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FIA GT Championship Brno 2007

21st - 23rd September 2007

Event report

Friday - 21st September

GT3 only day...

After many years the Brno FIA GT race was moved from spring date to the very early autumn weekend and it worked well. The weather was excellent throughout the whole weekend; just the number of visitors was probably in lower than usually (only 8000 spectators were present per official Brno press release). It was the eighth round of the season, as well as it was the eighth consecutive year a FIA GT race was held at this allegedly favourite circuit. The entry list for the main race was very good, probably the best this year but Spa 24 hours with number of entries exceeded thirty. For example it was the first time when Saleens made their come back this season, though it became a big disappointment. Pagani Zonda was another new GT1 car to appear in the championship but in the end, it never appeared on the track. Actually we weren't able to find out whether it was present or not. In original entry list released for the weekend it was shown, as well as it was shown in the early practice session results with no time but then it was not heard of at all. We would assume the car was not present but we have heard that the team truck was seen in the paddock on Friday. But we cannot confirm it, moreover nobody we spoke with saw the car. To make things even better, the main FIA GT race was supported by GT3 European Championship 1-hour heats, for the first time in Brno.

FIA GT Championship Brno 2007 (event report) - picture number 001FIA GT Championship Brno 2007 (event report) - picture number 002

It was good, especially for local visitors, to hear before the race that there are several teams interested in hiring local star Tomas Enge for their Brno efforts. Tomas was also happy, especially considering the fact that all teams were running GT1 cars so that he should have had a chance to fight for the overall win ahead of home audience. Offers came from BMS Scuderia Italia (Aston Martin), Lamborghini Murcielago entrants and a new Austrian effort, which meant a return of Saleen make to the championship. While Tomas Enge preferred to race Aston Martin (off course, he has a lot of positive experience with the factory team in Le Mans and elsewhere), we would recommend to race the most beautiful Lamborghini, the final decision was to try the Saleen, which was claimed to be at the same competitive level as last year's car that totally dominated Brno race last year in hands of another local hero Jarek Janis. To our disappointment, already on Friday we found that the car is an old Konrad's chassis number 003R, while the latest cars have chassis numbers in about 060s to 080s range, and that this particular was built almost seven years ago, so it was very doubtful that Enge can achieve some success with it. Our fears were fulfilled on Saturday, when the first sessions were on the programme, when Enge was struggling to set time just ahead the GT2 leaders. He was happy to circulate at the 2 minute per lap pace, which was good during the Lister Storm FIA GT years, by the time this chassis was put into a production but current cars are by more than five seconds per lap quicker. So it was clear that the podium battle will be just four make fight as usually, between Maseratis, Aston Martins, Corvettes and still improving Lamborghinis Murcielagos.

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But this became apparent only on Saturday. It was because that the new format with further shortened practice sessions for FIA GT races completely deleted wonderful long Friday's session from the programme and unfortunately replaced them with shorter sessions on Saturday while the qualifying was cut off totally, to the modern standards of some 10-20 sprints to make a couple of quick laps. While we much more prefer long qualifying sessions with all classes running together, which is still seen at the Le Mans 24 Hour meeting, the FIA GT dropped them recently similarly as many of other modern championships did. Not sure if that works well for the teams but it is definitely not good news for spectators and especially photographers who wished to travel around the track and take as many good shots as possible. The race itself was cut this year to only two hours, while it used to be a three hour enduro, which is also very arguable change. Once again, we consider it a change to the worse and as the race developed rather dramatically it was really a shame it was flagged off too early in a time when the fight started to fire up. Unfortunately for Lamborghinis, they could profit a lot if the race was an hour longer...

