Nogaro: Dead Heat in GT1! + Grid

This car is on pole
Courtesy of the FIA GT/DPPI

For the penultimate round of the 2007 season, the FIA GT Championship is in Nogaro, in the south of France. The 3.636 km circuit provided an exciting and incredibly close qualifying session, with the top three drivers in GT1 qualifying within 29 thousandths of a second – and the top nine within eight tenths of a second !

However, pole position went to Thomas Biagi – his second pole of the year – in the nr 1 Vitaphone Maserati MC 12. The 2003 Champion, joint leader in the points classification with Bertolini and Piccini, set a time of 1:23.763 – exactly the same time as that set by Robert Lechner in the nr 36 Jetalliance Aston Martin DBR9 ! However, as Biagi set his time first, he is the one who will start from pole.

Third, 0.029 behind the first two, was Karl Wendlinger in the nr 33 Jetalliance Aston Martin DBR9. Wendlinger, like Biagi fighting for the title, set his time right at the end of the session, demoting fellow title contender Christian Montanari, in the nr 2 Vitaphone Maserati MC 12, to fourth. Fifth went to Babini in the nr 23 Aston Martin Racing BMS DBR9. They were followed by the two Scuderia Playteam Sarafree Maserati cars, with Kumpen eighth with the PK Carsport Corvette C5, while Bouchut, in the All Inkl Lamborghini, was ninth, less than 8 tenths behind pole. Nine cars, eight tenths of a second and four makes represented !

As for GT2, Gianmaria Bruni set an excellent time of 1:27.028 in the nr 51 AF Corse Motorola Ferrari 430 GT2, with Dirk Müller five tenths behind to give AF Corse Motorola another one-two in qualifying. Third was the Advanced Engineering Ferrari, in the hands of Rui Aguas, and the leading Porsche just a tenth behind in fourth position. The nr 63 Scuderia Ecosse Ferrari was fifth, driven by Andrew Kirkaldy. The session was briefly red-flagged while the nr 62 Scuderia Ecosse Ferrari 430 GT2 was removed from the gravel.

The Citation Cup was led by Stéphane Daoudi in the nr 16 JMB Racing Maserati MC 12, while the nr 101 Belgian Racing Gillet Vertigo led G2, with Renaud Kuppens at the wheel.

Tomorrow’s race starts at 13:15, for two hours of racing. Both the GT1 and GT2 titles are undecided. In GT1, 11 drivers are fighting for the crown, while six are in contention in GT2. It could be a very interesting race !

This car is on second with the same time but set later in the session
Courtesy of the FIA GT/DPPI


1st in GT1 : Thomas BIAGI – nr 1 Vitaphone Racing Team Maserati MC 12 :
“I have to say many thanks to Michelin for giving us very nice car, and to the Vitaphone team for doing a great job. I didn’t have a perfect lap, but in the end it did the job, and I achieved my goal. I’m very close to Lechner and I’d like to congratulate him on his lap time. We’ll see for tomorrow. The race will be long and tough. What is important, as so many drivers are fighting for the Championship, is fair play. It will be a hard race but if we play fair, it will be nice. ”

2nd in GT1 : Robert LECHNER – nr 36 Jetalliance Aston Martin DBR9 :
“It’s really good, but a shame that I have to share. It was the same time as Thomas, I just did it later in the session. But that’s how it is. It’s a first row for us, especially with Karl still fighting for the Championship, although unfortunately I am not. But we have seen a strong performance from the team, and I would like to thank everybody involved. I am very happy with the position, but it’s a bit of a shame – you always think you could have gone a bit quicker, and today pole position was really in my hands. We have really improved over the season, since Zhuhai, and it should be remembered that this is really our first year in the current configuration. ”

3rd in GT1 : Karl WENDLINGER – nr 33 Jetalliance Aston Martin DBR9 :
“I am very happy with the qualifying as it was not so easy. I went out of the pits, and there was a lot of traffic in front of me. So I did a slow out lap, there were cars coming from the back and I let them pass. I was in the dirt, and I did another slow lap, and then in only my second timed lap I set the time. The car is going very well, the tyres are very good, and I’m looking forward to the race. I want to finish, to score points, and after the race we’ll begin to count.”

1st in GT2 : Gianmaria BRUNI – nr 51 AF Corse Motorola Ferrari 430 GT2 :
“It was a very good lap. We have a very good car and I just drove as fast as I can. Michelin has done a very good job again after Brno, and we set up the car quite well, and got another one –two. This is my first time at the track, but you get used to learning circuits quickly after racing in America.”

