After two weeks off, Rounds 9/10 of the FIA GT3 kicked off at the Slovakia Ring. With that said, Reiter Engineering headed straight to the front with pole positions in both qualifying sessions. Albert von Thurn und Taxis laid down a 02:02.058 to Federico Leo’s 02:02.059 in the Corse Ferrari 458… yes thats a difference of 0.001. Top Porsche was down in seventh and top Audi was in eleventh.
In Q2, Stefan Rosina topped with a 02:01.076 in his first GT3 outing. In this session the top Audi was 7th and top Porsche was 14th.
The two qualifying sessions for Rounds 9 & 10 of the 2011 FIA GT3 European Championship at the Slovakia Ring belonged to the Reiter Engineering team as both their Lamborghini Gallardos took pole position.
In the first session Albert von Thurn und Taxis claimed his second pole of the season in the nr24 Reiter Lamborghini by the narrowest of margins, finishing just 0.001s ahead of championship leader Federico Leo in the nr50 AF Corse Ferrari 458. Dominik Baumann will head the second row in this afternoon’s race in the nr44 Heico Racing Mercedes Benz SLS AMG, with the nr4 Graff Racing Mercedes of Gregoire Demoustier lining up alongside the Austrian.
The second qualifying period Slovakia’s Stefan Rosina took pole position in the nr25 Reiter Engineering Lamborghini Gallardo in his first ever FIA GT3 race. Rosina finished 0.027s ahead of Jarek Janis in the nr11 Gravity Charouz Racing Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG, the Czech driver and team enjoying racing so close to home. Nick Catsburg posted the third fastest time the nr36 Faster Racing by DB Motorsport BMZ Z4 after posting the provisional pole time on the first flying lap of the session. Catsburg will line up on row 2 alongside the nr50 AF Corse Ferrari 458 of Francesco Castellacci.
Both sessions were interrupted by red flags. The first qualifying period was halted to clear debris from the track after the nr21 MTECH Motorsport Ferrari of Duncan Cameron went off at Turn 9, bringing gravel onto the circuit as he made his way back to the pits. In the second session Joe Osbornes United Autosports Audi R8 ended up in the tyre wall at the same corner and had to be recovered before the session could resume.
Nr24 Reiter Engineering Lamborghini Gallardo LP600
Albert von Thurn und Taxis: “It’s a difficult but exciting track. I’m here for the first time, so I’m really happy about it. It was incredibly close. The three of us are in the same hundredth, so I think that’s pretty impressive. I’m very happy to have this second pole of the year. The track looks more difficult than it is. The first time you go around, you think, okay this is going to be my downfall, but once you get into the rhythm of it, the more difficult looking sessions become quite intuitive, but you do need to be careful not to underestimate a couple of corners, because there are a couple of very fast corners where, if you do make a mistake, you end up hurting the car badly, and therefore, I think it’s quite an exciting track, and I think the jump just gives it something that you don’t have in other normal tracks around Europe. We’ve been looking at the data and learning from Stefan Rosina, who’s an old pro, and knows his way around here like his home. It was definitely a good help for us.”
Nr25 Reiter Engineering Lamborghini Gallardo LP600
Stefan Rosina: “I think that it’s a privilege for me to be a part of this championship, because it’s really competitive. I also have to thank the team, because if you start for your first time in qualifying or on a new set of tyres, the car is really difficult to handle, there is no chance to be able to fight for the top three. I also have to thank our team mate, because they helped us a lot with our driving style. We are pretty happy, but this is just the beginning. The race is one hour long. There are still a lot of things needed to be successful. I would say that all the Slovakian drivers have done 100% more mileage than the others around this track, so I think that all of us sitting here will be quick in the race and that it will be a tough fight. We have to be really happy, because, two years ago there was not circuit here, so I’m really happy that this is happening here and to be a part of it. I’ve been racing outside of Slovakia for some time now, so I’m happy to be at home and actually sleep in my own bed.”
Round 9 of the FIA GT3 European Championship will take place at 14:45 (local time) this afternoon, with Round 10 due to start at 11:15 on Sunday morning.