Saturday - 22nd September

Practice sessions

Both practiced sessions proved what became apparent during the all weekend. Saleens were completely out of pace, Aston Martins were OK but just one of them was capable of winning the race, Lamborghinis were surprisingly quick (especially the Reiter 'factory' car, in which Menten/Kox even won the second session) while both Corvettes and all Maseratis (but JMB hobby-driver driven cars) were all very competitive. Scuderia SaraFree Maserati with Giannoccaro/Pier Guidi won the first session, to complete the list of session winners. Among GT2 Ferrari seemed to be a step ahead of Porsches, not only in numbers, but also in performance. While several Ferraris run in 2:00s, none of Porsche did better than 2:02s. And the difference became much bigger in the second session compared to the first one.

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Qualifying session

A short qualifying session was dominated by both Vitaphone Racing Maseratis, both running in low 1:54s, which is a really superb time for a GT car, almost at the pace of legendary Group C2 cars that raced in Brno nearly 20 years ago. Well, but older DTM cars in a national championship race, lapped under 1:55 as well. We even did not suppose GTs would be quicker but in the end the fastest of them did. The Czech National Division 4 race was the best of the support races and consisted of an 3-hour Endurance race on Saturday and 10-lap sprint on Sunday. The level of competition was a lot of better then in the past and many GT cars were seen in the field as well. Apart from various Porsches, one of them entered by FIA GT team JetAlliance, there were two Ferraris, Lamborghini Gallardo from the FIA GT3 series and an old Chrysler Viper, which ran the sprint portion of the event though.

FIA GT Championship Brno 2007 (event report) - picture number 007FIA GT Championship Brno 2007 (event report) - picture number 008

Back to the FIA GT qualifying results: Behind the two Vitaphone cars, Karl Wendlinger put the only really quick Aston Martin, still running under 1:55. Representatives of remaining two competitive manufacturers filled the next two spots: Hezemans in a C6.R Corvette was less than a quarter second behind the Wendlinger's time with Reiter Lamborghini driven by Peter Kox just half tens of second behind. SaraFree Maseratis were next ahead of another Corvette, couple of Aston Martins and second Lamborghini. Enge was really struggling with the old Saleen and took 14th spot on the grid, even behind the best of Citation Cup entry (though this one JMB Maserati was driven by Alain Ferté, who is hardly a real hobby-driver, but having not raced for ten years, he was allowed to enter this Cup for non-professional drivers) and just ahead of the GT2 pole. Ferraris completely dominated the GT2 field having set top six fastest times. Dirk Müller running AF Corse car was the quickest of all. The three Porsches followed in 7th, 8th and 9th positions respectively, but it is needed to mention that the only other cars in the class, the seventh Ferrari, did not take part in the session at all. In fact the situation in the class was the same as last year in Brno, where all Ferraris but one took the top positions.

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FIA GT3 Race 1

The first of the two 1-hour races counted towards the European Championship for GT3 cars was held on Saturday evening. The race started with a huge accident in the first lap, which caused a Safety Car period for the first four laps. At first, the two Aston Martins of Hexis Racing touched and went off the track in the first cornet. Both cars were out but not severely damaged, so were capable of running Sunday's race. A couple of corners later much worse accident happened. Several cars were involved and three of them damaged rather seriously: Morgan number 51, Ascari number 31 and Lamborghini number 14 were eliminated for the rest of the weekend. Porsche number 2 was also out of the race but the damage, despite being bigger than that of the two Aston Martins; it was possible to be fixed for the Sunday's race.

After the start, Erik Janiš took the lead but the Safety Car period did not work well for the team. Janiš was a quicker man of the duo and the plan was to make as large lead as possible before handing the car over to his team-mate Jaromír Jiřík but in fact, during the first fifteen minutes he could hardly build any lead at all and even if he stayed on the track whole allowed 37 minutes of the race, it was not enough to keep the podium finish, which the crew lost in the final lap. Moreover the car did not handle well in the second part of the race, at least per drivers' quotes after the race. After the demise of the fastest Lamborghini, the race was dominated by Corvettes, which took the first two podium places (driven by Peyrolles/Ruffier and Pirri/von Gartzen) ahead of the best Ferrari of Vannelet and Moser. To complete basic data, 38 cars started the race, ten of them did not finish but 29 were classified.

