FIA GT1 – Brno Preview

Will 2007 Brno repeat for Maserati possible?

The FIA GT World Championship’s third round will go to Brno, Czech Republic this coming weekend. As a circuit, Brno or the Masarykring as it was previously known is steeped in history. Located close to the city that bears its name, the track was first used before WWII as a 31 km street circuit and was the venue for the Czechoslovakian Grand Prix. In 1962 the track was shortened to 14 km and, in the late 1980s, the current purpose built 5.5 km circuit was opened.

Vitaphone Racing Team’s Maserati MC12 no. 1, driven by Michael Bartels and Andrea Bertolini, is ranked second in the drivers’ category with 26 points, just five away from Team Matech’s Grosjean / Mutsch leading duo.

Enrique Bernoldi

The second set of Vitaphone Racing Team Maserati drivers, Enrique Bernoldi and Miguel Ramos, will definitely attempt to climb the podium. Indeed, it was in the 5,403 meters of the Brno track that in 2007 the Portuguese driver won while at the wheel of a car with the Trident logo.

Up to now the Maseratis have been dangerously consistent : the three teams (Bartels / Bertolini, Bobbi / Longin and Heger / Margaritis) are the only ones to have always finished among the first ten in the first two rounds of the FIA GT1 World Championship.
Now they need a victory to grab the leadership reins in the championship.

Fresh from its round two success at Silverstone earlier this month, the Sumo Power GT team now heads to Brno in the Czech Republic for round three of the FIA GT1 World Championship, eager to see if it can deliver a repeat performance this weekend. However, after being rewarded with a victory in only its second event, the team is well aware that this impressive result on its home track will be a tough act to follow.

Warren Hughes

Driving the Sumo Power GT Nissan GT-R number 22 at Silverstone, Warren Hughes and Jamie Campbell-Walter crossed the finish line in third position. But with penalties applied to the two Aston Martins ahead of them – due to technical infringements – the Nissan drivers were consequently awarded first place and scooped the coveted Tourist Trophy in the process. Although these results are currently provisional, whatever the outcome of this week’s FIA hearing its round two performances have given the team a huge boost.

Team-mates Michael Krumm and Peter Dumbreck were not so fortunate at Silverstone. Their race came to an abrupt halt following an overtaking manoeuvre that resulted in terminal suspension damage. Even though this was the first non-finish for the team, lap times showed that the Nissan GT-R number 23 is also capable of running at the front of the field and therefore hopes are high for Brno.

With extra weight allocated to the leading cars on a race-by-race basis in an attempt to maintain a balance of performance and therefore close racing, a win at Silverstone will see car 22 run 40 kilos of success ballast this weekend. Therefore, to help prepare for the East European event, Hughes and Campbell-Walter drove their Nissan GT-R in a brief test at Snetterton last week, mainly to continue the development of the car’s new Exe-TC suspension.

Robbed of victory, both drivers are now more determined than ever to get back where they deserve, the top step of the podium.

After a brilliant win of Darren Turner and Thomas Enge in the Young Driver-Aston Martin DBR9 at Silverstone, the team lost the victory hours after the race when the car was excluded due to technical infringements. The team has appealed this decision and awaits a final outcome by the end of the week.

#7 Young Driver AMR Aston Martin DBR9 will add up +40 kg after strong Silverstone performance. In another story, Aston requested a reliability update for Brno from the FIA and the request was granted.

Recently the team participated in 1000km of Spa and was the fastest in the class. This throws some warning that the package is serious and after Silverstone dilemma, the team will look to bounce back from the unfortunate incidents.

After 2nd and 3rd place at Spa 1000 km, the team flew to Brno high on confidence to repeat the recent success and pounce the top step of the grid once more after confidently winning the first round in Abu Dhabi. The team is pretty much silent on their updates coming into Brno.

Editorial : Mu’az Zakaria
Image Source : FIA GT1, Maserati, Matech

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