16 October, 2009
The FIA GT and FIA GT3 Championship seasons reach their climax this weekend and the CRS Racing team has been working around the clock to prepare for three very important races at Zolder in Belgium.
In the FIA GT Championship, CRS Racing is fighting with Prospeed Competition for the runner-up spot in the GT2 Team’s standings. CRS is 10 points behind so it would be a very tall order to overhaul the Porsche team but anything can happen in the world of motorsport.
The team is running a revised driver line-up this weekend as Chris Niarchos’ business commitments are keeping him away from Zolder. Taking Chris’ place alongside Tim Mullen in the No.55 CRS Ferrari is Antonio Garcia. The Spaniard was an obvious choice for CRS after his stellar performance earlier this year at the Spa 24 Hours, as Andrew Kirkaldy explains:
“Antonio was quick for us at Spa and he knows the car well. He and Tim will make a strong pairing which will give us the chance to score maximum points this weekend. Zolder was a good track for us last year. We were quick in testing and after taking pole position we were looking forward to having a good race. Unfortunately we were taken out at the first corner so we never got the result we wanted. It’s so hard to say how this weekend will go; we’ve had a difficult season but we are staying positive and hoping for a happy ending to 2009.”
After the cancellation of the Dubai event, the FIA GT3 teams will be racing at Zolder, alongside the Belgian GT Championship. With so many cars taking the start of the two one-hour races on Sunday the organisers have opted for a split grid i.e. one grid for FIA GT3 and another for Belgian GT, with a time delay between them. It should make for some interesting racing but ! hopefully for CRS there will be a little less drama than during race one at Paul Ricard recently.
After Phil Quaife’s accident at Ricard, the chassis of the No.56 Ferrari 430 Scuderia was damaged beyond economic repair so the team immediately began calculating how to get a car ready in time for Zolder, in just two and a half weeks, shortening a process that normally takes five or six weeks.
The first job was for the team to make the 2,000 mile round trip to Modena to collect a new body shell which had been arranged for the team by Ferrari GB, who pulled out all the stops to help with the rebuild. On the return leg a quick meeting with Kessel Racing and then a trip to Graypaul, the Ferrari dealer in Nottingham, saw the team collect all the necessary parts to complete the car.
On arrival at the CRS Technical Centre in Bardon, the new shell then went straight into the Paint Shop for a day to be painted with the familiar red, white ! and blue CRS colours. The mechanics now have just a few days to attach every bolt, part and widget before rolling the car out for a shakedown at Mallory Park next Wednesday. The car will then go onto the truck for the run down to Zolder, ready to race.
GT2 Ferrari No.55: Tim Mullen (GB) & Antonio Garcia (ESP)
GT2 Ferrari No.56: Andrew Kirkaldy (GB) & Rob Bell (GB)
GT3 Ferrari No.55: Klaas Hummel (NETH) & Chris Goodwin (GB)
GT3 Ferrari No.56: Phil Quaife (GB) & Danny van Dongen (NETH)
FIA GT CHAMPIONSHIP – ROUND 8
Free Practice: Saturday 0905-1025
Pre-Qualifying: Saturday 1440-1530
Qualifying: Saturday 1715-1750
Warm-up: Sunday 1005-1035
Race: Sunday 1315-1515
FIA GT3 CHAMPIONSHIP – ROUNDS 11 & 12
Free Practice 1: Friday 1405-1505
Free Practice 2: Friday 1545-1645
Qualifying: Saturday 144! 0-1530
Race 1: Sunday 1100-1200
Race 2: Sunday 1710-1810
The Zolder round of the FIA GT Championship will be shown LIVE on Motors TV on Sunday 25 October. Please check listings for final timings.
LIVE TIMING & RESULTS: