FIA GT3 – Lamborghini Forges Ahead In Slovakian Qualifying Sessions

August 20, 2011

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The two qualifying sessions for Rounds 9 & 10 of the 2011 FIA GT3 European Championship at the Slovakia Ring belonged to the Reiter Engineering team as both their Lamborghini Gallardos took pole position.

In the first session Albert von Thurn und Taxis claimed his second pole of the season in the nr24 Reiter Lamborghini by the narrowest of margins, finishing just 0.001s ahead of championship leader Federico Leo in the nr50 AF Corse Ferrari 458. Dominik Baumann will head the second row in this afternoon’s race in the nr44 Heico Racing Mercedes Benz SLS AMG, with the nr4 Graff Racing Mercedes of Gregoire Demoustier lining up alongside the Austrian.

The second qualifying period Slovakia’s Stefan Rosina took pole position in the nr25 Reiter Engineering Lamborghini Gallardo in his first ever FIA GT3 race. Rosina finished 0.027s ahead of Jarek Janis in the nr11 Gravity Charouz Racing Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG, the Czech driver and team enjoying racing so close to home. Nick Catsburg posted the third fastest time the nr36 Faster Racing by DB Motorsport BMZ Z4 after posting the provisional pole time on the first flying lap of the session. Catsburg will line up on row 2 alongside the nr50 AF Corse Ferrari 458 of Francesco Castellacci.

Both sessions were interrupted by red flags. The first qualifying period was halted to clear debris from the track after the nr21 MTECH Motorsport Ferrari of Duncan Cameron went off at Turn 9, bringing gravel onto the circuit as he made his way back to the pits. In the second session Joe Osborne’s United Autosports Audi R8 ended up in the tyre wall at the same corner and had to be recovered before the session could resume.

Qualifying 1

Nr24 Reiter Engineering Lamborghini Gallardo LP600

Albert von Thurn und Taxis: “It’s a difficult but exciting track. I’m here for the first time, so I’m really happy about it. It was incredibly close. The three of us are in the same hundredth, so I think that’s pretty impressive. I’m very happy to have this second pole of the year. The track looks more difficult than it is. The first time you go around, you think, okay this is going to be my downfall, but once you get into the rhythm of it, the more difficult looking sessions become quite intuitive, but you do need to be careful not to underestimate a couple of corners, because there are a couple of very fast corners where, if you do make a mistake, you end up hurting the car badly, and therefore, I think it’s quite an exciting track, and I think the jump just gives it something that you don’t have in other normal tracks around Europe. We’ve been looking at the data and learning from Stefan Rosina, who’s an old pro, and knows his way around here like his home. It was definitely a good help for us.”

 

Nr50 AF Corse Ferrari F458 Italia

Federico Leo: “I’m very happy with this place. Being on the first row is important for me. I’m very happy because in the last race, we were fighting a lot with the car, and we were 1,5 seconds slower than the Lambo in the qualifying, so we’re very happy because Ferrari worked a lot on the car since then. We’re lucky here because we haven’t got a lot of straights, and we can make up for the difference in the corners. I’ve seen the BMW that is always quick in the corners do a good job as well. I did a mistake in the qualifying that made me lose 2 tenths there, but we still did well. We’re always thinking of the championship. We’re thinking of the luck of the other cars, and we have a lot of competitors to the championship. It will be very difficult in the race.”

 

Nr44 Heico Motorsport Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG GT3

Dominik Baumann: “It’s very tight. Yesterday in free practice we had some problems with the car, and the driving style of the car. It’s good for the team to be in third position now. Now we have to look to the race. I hope we can do the same. The track is really difficult to learn. There is only one level, no up and down hill and no points to learn about the track.”

 

Qualifying 2

Nr25 Reiter Engineering Lamborghini Gallardo LP600

Stefan Rosina: “I think that it’s a privilege for me to be a part of this championship, because it’s really competitive. I also have to thank the team, because if you start for your first time in qualifying or on a new set of tyres, the car is really difficult to handle, there is no chance to be able to fight for the top three. I also have to thank our team mate, because they helped us a lot with our driving style. We are pretty happy, but this is just the beginning. The race is one hour long. There are still a lot of things needed to be successful. I would say that all the Slovakian drivers have done 100% more mileage than the others around this track, so I think that all of us sitting here will be quick in the race and that it will be a tough fight. We have to be really happy, because, two years ago there was not circuit here, so I’m really happy that this is happening here and to be a part of it. I’ve been racing outside of Slovakia for some time now, so I’m happy to be at home and actually sleep in my own bed.”

 

Nr11 Gravity Charouz Racing Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG GT3

Jarek Janis: “It’s quite close to our home, as Stefan said. It’s a little bit further than Stefan, but it’s really good to be close to home. There are a lot of people from Czech Republic who are coming to see the race, to see how we’re going to do in the race. Overall I have to say we had a bit of a fight with Stefan during the whole weekend; in the first free practice, he was tenths in front of me, in the second free practice, we swapped and he was right behind me, and now he’s in front of me again, so something is wrong, probably. I have to say qualifying was good, the car was really good. I have to thank the team, we’re getting better because we didn’t really start in good shape at the beginning of the season, we’ve changed the drivers, I’m the car now, I’m supposed to be the manager. It’s a little bit difficult, but we’re getting better. In the quail, I had to stop because of the red flag and probably lost some time, and the best bit of the tyre, but it was the same for everyone. I’m happy to be second, happy to be on the first row, happy to be next to my friend. Hopefully the race will go well.”

 

Nr36 Faster Racing by DB Motorsport BMW Z4

Nicky Catsburg: “The track is quite difficult to learn, and yesterday I made some mistakes. I did ten laps and ended up in the gravel. Today I was a bit more careful in my first lap and then it was fine. I know the track now, and it should be good for the race. I think Paul Ricard was our worst track. On this track, sector one and sector three aren’t very good, but we’re really quick in sector two. In the end, I think the times are quite close and I’m happy with the balance of performance.”

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