Sunday - 23rd September

Warm Up

Warm up session was used by many of the top team to practice driver changes, so they often did just one complete lap and turned to the pits over and over again. Probably for that reason the lowest time overall was set by SaraFree Maserati number 11 despite completing five measured laps, but most of the cars set some competitive laps. It was nice to see Reiter Lamborghini once again topping the results sheets, with the second Lamborghini supporting it in a fourth position. The 'quick' Aston Martin was second and number 2 of the Vitaphone Maseratis was the third. Enge in his Saleen was once again pretty slow compared to his standards (tenth overall) and Ferraris took top 6 in the GT2 class.

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FIA GT3 Race 2

The second race of GT3 cars was also a good show as the first one, fortunately this time without any accidents. Apart from the three crashed cars mentioned in the report from the first race, there was another non-starter in this race, and it was Porsche number 6, which retired at the end of the first race with lost wheel and damaged rear bodywork. The damages were probably beyond the ability of the team to repair the car, though it did not seem as serious at the first look. After the start, the pole-sitter Andy Thompson took the lead in the First Racing Lamborghini number 11 followed by Aston Martin number 26 and three Corvettes. But he later lost the pace, so in the lap 5 Riverside Corvette, the winner of the first race, took the lead closely followed by Martini Callaway Corvette of Pirri/von Gartzen, who had been second the day before. After the pit stops, they were followed by another Corvette for a while, but that driven by a slow second driver soon disappear from the podium position. On the other hand, the Lamborghini of Jiřík, now handed to Janiš, was quickly improving his original eighth position and six laps before the end of the race it ran comfortably fourth. The two Corvettes were far ahead of the rest of the field but the third running Ferrari number 38 (Vanellet/Moser), which was the third also the day before, was not so far ahead and Janiš took the challenge for a podium finish and showed a superb drive. He managed to overtook Vannelet in the last lap to the joy of thousands local spectators. Meanwhile, the two leading Corvettes swapped their positions, so they finished in reversed order compared to the Saturday's race.

The Main Race

The start of the race was not good for the Vitaphone team at all. Having taken the front row positions after qualifying, they were overtaken by JetAlliance Aston Martin driven by Karl Wendlinger in the first corners. While Bartels in number 1 Maserati was able to keep the second place, Montanari in number 2 Maserati was overtaken by Hezemans in Carsport Corvette, still in the first lap, and then by Kox in the Reiter Lamborghini in the second lap. Those five cars were followed by a SaraFree Maserati duo, a C5-R Corvette and second Lamborghini driven by a Charouz Lola star, Stefan Mücke. Three slower Aston Martins were next ahead of Tomas Enge in the old Saleen and a GT2 field, where we had Ferrari in top 5 at the moment. There were not any notable changes or actions until lap 14 when one of the SaraFree cars turned to the pits and the second Lamborghini overtook the Corvette ahead of it. More dramas came two laps later when Hezemans, after having been already attacking Bartels for the second position for some time, finally decided to move ahead and while being almost at the same line as the Maserati, Bartels decided to block his way in the inside of the first corner and the contact between the two cars became unavoidable. As a result of this, Hezemans in the Corvette had to go to the pits and lost one lap while Bartels needed more time to return from the gravel but continued without a pit stop. Kox in the Lamborghini number 28 spun as well while trying to avoid a contact with the two cars ahead.

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After that incident that eliminated the second, third and fourth car, at least for a while, we had an Aston Martin number 33 in a comfortable lead, Mantanari moved from fifth to the second and the rest was well off for the moment. But the situation became soon untransparent as various contenders started making the first of the two mandatory pit stops. Since the Maserati number 2 pitted much later then the leading Aston Martin and many of the other GT1 teams, Montanari found himself soon in a huge lead. During the pit stop period, the second place belonged gradually to the SaraFree Maserati number 11, then to the Corvette C5-R of Peka Racing driven by Kumpen before the JetAlliance Aston Martin took his lost position almost back after all top cars but Montanari had pitted. After Montanari finally went for his first pit stop in the middle of the race, the Aston Martin was back in the lead but just for a single lap. The Maserati had a great run and within one lap returned back to the lead, which it would never lose, even during the pit stop, when the situation looked as to be a short-lived lead for the Lamborghini number 7. After finally this Lambo made its second pit stop, the situation regarding positions was once again more transparent and the top five spots were fixed as follows: Maserati no.2, Aston Martin no.33, Lamborghini no.28, Maserati no.11 and Corvette no.4. It could have been a fine result for the Lamborghini make but a bad luck met the Lambo and it lost wheel a few minutes before the end of the race. Slow lap on three wheels and a pit stop stole all chances of podium result for the Reiter team. In the final four laps it was quickly closing a gap to the Maserati number 1 but in the worst possible moment for Lamborghini the race was stopped as per the new FIA GT rules. At the same moment the other Lamborghini was closing a gap and had another three cars within two seconds ahead.

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An interesting fact of the race was that all of the starting cars were classified in the finish, though two of them retired with eight minutes to go. The race in general was rather good, larger number of GT1 entries helped as well, it was good to see more than one entry in support classes G2 and even G3 (two Porsche were entered) and the winners, Montanari and Ramos, won their first race this season and became already sixth team/car that won a FIA GT race in 2007 in only eight race held so far, which is a good record, on the other hand, considering various performance adjustments and administrative manipulations with car weights, restrictors etc., this record loses a bit of its shine but it is still good, especially for those people, that are not aware of these performance games behind the scene. We would prefer having the same winner as in LMS races and quite clear rules but this time is probably gone and we have to prepare for TV shows whatever the price is. There are some big changes planned for GT racing in general, so despite the cars are now rather quick (and would be even better if there were no handicaps and restrictions) after the next season, we may see times by ten seconds a lap slower, because current GT1 and GT2 cars should be dropped in favour of new blood presented by GT3s. While they sometimes lap at the same pace as GT2 cars, at Brno they were about 5 seconds slower. But if some of the GT3 ballast and power reduction is removed (that should happen because cars will be divided by engine size, so at least bigger cars without ballast should become quicker), we could see some decent racing even without current GT1 cars.

Car by car report:


1 - Vitaphone Maserati

Driven by Michael Bartels who shared the car with championship leader Thomas Biagi started from Pole Position. But he was overtaken at the second corner. Then kept second position for 16 laps but was chased by Hezemans and in the 17th laps Hezemans in Carsport Corvette setup to overtake the Maserati in the first corner but Bartels cross his way and both cars ended in a spin. Bartels ended up in the gravel. Fortunately for him, he was moved back to the track within less than one lap and returned on 12th position. Seven laps later when Bartels pitted to hand the car over to Biagi, they were seventh overall. After leaving the pits the car was placed 13th one lap behind their team-mates in Maserati number 2, which had not pitted yet. During the rest of the race the car continuously progress back to 7th position having gained one spot after the third placed Lamborghini lost its front wheel. In the end Bartels, who was back at the wheel for the final twelve lap could be happy to keep the recovered Lamborghini behind and score two points for the championship.

2 - Vitaphone Maserati

Montanari and Ramos, who shared 8th position in the championship before the Brno race, had a lucky weekend. After taking a position in the front row on the grid, they managed to win, for the first time in the season, despite not being the fastest car in the race. Originally lost several places during the first two laps and circulated fifth for some time and moved to second after three cars ahead them collided and lost some time that they never gained back. The first driver changes worked well for the Maserati because Ramos was simply quicker than Sharp in the Aston Martin number 33, who could not keep the pace set by Wendlinger in the car. Ramos had such big lead at the time of the second pits top that he even did not lose the lead at all. After the win they moved to the fourth position in the championship.

