter of the second race of the Brno weekend was Diego Alessi in the Chad Racing Ferrari 430 Scuderia. Starting from pole position the Italian held a small lead to the chasing Corvettes, which he held until the pitstop, but a timing mistake led to Giacomo Petrobelli rejoining the race too early and the resulting stop and go penalty dropped the car out of the running and handed the lead and the second race victory of the weekend to Joakim Lambotte in the Graff Racing Corvette. Philip Geipel and Albert von Thurn und Taxis brought the Argo Racing Lamborghini Gallardo up the field from a lowly 14th to finish in second place, just ahead of the Callaway Corvette of Daniel Keilwitz. The German team suffered an early misfire dropping Hohenadel down to 17th from the front row. However the problem was sorted at the pitstop and Keilwitz forced his way back up the field to take the final podium position and the lead in the Drivers Championship after four races.
Who will be victorious in Spain? Can the Corvettes hold onto their dominant position or will one of the other marques join Corvette and Porsche as race winners in 2010? The GT Commission have made a Balance of Performance ruling and all Corvettes will have a smaller restrictor (50mm instead of 52mm) at Jarama. Success in GT3 means more weight. The nr16 Graff Racing car, thanks to the double victory, will have 40 kilos of success ballast, the nr101 Callaway Competition Corvette will run with 25kg of ballast, while the nr24 Argo Racing Lamborghini and the nr18 Toni Seiler Corvette will have 15 and 10 kilos respectively.
The event at Jarama begins on Saturday 19 June, with Free Practice and Qualifying, while both 60-minute races will take place on Sunday 20 June. For the latest information visit the championship website at GT3Europe.com.
Saturday 19 June
08:30-09:00 Superleague Formula Free practice 1
09:15-10:15 FIA GT3 European Championship Free practice 1
10:30-11:00 Superleague Formula Free practice 2
11.15-12.15 FIA GT3 European Championship Free practice 2
12.30-14.00 Superleague Formula Qualifying and Knockouts
16:00-16:50 FIA GT3 European Championship Qualifying
Sunday 20 June
09:15-10:15 FIA GT3 European Championship Race 1
11:00-11:45 Superleague Formula Race 1
12.30-13.15 Superleague Formula Race 2
13.30-13.45 Superleague Formula Race 3
16:00-17:00 FIA GT3 European Championship Race 2
News and photos used with permission from FIA GT3.