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FIA GT3: The Audi R8 LMS scores a podium spot in its FIA GT3 debut at Silverstone

The Phoenix Racing Audi R8 LMS of Christopher Haase took over the lead at Piory on lap 22, stretched it out to 1.6sec gap… then transmission problems forced the car to retire. 10 more laps and the Audi R8 LMS would have its first win of the year. It was the #32 Team Rosberg Audi R8 LMS of Nicolas Armindo and Cesar Campanico that was also having at battle at the front, even skating across grass at one point, but holding onto a third place finish! The #27 Phoenix Racing Audi R8 LMS of Lloyd La Marca and Jean-Denis Deletraz rounded out the Top 10.

Audi R8 LMS (Team Rosberg), Nicolas Armindo/Cesaro Campanico

Dimitri Enjalbert and Johan-Boris Scheier celebrated the maiden win for the AutoGT Racing Morgan Super Super in the opening round of the FIA GT3 European Championship at Silverstone. Starting from pole position Enjelbert briefly lost the lead but bounced back to hold the advantage until Scheier came under pressure late in the race from the Phoenix Racing Audi R8 LMS of Christopher Haase. The German swept into the lead on lap 22, but a technical problem forced the Audi into the pits to retire, promoting Scheier back into the lead, which he held until the flag.

Round 1
Gearbox failure forced the #8 Kessel Racing Ferrari 430 Scuderia of Andrea Palma and Stefano Gattuso to miss the start, so the Morgan Aero Super Sport of Dimitri Enjalbert led the thirty-six car field around the 5.14 kilometre Silverstone Grand Prix circuit but as the lights went out it was the Hexis Racing AMR Aston Martin of Thomas Accary that got the better start and led as the cars swept around Copse for the first time, with the Morgan glued to rear of the leaders car. Enjalbert got the better run into Maggotts and retook the lead as the field headed out of Becketts and down the long Hanger Straight. Christopher Mies in the Phoenix Racing Audi R8 LMS also got ahead of the Team Rosberg Audi of Nicolas Armindo and set off after the second placed Aston Martin. Further back the Morgan of Gael Lesoudier had moved into 5th place but a spin at Brooklands on lap 2 put the French driver back down the order.

On lap 3 Walter Salles in the #1 Matech GT Racing spun at Maggotts, taking to the grass but was collected by the unfortunate James Gornall in the #10 Brixia Racing Aston Martin DBRS9, which damaged the Aston’s radiator and forced the British GT champion to retire. Jaromir Jirik also managed to miss the spinning Ford GT in the Muehlner Motorsport Porsche 997 GT3 Cup S.

Enjalbert led from Accary, who was coming under pressure from Mies and Armindo in the two Audi R8s. The top four started to open a gap to the 5th placed car of Christoffer Nygaard in the #28 Fischer Racing Ford GT and the #33 Team Rosberg Audi R8 LMS of Martin Matzke. 

On lap 8 Luca Moro retired in the #6 Callaway Competition Corvette Z06R, pulling off the circuit at Club. There was also contact between Manuel Rodrigues in the #4 Hexis Racing AMR Aston Martin DBRS9 and Csaba Walter in the Alpina BMW Alpina B6 GT3, with the Aston suffering from damage to the front suspension which forced Rodrigues into the pits to retire.

Dimitri Enjalbert opened a small gap to the following Aston Martin, ending lap 11 nearly two seconds ahead as Accary was forced to defend his second place from Mies and Armindo.

The pitstop window opened on lap 12 and Jaromir Jirik and Csaba Walter were the first two cars into the pitlane for their mandatory pitstop. Meanwhile 4th placed Nicolas Armindo challenged Mies for third on the exit of Stowe and on the entry to Club had to take the grass as he appeared to outbrake himself. The Audi speared across the grass on the inside of Club corner and rejoined the track still in 4th but losing a lot of time to the Phoenix Racing Audi.

On lap 16 Enjalbert and Mies came into the pits for their stops to hand over to Johan-Boris Scheier and Christopher Haase respectively, with Accary continuing for one lap in the lead before pitting to hand over the car to Julien Rodrigues. Scheier rejoined the track in the lead of the race with Rodrigues in second and Haase right on the tail of the Aston Martin.

On lap 18 the Phoenix Racing Audi swept past the Aston Martin at Abbey and rapidly closed the gap to the leading Morgan. Haase made his move at Priory on lap 22 passing the Morgan on the inside of the lefthander. Haase then opened up a 1.6 second gap and looked good to take the first win of the year but a suspected transmission problem forced the car to slow down on lap 25 and Scheier moved back into the lead as the Audi went into the pitlane to retire.

The gap from the leading Morgan and the second placed Aston Martin was nine seconds with a further seventeen seconds to Cesar Campanico now at the wheel of the #32 Team Rosberg Audi R8. Behind the leaders the battle was for 5th place as Diego Alessi struggled with his Marc Sourd Racing Corvette Z06R and was passed by Tim Bergmeister in the Muehlner Motorsport Porsche and then the #101 Morgan of Maxime Martin.
The chequered flag signalled a debut FIA GT3 win for the Morgan Aero Super Sport, for AutoGT Racing, Dimitri Enjalbert and Johan-Boris Scheier. 

TOP 10 Results: 2009 Round 1 – Silverstone (Complete results here)

Race 1 Result
Pos Car Class Drivers Car Time Laps Gap Avg
1 100 M Enjalbert/Scheier Morgan Aero Super Sport 1:00:41.724 31 157.56
2 3 AM Accary/Rodrigues Aston Martin DBRS9 1:00:52.226 31 10.502 157.11
3 32 AU Armindo/Campanico Audi R8 LMS 1:01:05.657 31 23.933 156.53
4 28 FGT Nygaard/Gruber Ford GT 1:01:10.112 31 28.388 156.34
5 18 P Jirik/Bergmeister Porsche 911 GT3 Cup S 1:01:12.413 31 30.689 156.24
6 101 M Lesoudier/Martin Morgan Aero Super Sport 1:01:18.637 31 36.913 155.98
7 2 FGT De Doncker/Lunardi Ford GT 1:01:21.495 31 39.771 155.86
8 24 B Walter/Huertgen BMW Alpina B6 GT3 1:01:27.507 31 45.783 155.60
9 17 C Pirri/Alessi Corvette Z06R GT3 1:01:30.690 31 48.966 155.47
10 27 AU La Marca/Deletraz Audi R8 LMS 1:01:36.170 31 54.446 155.24
Session Notes
Weather Sunny
Track conditions Dry

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