4 - Peka Corvette

Older specification Corvette is still a good contender for the win in hand of Peka Racing and Kumpen with Longin. Running eighth ahead second Lamborghini and three of four starting Aston Martins in the early stages of the race was performance matching the pace of the car. When pitting in the 25th lap, it appeared to be second overall for a while. Though it was mainly because many of the leading cars pitted earlier, they were already the best placed Corvette in the race for some time. After the positions settled in the middle of the race, this Corvette was classified 6th but it was not all that the crew would show us. Having pitted from provisional third position ten laps before the end of the race, they returned eighth but improved each lap to fifth as other cars were making their final pits tops. Kumpen then gained another spot when the Reiter Lamborghini lost wheel and to laps later he secured podium finish after overtaking Bertolini in SaraFree Maserati number 11. So the crew repeated a good result from the first two races of the season.

5 - Carsport Corvette

It was the fastest of three Corvettes in the race and the only car in the newer C6 specification. The car was capable of winning considering a fact that Hezemans moved to third soon after the start and then attacked Bartels in the second Maserati while the leading Aston Martin would be slowed down after the driver change but the real life turned different way. Bartels blocked Hezemans who was simply quicker and chose the first corner for overtaking. After the car made a contact, Hezemans suffered a puncture and to move slowly to the pits. Returning on 20th spot there was no more a chance for a good result. In the end they managed to get 9th position but that was not enough even for a single point, mainly because the reliability of all cars was excellent and the race was a bit too short.

7 - All-Inkl Lamborghini

Slightly overshadowed by a performance of the other Lamborghini, Mücke with Bouchut still showed some good performance and in the end they were better of the two Lamborghinis in the finish, and despite being classified 6th, they could have been easily the third having the race been a little longer. The best moment for the car in the race was probably lap 46 when they ran second and were about to take the lead after the leading Maserati made its final pit stop. However, they lacked about a quarter of a second to overtake that Maserati that had already a huge lead and returned to the first position.

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11 - SaraFree Maserati

Bertolini and Piccini were closed second in the provisional championship standing prior to the Brno race started the race sixth keeping their team-mates behind but losing for top five cars, which ran a bit together in a group, each lap. After the collision of three cars in the first group they moved to the third spots but were regularly beaten by well driven Reiter Lamborghini number 28. After each series of pit stops the Lamborghini returned behind this Maserati but in both cases ran notably quicker, so this Maserati was overtaken the Lambo in the lap 32 and again in the lap 48. Luckily for the serious title contenders, the Lamborghini lost wheel and they move to the third. But, Bertolini was not able to keep well running Kumpen in a Corvette behind and thus have to share the lead in the championship with Biagi with a Vitaphone car.

12 - SaraFree Maserati

Lesser know crew Giannoccaro/Pier Guidi ran well during the early stages of the race keeping the pace with their team-mates but after relatively early pit stops they run deeper in the GT1 field for most part of the race only to return just behind their team-mates at the end of the race again to be classified as high as fifth, which was one of the best results of the season for the crew.

13 - RBimmo Saleen

Simply the biggest disappointment in the field. A lot of was expected of return of the Saleen make to the championship, especially when it was announced that the leading driver would be a local star Tomáš Enge who set here at Brno a Pole on a few occasions he raced here, but the old Konrad's car entered by the new sponsor was nowhere near the performance of modern GT1 cars. Enge was happy to keep it just ahead the Citation Cup GT1 entries and well as the F430 GT2 Ferraris but the situation was even worse after he handed the car over to his one-off co-driver Reinhard Kofler. In the end, the car was retired after front wheel bearings problems when Enge was back at the wheel running behind the GT2 leader. One of the weekends he would like to forget of...

15 - JMB Maserati

In fact a Citation Cup entry driven by real amateurs Kutemann & Gosse. They were known for being by far the slowest Ferrari last year in Brno, this time they might be remembered for driving by far the slowest Maserati in the field - if anybody noticed them at all...

