An incident-packed, mixed weather race in Czechoslovakia saw a debut win for the Zakspeed Saleen team, moving their drivers to the top of the championship. With the top five cars covered by less than two minutes after three hours of hard racing, it was another GT race to remember.
Michelin-shod, the number 5 Phoenix Racing Aston Martin DBR9 of Andrea Piccini and Jean-Denis Deletraz led the race for the first 13 laps, eventually finishing second after a race-long battle with the similar car from the BMS Scuderia Italia Team of Gollin and Babini that finished third. "The third place was the maximum for today, but very soon it is going to be possible to fight for the first place," Fabio Babini explained afterwards.
The first dozen or so laps apart, it was Zakspeed Racing's duo of Jarek Janis and Sascha Bert (the runners-up at Silverstone) who dominated the second round of the FIA GT Championship. Their number 9 Saleen S7 was fastest in free practice; Jarek Janis claimed pole position, as well as the fastest race lap.
Maserati were unable to repeat their performance at the British circuit, of the two-car Vitaphone Team MC12s, the Bartels/Bertolini pairing finished a close fourth, having had trouble lapping a 'wide' Bouchut-Walchofer-Kox Lamborghini Murcielago GTR, while the number 2 Maserati of Biagi and Davies was given a 30-second penalty, for 'causing an avoidable accident'. The stewards' decision has been appealed by the team.
In GT2 the JMB GruppeM Ferrari 430 GT2 of Tim Sugden and Iradj Alexander won a superb race, coming up from 5th to first in the last few laps. The Scottish Scuderia Ecosse Ferraris had proved front runners but an accident between Andrew Kirkaldy in the number 62 car and the then leading number 59 AF Corse Ferrari 430 GT2, together with tyre problems in the sister number 63 car, saw Sugden/Alexander come to the front.
The next FIA GT race is on 02/07/2006 at Oschersleben, Germany.
Aston Martin Racing fans can download the latest regular newsletter in .pdf format describing the marque's 2006 international competition programme called 'Racing Line', HERE that includes not only news from Brno GT1 but also GT3, ALMS and Speed GT World Challenge.
1 Bert/Janis Saleen S7R 88 laps
2 Deletraz/Piccini Aston Martin DBR9 88 laps -1:00.808
3 Gollin/Babini Aston Martin DBR9 88 laps -1:02.622
4 Bartels/Bertolini Maserati MC12 GT1 88 laps -1:03.324
5 Pescatori/Ramos Aston Martin DBR9 88 laps -1:50.726
6 Bouchut/Kox Lamborghini Murcielago GTR 87 laps -1 LAP
Story: Classic Driver
Photos: FIA GT/Maserati - Strictly Copyright
ClassicInside - The Classic Driver Newsletter