2nd in GT2 : Dirk MÜLLER – nr 50 AF Corse Motorola Ferrari 430 GT2 :
“I was hoping that we could be as close as in GT1. This is a very good achievement for the team. Congratulations to Gimmi for a very quick lap. Obviously this was not my best qualifying today, I made a couple of mistakes, but sometimes you have a good day, sometimes not. But as I have said when we managed pole, the points are on the Sunday. But we are in a very solid position at the moment, the car is very good – I just couldn’t get it together. And I’m really looking forward to tomorrow. The cars are heavy, but very well prepared. We’re very close to the Michelin factory so maybe that helped !”

3rd in GT2 : Rui AGUAS – nr 59 Advanced Engineering Ferrari 430 GT2 :
“It was nice to be almost on the front row, the team did a good job. The car was not perfect for qualifying, but we are working hard on the set-up for the race. That’s what we want to achieve, and I hope you’ll see us all together on the podium tomorrow.”

1st in G2 : Renaud Kuppens – nr 101 Belgian Racing Gillet Vertigo :
“I’m happy as the time is good. We have made a lot of modifications on the front suspensions, and now we have a lot of grip at the front which is better. We need to find a solution to have more traction and a perfect balance. But we’re happy and would like to thank Pirelli, the Gillet Vertigo crew and my friend and team-mate Bas Leinders.”

1st in Citation Cup : Stéphane DAOUDI – nr 16 JMB Racing Maserati MC 12 :
“I am very happy. I have been in the Maserati just from this morning so it was not so easy. My goal was not to make any mistakes, and to give Ben Aucott a chance to win the Championship. The Citation Cup tyres are very hard, and especially today it was quite cold, so it was difficult to heat them up. But I think that if you have a Maserati in the Citation Cup and you are not on pole, then it must be that you have a problem.”

The AF Corse Ferrari continued its good form
Courtesy of the FIA GT/DPPI


Pos Car Class Drivers Car Time Gap To 1st
1. 1 GT1 Biagi, Bartels Maserati MC12 GT1 1:23.763

2. 36 GT1 Lechner, Lichtner-hoyer Aston Martin DBR9 1:23.763 0.000 0.000
3. 33 GT1 Wendlinger, Sharp Aston Martin DBR9 1:23.792 0.029 0.029
4. 2 GT1 Montanari, Ramos Maserati MC12 GT1 1:23.883 0.091 0.120
5. 23 GT1 Babini, Davies Aston Martin DBR9 1:23.996 0.113 0.233

6. 12 GT1 Pier Guidi, Giannoccaro Maserati MC12 GT1 1:24.095 0.099 0.332
7. 11 GT1 Bertolini, Piccini Maserati MC12 GT1 1:24.101 0.006 0.338
8. 4 GT1 Kumpen, Longin Corvette C5R 1:24.288 0.187 0.525
9. 7 GT1 Bouchut, Mucke Lamborghini Murcielago 1:24.547 0.259 0.784
10. 5 GT1 Hezemans, Deletraz Corvette C6R 1:25.036 0.489 1.273

11. 22 GT1 Monfardini, Gounon Aston Martin DBR9 1:25.682 0.646 1.919
12. 16 GT1 Daoudi, Aucott Maserati MC12 GT1 1:26.060 0.378 2.297
13. 6 GT1 Dumas, Adam Ferrari 550 Maranello 1:26.249 0.189 2.486
14. 51 GT2 Bruni, Ortelli Ferrari 430 GT2 1:27.028 0.779 3.265
15. 14 GT1 Zacchia, Jakubowski Ferrari 550 Maranello 1:27.201 0.173 3.438

16. 50 GT2 Muller, Vilander Ferrari 430 GT2 1:27.594 0.393 3.831
17. 18 GT1 Merafina, Lebon Corvette C5R 1:27.712 0.118 3.949
18. 59 GT2 Aguas, Peter Ferrari 430 GT2 1:28.099 0.387 4.336
19. 97 GT2 Collard, Malucelli Porsche 997 GT3 RSR 1:28.193 0.094 4.430
20. 63 GT2 Kirkaldy, Bell Ferrari 430 GT2 1:28.376 0.183 4.613

21. 15 GT1 Kutemann, Gosse Maserati MC12 GT1 1:28.656 0.280 4.893
22. 52 GT2 Ruberti, Mediani Ferrari 430 GT2 1:28.691 0.035 4.928
23. 74 GT2 Pompidou, Zani Porsche 997 GT3 RSR 1:28.733 0.042 4.970
24. 62 GT2 Turner, Mullen Ferrari 430 GT2 1:28.824 0.091 5.061
25. 53 GT2 Cressoni, Rugolo Ferrari 430 GT2 1:29.537 0.713 5.774

26. 101 G2 Kuppens, Leinders Gillet Vertigo 1:29.780 0.243 6.017
27. 102 G2 Carcone, Prignaud, Avenel Chrysler Viper GTSR 1:33.582 3.802 9.819