FIA GT1 – Early Pictures from Nürburgring

The FIA GT cars are back at the Nürburgring since 2001 and The Young Driver AMR team continued to set the pace on the first day at the Nurburgring by leading the Pre Qualifying and the Free Practice Sessions.

The conditions were difficult, sometimes it was very wet so drivers had to stop completely because there was just too much water on the track. It was difficult to judge the lap times at one instance.

Local interest at the Nürburgring will centre around the six German teams and eleven German drivers. Vitaphone Racing Team currently leads the Teams Championship, with reigning FIA GT Champions Michael Bartels and Andrea Bertolini holding the lead in the driver’s title race. The Vitaphone pairing, in the Maserati MC12, are just six points ahead of Thomas Mutsch, the German double race winner now paired with the reigning FIA GT2 Champion Richard Westbrook in the nr 5 Matech Competition Ford GT Matech.

In the last round at Spa-Francorchamps, Lamborghini joined Ford, Nissan and Maserati as Championship Race winners in the inaugural year of the new World Championship, when Reiter’s Frank Kechele and Ricardo Zonta won an action-packed encounter on the 7km Belgian.

The Nissan teams, Sumo Power GT and Swiss Racing Team, having been enjoying success. Both Sumo Power Nissan GT-Rs have been on the podium this season, with Warren Hughes and Jamie Campell-Walter winning the Tourist Trophy at Silverstone in May. The Swiss Racing Team showed a marked improvement in performance in Belgium and will be looking to improve even further in Germany this weekend.

In the Pre Qualifying it started wet, but the track soon dried as the sun finally made an appearence over the Nurburgring circuit. As a dry line formed the times started to come down and it was the nr1 Vitaphone Racing Team Maserati MC12 of championship leader Andrea Bertolini who set the first sub two minute lap. However the conditions still remained tricky and the Vitaphone Maserati was pushed down to fifth as the Young Driver Astons, the nr3 Swiss Racing Nissan of Karl Wendlinger and the Marc VDS Racing Ford all went quicker.

However with 20-minutes of the session remaining the sky darkened again and torrential rain flooded the track, forcing all cars back into the pitlane, with Pre Qualifying coming to an end a few minutes later as the red flags were shown.

The Marc VDS Racing Team Ford GTs have been steadily improving during the first half of the season, with Maxime Martin and Bas Leinders narrowly missing a podium finish at Paul Ricard in July.

It was a tricky practice session and pre-qualifying for all, in the end the Aston took the front seat with sublime confidence. However, the race is yet to start!! Drama and excitement are definitely on the menu at the Nürburgring. So stay tuned!

Editorial : Mu’az Zakaria / FIA GT1 Press

Photo : FIA GT1 Press

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