16 - JMB Maserati

By far the fastest Citation Cup entry, in fact the only CC car running well ahead of GT2 Ferraris. This was mainly because of performance of former Group C driver Alain Ferté, whose best season was probably in 1990, when he was a member of factory Jaguar team and won his only World Championship race. He and Aucott, who shared the wheel with Ferté, were classified twelfth; some eleven positions ahead the next Citation Cup finisher.

18 - Selleslagh Corvette

Actually the car that dominated the last GT1 Belcar Championship in hands of Goossens and Hart is driven in FIA GT by gentlemen drivers Cloet/Casadei. For most part of the race they run behind most of the GT2 field but still ahead another Citation Cup entry, the Maserati number 15. But problems in the lap 36 caused they lost their second CC place and despite getting it back two laps later when Maserati number 15 pitted, their final pit stop moved them back to third, some nine seconds behind the Maserati.

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22 - BMS Aston Martin

The slower of the BMS entry driven by lesser known duo Toccarelo/Monfardini ran almost at the pace of their team colleagues, both behind the All-Inkl Lamborghini in the early stages of the race but lost some time in the middle of the race after the first series of pit stops in the lap 26. Both BMS car pitted very late together, while running the second and the third, but the car number 22 returned much later and never really recovered. Fifteenth position behind the two AF Corse GT2 Ferraris was not what the team deserved.

23 - BMS Aston Martin

Davies and Babini qualified the car ninth, which was far behind from what we should expect for the main Aston Martin Racing BMS entry. The race was not any better, in fact even worse. Davies maintained tenth position at the beginning of the race but as the race went by, second JetAlliance Aston Martin overtook them, so the duo was classified eleventh, a way far behind the points and the first car not finishing in the lead lap.

28 - Reiter Lamborghini

The biggest surprise of the race. The car set the best time in three sessions (second practice, warm up and the race), ran pretty well during the race, losing mainly in the pits, unfortunately but always improving their position at the track. Bad luck for Kox with Menten though. First they suffered a bit by the battle between Corvette no.5 and Maserati no.1 when Kox span it in an attempt to avoid further collision. Despite that the car moved to third during the race, running as high as second during the pit stop periods but suffered a lost wheel four laps before the finish. Eighth position in the finish less then a second behind the championship leader was really the worse results the well running team could wish. It is question if the Lamborghini development progressed or it was just the Brno track that suited the Lamborghinis.

33 - JetAlliance Aston Martin

The car was the only really quick Aston Martin and with Karl Wendlinger at the wheel it was the early leader in the race. Unfortunately his co-driver Sharp was not able to keep the pace and lost the lead to Maserati no.2. But it was still enough to keep the second place in the finish quite comfortably.

36 - JetAlliance Aston Martin

Second JetAlliance entry driven by Lichtner-Hoyer and Robert Lechner ran at the pace of both BMS Scuderia Italia cars. Though it started behind them as the race developed, both BMS cars were classified behind this. But tenth place in the finish was nowhere near the best results the crews had achieved this season.


50 - AF Corse Ferrari

GT2 Championship leaders, Dirk Müller and Toni Villander, took the GT2 Pole and then the class win, increasing the championship lead to more than 10 points, which is the portion for the win. With just two races to come till the end of the season, they are likely champions. They led most part of the race, losing the lead just during the middle period due to earlier pit stop then one of the Edil Cris Ferraris.

51 - AF Corse Ferrari

Bruni and Ortelli were third in the championship (or fifth depending on how the positions are assigned) before the race behind BMS Scuderia Italia Porsche drivers and their team colleagues Müller/Villander. They took third in class on the grid and then run usually second (or third during the pit stop periods) in the race, which they kept until the finish, and move to second in the Championship provisional classification. The team AF Corse claimed the Championship among GT2 team already at Brno.

