14 September, 2008
The CR Scuderia team was left frustrated at Brno today when the pole position no.56 CRS Ferrari was forced into retirement on the first lap of the two-hour race. Dirk Müller was left with nowhere to go when a Maserati span in front of him and the front-end damage sustained was enough to finish the race for him and Andrew Kirkaldy.
“Wrong place, wrong time!” said Dirk. “I got a good start but as I went into turn one I had Collard’s Porsche on the inside and Bruni’s Ferrari in the outside. That was okay but suddenly I had a spinning Maserati in front of me; I had nowhere left to go so I had no choice but to t-bone it pretty hard and that was effectively the end of my race. I made it back to the pits but there was too much damage to continue. It’s very disappointing to retire from a race when it is not your fault. Sometimes this happens in motorsport and it is a shame as we should have been on for a good result. I would like to thank the team for the weekend; I believe we had the car and the team to win the race today.”
During the lap one mêlée, Tim Mullen managed to make his way up from fourth to second, behind Championship leader, Gimmi Bruni. By the end of his stint he was fifth though, as Tim explains:
“Collard took a lunge at me at the last corner,” said Tim. “Then, while we were battling, the two cars behind us got through and I ended up slipping to fifth when we went four abreast into turn one.”
Thirty minutes into the race Mullen pitted to hand the no.55 car over to Chris Niarchos in fifth place. Once the first pit-stops were complete Niarchos found himself in ninth place and enjoying a great battle with Jamie Davies in the Ecosse Ferrari. The more experienced Davies was unable to find a way by the on-form Niarchos and had to follow him until Chris pitted with 50 minutes to go.
“I enjoyed my battle with Jamie,” said Chris. “But the end result was a bit of a strange one. We were strong during the first two stints but fell back at the end. We finished on the same lap as the leader but we’ll have to look into why we were struggling for pace at the end.
“Coming here after Bucharest we were expecting a much better result,” continued Niarchos. “Dirk’s retirement was unfortunate but it was nothing to do with him; he did a fantastic job for the team and these things just happen in motorsport.”
The next round of the FIA GT Championship takes place in three weeks time at Nogaro in France.