Zolder: Wendlinger and Muller Claim Pole + Grid!

The Jet Alliance Aston Martin takes another pole
Courtesy of the FIA GT/DPPI

For the final round of the 2007 season the FIA GT Championship is in Zolder, Belgium. The 4.006km circuit provided a perfect setting for the final qualifying of an exciting season, with nine drivers in contention for the 2007 GT1 driver’s title and six drivers battling for the GT2 crown.

Wendlinger Claims Third Season Pole
Karl Wendlinger took his third pole position of the season in the nr 33 Jetalliance Racing Aston Martin DBR9, posting a time of 1m25.812 and over five seconds quicker than the last GT1 pole time set at Zolder in 2001. Wendlinger’s time keeps his and Ryan Sharp’s championship aspirations alive, with his nearest championship rival Mike Hezemans in the nr 5 Team Carsport Holland Corvette Z06 finishing the 15-minute session in 4th.

Karl Wendlinger said: “The team prepared a very competitive car again, the handling of the car and the tyres were working very well. Of course it was quite a good lap as well, but the car is really performing very well again, like most of the year. The temperature was not a problem but I think it was different to most of the races this year. Here you go out of the pits and then it depends a lot how fast your out lap is. If you catch traffic on your out lap and you slow down, then in the first timed lap the tyres are not up to temperature. The second lap I had traffic but the third lap I could do my pole position. The only difficulty in qualifying was the low sun in my eyes when we were driving into the first corner and I couldn't see the braking points. It was the same for everyone but it was quite tricky in the beginning."

Alessandro Pier Guidi was second fastest in the nr12 Scuderia Playteam Sarafree Maserati MC12, just 0.169 behind Wendlinger’s Aston Martin after briefly holding provisional pole position with six minutes of the session remaining.

Robert Lechner made it 1-3 for the Jetalliance Racing team as the Austrian driver finished 0.716 seconds behind his teammate in the Aston Martin DBR9 and taking his second top three qualifying position in as many races.

Championship leader Thomas Biagi was 6th fastest in the Vitaphone Racing Team Maserati MC12 and other title hopefuls Andrea Bertolini in the nr12 Scuderia Playteam Sarafree Maserati MC12 was 8th and one place ahead of Christian Montanari in the nr2 Vitaphone Racing Team Maserati MC12. The scene is now set for a grandstand finish to the GT1 driver’s championship in the final race of the year.

Maxime Soulet put the nr18 Sellesllagh Racing Team Corvette C5R at the head of the Citation Cup entry, finishing 16th overall in a time of 1m30.565 and eight places ahead of Ben Aucott in the nr16 JMB Racing Maserati MC12, who claimed the Cup at the previous round in Nogaro.

Müller Sets Sights on GT2 Title

Being just one point ahead in the GT2 driver’s championship, Dirk Müller put the nr50 AF Corse Motorola Ferrari 430 GT2 on pole position to give himself and Toni Vilander the best opportunity in the final race of the season.

Müller put in his best lap with six minutes of the session remaining to move 0.256 seconds ahead of the early pace setter Tim Mullen, who had been the first driver on track in the nr 62 Scuderia Ecosse Ferrari 430 GT2. While Mullen was the only driver on track at the start of the session an oil flag was displayed at Turn 15 which caused a lot of drivers to delay their entry into the qualifying session.

Dirk Müller said: “First of all we got the message on the board saying there were yellow flags at the last chicane and I think everyone was quite nervous to see what was going on and not to destroy the tyres. I have to say that with Michelin and Toni, we have made the car very good in practice. I had a very strong car in qualifying and I did a good lap. I would say that pole is not that important; it is good to be on pole position that's for sure but in my opinion it's OK for overtaking here. Hopefully nobody is overtaking me except for GT1 cars, so that would be my plan. It's good to be on pole position, I think it is a special boost as there is lots of tension to have two cars in AF Corse which can win the championship as well as the Porsche."

Gianmaria Bruni made it a 1-3 qualifying session for the AF Corse Motorola team, finishing just three tenths of a second behind the pole position holder. Despite 103kg of ballast in his Ferrari 430 GT2, Bruni was happy with his qualifying performance after the team struggled to find the correct setup in free practice earlier in the afternoon.

The AF Corse Ferrari is again the class of the GT2 field
Courtesy of the FIA GT/DPPI

It was a good qualifying session for Scuderia Ecosse, placing its Ferrari 430 GT2 cars in second and fourth places. The four Ferrari 430s were followed by three Porsche 997 GT3 RSR cars, with the best time from the nr 74 Ebimotors Porsche, ahead of the nr 60 Prospeed Porsche and the nr 97 BMS Scuderia Italia car of title contenders Collard and Malucelli, the two latter both carrying a total of 78 kg penalty weight.

With a replacement engine in his Gillet Vertigo, Bas Leinders managed to set a competitive time but was further back in the nr101 Belgian Racing car due to the new engine having 50 horsepower less than the original.

The Grid
Pos Class Drivers Car Time Gap
1 GT1 Wendlinger, Sharp Aston Martin DBR9 01:25.8

2 GT1 Pier Guidi, Giannoccaro Maserati MC12 GT1 01:26.0 0.169
3 GT1 Lechner, Lichtner-hoyer Aston Martin DBR9 01:26.5 0.547
4 GT1 Hezemans, Deletraz Corvette C6R 01:26.6 0.056
5 GT1 Kumpen, Longin Corvette C5R 01:26.7 0.081

6 GT1 Biagi, Bartels Maserati MC12 GT1 01:26.7 0.059
7 GT1 Gounon, Monfardini Aston Martin DBR9 01:27.0 0.303
8 GT1 Bertolini, Piccini Maserati MC12 GT1 01:27.2 0.142
9 GT1 Montanari, Ramos Maserati MC12 GT1 01:27.2 0.035
10 GT1 Menten, Kox Lamborghini Murcielago 01:27.4 0.147

11 GT1 Babini, Davies Aston Martin DBR9 01:27.7 0.388
12 GT1 Peter, Hines Aston Martin DBR9 01:27.8 0.082
13 GT1 Deman, Van Campenhoud Corvette C6R 01:28.3 0.507
14 GT1 Fassler, Gollin Aston Martin DBR9 01:28.8 0.456
15 GT1 Bouchut, Duez Lamborghini Murcielago 01:30.2 1.406

16 GT1 Soulet, Cloet Corvette C5R 01:30.6 0.375
17 GT2 Muller, Vilander Ferrari 430 GT2 01:31.0 0.42
18 GT2 Mullen, Turner Ferrari 430 GT2 01:31.2 0.256
19 GT2 Bruni, Ortelli Ferrari 430 GT2 01:31.3 0.101
20 GT2 Kirkaldy, Sugden Ferrari 430 GT2 01:31.6 0.236

21 GT2 Zani, Pompidou Porsche 997 GT3 RSR 01:31.6 0.051
22 GT2 Basseng, Lieb Porsche 997 GT3 RSR 01:32.3 0.718
23 GT2 Collard, Malucelli Porsche 997 GT3 RSR 01:32.8 0.418
24 GT1 Aucott, Daoudi Maserati MC12 GT1 01:32.9 0.126
25 GT2 Aguas, Mediani Ferrari 430 GT2 01:33.0 0.061

26 G2 Leinders, Kuppens Gillet Vertigo 01:33.3 0.36
27 GT1 Kutemann, Waaijenberg Maserati MC12 GT1 01:34.3 0.958