52 - Edil Cris Ferrari

Actually a car that presented the main opposition of the AF Corse Ferraris. After only fifth GT2 qualifying time, they managed to move to second in the first lap but lost in the second to fall down to fifth once again but as the race progressed they improved and cross the line as the third in class after running second at the end of the race and even in the lead in the middle stages due their relatively late pit stops.

53 - Edil Cris Ferrari

This scar started from the pit lane because problems with the gearbox preventing the team take part in the qualifying session. After slightly below-average performance Cressolini/Linossi took eighth in class.

59 - Advanced Ferrari

A new team in the championship in a car driven by Aguas/Gattuso run as high as third in class in the early stages of the race but in the end they were only fifth, which was a little worse than the crew was capable of.

62 - Ecosse Ferrari

Second in GT2 on the grid, keeping the position during the early stages of the race, losing in the middle of the race and finally recovering to fourth in class. This is a short description as how Mullen with Turner battled in the race. Better of the two Scuderia Ecosse entries.

63 - Ecosse Ferrari

Kirkaldy and Niachros did not have a good day. After being the last qualified Ferrari, though still ahead of all present Porsches, they became also the 1st GT2 finisher in the race beating only the retired Tech9 Porsche, which had been running well ahead this car. No points for Kirkaldy this time, who is in the sixteenth position in the provisional championship standings.

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74 - Ebimotors Porsche

The Ebimotors team decided to make late pit stops and for this reason it was seen rather high in the classification during the most part of the race (measured by the current Porsche standards) but in the end Zani and Pompidou got only two points for the championship after finishing seventh in class.

97 - BMS Porsche

Actually the fastest of the three GT2 Porsches, Malucelli and Collard were second in the championship before the Brno race but the track probably really did not suit the Porsches well. Though they were best Porsche in qualifying practice, it was not sufficient for better than seventh grid spot. In the race they ran as high as fifth before making a pit stop, actually one of the earliest one, and then ran almost at the end of the GT2 field gaining the sixth class position and best Porsche honour in the very late stages of the race when the Porsche number 74 of team Ebimotors made its final pit stop. It was a really bad result for a team that was lying on the second spot in the championship tables before the race, after a real success at Spa 24 Hours where the double points are given. Now they are third, still with a chance of winning the championship, though more likely they will just find for the second with the lower AF Corse entry.

99 - Tech9 Porsche

This Porsche run only ahead the two Cup cars from the G3 class (after being overtaken by the Ferrari that started from the pit lane) and was the first car to make a pit stop. In was in lap 5. Then it improved, overtaking even all G2 entrants including the former GT1 Saleen or the slowest Maserati from Citation Cup but before the race ended the car suffered two spins to the gravel, then returned to the pits but was retired just eight minutes before the end of the race. It was still classified 30th, the last of all.

101 - Belgian Gillet Vertigo

Usual Group 2 class winner found an opposition in this race and since it was more or less GT2 specification car while the other G2 entry, Saleen S7-R, was former GT1 car, it was not much surprising that the Gillet was outpaced by the class newcomer. Gillet led its class just the first two laps, and then just once for a moment during pit stops.

108 - ARC Saleen

It was good to see the Saleen make back in the championship. Though this car was even much slower than the Enge's car, nobody really expected much from this Slovakian entry. It was regularly quickest cars among the Group 2/3 entrants and after it proved to be reliable enough, Saleen could claim at least the class win beating the class regulars Gillet Vertigo of Leinders/Kuppens.

177 - G Private Porsche

A welcomed addition to the field. A new team fielded two cars in the Group 3 class, which is hardly ever supported in the Championship outside the Spa 24 Hours. Despite the cars were much slower than the rest of the field, the team enjoyed the race and plans to return back, maybe for the whole season.

178 - G Private Porsche

The second GT3 entry actually led for the most part of the race and in the end won by a margin more than one lap. Interesting fact about his car was a fact that it was driven by the 1992 Olympic gold-medal winner in downhill skiing Partick Ortlieb.

Random Photo
61 - Chevrolet Corvette - Bob Kiefer