17 May, 2009
Motor racing is a sport with many ups and downs and unfortunately at Adria today the downs outweighed the ups for CRS Racing. The weekend did have it’s high points though with Chris Niarchos winning the Citation Cup trophy and Klaas Hummel having the time of his life in his first ever GT3 races.
Saturday was hard work for the team with two qualifying sessions and three races to cram into one day. Race one was for the GT3 team. Klaas Hummel got a cracking start and was running very well until he was unceremoniously taken out by an Audi. He recovered and meanwhile Robert Hissom was charging up the field before it was time to hand over to team-mate Phil Quaife. Unfortunately for Phil he had a race-ending ‘off’ when he spun on some oil from another car. By this point Chris Goodwin had taken over from Klaas but he too retired, not due to overheating brakes but as a result of damage sustained when the car took the hit from the Audi.
Qualifying for the FIA GT race had only produced eighth place on the grid for Tim Mullen and ninth for Rob Bell but a hectic race start came good for the two CRS GT2 Ferraris. Tim Mullen got a blinding start in No.55, moving up to third place, and Andrew Kirkaldy got No.56 up to fifth. The opening laps of the race saw Mullen battling to stay in third and Kirkaldy fighting with understeer, which eventually tipped him into a spin. He soon recovered though and set off after the pack. Rob Bell and Chris Niarchos took over for the middle section of the race, both running well as night fell in Adria. Mullen and Kirkaldy took over for the run to the flag and brought the cars home in sixth and seventh places respectively.
At the post race press conference Chris Niarchos talked about the race and his Citation Cup victory.
“The start of the race was fantastic to watch. It looked like a pinball machine going off! I’m pleased as punch to take the Citation Cup win; it’s great as it gives amateur racers like me a chance to shine a little. It’s a real pleasure to drive with these guys (the race winners). Our pro car (No.56) is not as good as we would like it to be but we will go away from here and work out what we need to do to get it back to the top.”
Andrew Kirkaldy added: “On the positive side we scored points with both cars in GT2 and came away without any damage. We have a bit to think about before the next race though. We realise there is work to be done but we will go testing before Oschersleben and try to get it all worked out.”
The second GT3 race began at 2230hrs so it was fully dark at Adria. Phil Quaife had qualified right up in third place and got away well at the start whilst Chris Goodwin, who started from 12th, moved up to ninth place. Unfortunately for Chris he was tapped into a spin, which sent him right to the back of the field. He didn’t waste anytime fighting his way back through the field though and was just getting into top 10 territory when he came in for the handover to Klaas Hummel. Phil meanwhile had to retire when his battery stopped charging, putting an end to a great run and a potential podium result for him and Robert Hissom. The second half of the race was all-action with cars retiring left right and centre, bodywork flying into the air and a lot more ‘rubbing’. Hummel took the No.55 car all the way to flag, emerging unscathed from his first ever night-time race.
The next round of the FIA GT and FIA GT3 Championships takes place at Oschersleben in Germany on 20/21 June.