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SRT enjoys a sparkling weekend in Paul Ricard

SRT enjoys a sparkling weekend in Paul Ricard

05.10.2009: Bert Longin and James Ruffier provided SRT with a second podium in the FIA GT championship. Following on from their victory in Portugal two weeks earlier the SRT Corvette C6.R this time around took the chequered

SRT – FIA GT 2009



Bert Longin and James Ruffier provided SRT with a second podium in the FIA GT championship. Following on from their victory in Portugal two weeks earlier the SRT Corvette C6.R this time around took the chequered flag in third place of this seventh meeting of the 2009 championship. Bert Longin and James Ruffier are now in a strong third place of this highly thought of FIA GT championship. On this same circuit SRT also competed in the eleventh and twelfth race of the French FFSA GT championship, where the Belgian team scored a pole position, a second place and a victory no less. For SRT definitely a brilliant weekend.

In qualifying the SRT Corvette C6.R of Bert Longin and James Ruffier came fourth and best of the Corvettes for this seventh FIA GT race of the season held at Paul Ricard. It was the reigning FIA GT3 champion James Ruffier who drove the qualifying session in front of his home crowd. “I reckon the car will perform perfectly over the long run”, the Frenchman confidently commented after the session. “The Corvette is improving by the minute and I really feel on top of the world on this fast circuit. Tomorrow we’re going out for a podium spot!”

Ruffier took the start and drove a regular and fast first stint. The Frenchman slotted himself in up front and battled it out defending his third place. After some forty minutes he handed the wheel over to Longin. “I just needed a little time to find my rhythm”, the Leuven based driver commented, “seeing I hadn’t clocked up enough driving time during the free practice sessions. But after some five laps I regained my confidence and carried on with the good work my French team-mate had put in, who drove brilliantly later on. We kept our sights on that third podium place which was important with a view to the championship.”

And SRT did what was asked of it. Once again the team ensured a perfect strategy, carrying out two fast pit stops and Ruffier was back on the track in fourth spot. In the last part of the race the Frenchman still managed to climb up one place, which allowed SRT, with Ruffier and Longin, to climb up on to the podium once again.



“’I’m truly happy”, a beaming Ruffier stated at the press conference. “We’re back on the podium, and on top of that we’re confident, the car is running perfectly and we have retained our third place in the championship. I’m certain that we have an added advantage with Bert’s knowledge of Zolder and you can expect to see us battling up front once again.”

Longin and Ruffier are presently ranked third in the intermediate championship rankings, a place which they will defend with nail and tooth at Circuit Zolder on 24th and 25th October.

RESULT
:

1. Bernoldi/Streit Corvette C6.R
2. Müller/Ramos Maserati MC 12
3. Longin/Ruffier Corvette C6.R

INTERMEDIATE RANKINGS:


1. Bertolini/Bartels Maserati MC 12         49
2. Kumpen/Hezemans Corvette C6.R         45
3. Longin/Ruffier Corvette C6.R        35      

   

FFSA GT


Included in the seventh FIA GT meeting of the season the French GT championship was also on hand for their sixth weekend of the season. It turned out to be a splendid weekend for SRT, with a pole for the young French newcomer Stéphane Richelmi, a second place on Saturday in Race 1 and a brilliant victory on Sunday for Stéphane Richelmi and Eric Cayrolle.

In the first race of the FFSA GT meting at Paul Ricard the SRT Corvette C6.R with Stéphane Richelmi and Eric Cayrolle finished in second place. The SRT-youngster Stéphane Richelmi took a brilliant start and drove a cracking race at the wheel of the Belgian C6.R and it appeared as though the SRT-duo Richelmi-Cayrolle were out to win, unfortunately a race incident in the final lap with Olivier Panis threw a spanner in the works.

Stéphane Richelmi: “I’m pretty pleased with my debut, just a pity about the incident. Otherwise I reckon we could have won the race. But OK, such things can happen. I’m also impressed with the manner in which Panis apologised. A true gentleman! “



On Sunday everything went to plan and Stéphane Richelmi and Eric Cayrolle won the second FFSA GT race of the weekend in Paul Ricard. With their Belgian SRT Corvette they finished ahead of the similar DKR car of Olivier Panis and Eric Debard as also the DKR Corvette C5-R driven by Police and Cazenave.

Initially up front it appeared as though Debard was controlling matters after the mandatory driver change; however the revelation of the weekend, namely the 19 year old Stéphane Richelmi, managed to close the gap.  The son of the renowned rally driver Jean Pierre Richelmi, who competes in the Italian F3 series, was driving a GT for the first time and most definitely left his mark. In the final lap the young man overtook Debard giving SRT what it had already so rightly deserved the day before.

The French GT championship concludes on 17th and 18th October Ledenon.


- SRT - also photos

Permanent-URL: http://www.automobilsport.com/fiagt-srt-corvette-paul-ricard-bert-longin-james-ruffier-patrick-selleslagh-ffsa-championship---70931.html

05.10.2009 / MaP

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