FIA GT - Round 3 Adria, Italy
The third meeting of the FIA GT championship was on the agenda this last weekend, held at the Italian Adria circuit, in the vicinity of Venice. A few weeks earlier ProSpeed Competition had clinched an excellent victory in Monza and headed off full of ambitions to the sinuous and slow track located on the east coast of the peninsula.
Both ProSpeed-teams, Collard - Westbrook and Palttala – Forsten, drove a strong race in Adria, but a broken headlight for Collard – Westbrook and a faulty transmission for the Finnish duo didn’t provide ProSpeed with the hoped for result. Collard and Westbrook finally ended on a deserved fifth place, whereas the Finns were forced to abandon their car at the side of the track.
For ProSpeed both the practice as also the qualifying sessions ran smoothly, Collard and Westbrook finally slotting their car into second place on the grid. "We were a mere 14- thousandsth away from pole, proving that competitiveness in the GT2 field is pretty hot", team manager Rudi Penders explains.
Palltala and Forsten also drove strongly in qualifying, clocking up a time within one second of the pole position, but which only represented an eleventh place on the starting grid.
"This must undoubtedly be the ultimate proof of the strength of this championship", Penders continues. "Our two Finns had found the right rhythm, drove strongly and for the outsiders this eleventh place must seem rather disappointing, but not in our eyes.
Every tenth of a second is important in GT2, and here we have some top players racing against one another. If you’re then able to come to within less than a second of the fastest driver it means that you have driven extremely well."
Initially the race itself went well for both Porsches 997 GT3 RSR. Manu Collard had a great start and immediately took over the lead from the AF Corse Ferrari. This resulted in a close battle for the lead. After the driver change-over Richard Westbrook managed to keep the leaders in his sights. Westbrook and Collard were looking for a second consecutive podium place.
However the race at Adria ends as dusk sets in, and the headlights need to be switched on. "And the venom was in the tail", Rudi Penders adds. "The left headlight on the Collard and Westbrook Porsche gave up the ghost, and we were obliged to come in earlier than scheduled.
In the first instance we obviously lost some time replacing the headlight, but due to this earlier pit stop our stint was extended and after two hours of racing our tyres had definitely seen better days.
When it comes down to tyres and brakes Adria is an absolute hell, because it boils down to having to continuously accelerate and then brake hard. No way could we have achieved anything better than a fifth place. But all in all we have scored some valuable points. We also know that we’re competitive, the perfect position to be in for the upcoming race in Germany."
Markus Palttala and Mikael Forsten also drove an intense race and we’re up in seventh place when the transmission threw in the towel after an exhausting battle on the sinuous track. The Finns had high hopes of scoring some points, a perfect reward for their hard work this weekend. Unfortunately technical matters thought differently.
ProSpeed are now preparing for Porsche’s home race, being held at Oschersleben in a fortnight’s time. The GT3s will also be present on this German circuit for their third meeting of the year. David Loix – Stéphane Lémeret and Rudi Penders – Franz Lamot will once again be on hand to put in some strong performances.
1. Bruni/Vilander Ferrari F430 93 laps
2. Biagi/Montanari Ferrari F430 93 laps
3. Malucelli/Ruberti Ferrari F430 93 laps
5. Collard/Westbrook Porsche 911 GT3 RS (997) 93 laps
11. Palttala/Forsten Porsche 911 GT3 RS (997) 82 laps
- JF Van Laere, photos ProSpeed -
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