12h Italy Mugello: Adrian Amstutz takes Stadler Motorsport to fastest qualifying time

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12h Italy Mugello: Adrian Amstutz takes Stadler Motorsport to fastest qualifying time

12h Italy Mugello: Adrian Amstutz takes Stadler Motorsport to fastest qualifying time

14.03.2014: Stadler Motorsports, the team which won the Dubai 24 Hours, is trying hard to score a double

Stadler Motorsports, the team which won the Dubai 24 Hours, is trying hard to score a double in the 24H Series. Adrian Amstutz’s time of 1:50.407 means that the number 20 Porsche 997 GT3 R will start today’s 12 Hours from pole position.

The time was set early but remained under threat as several teams came quite close to the top spot. The race promises to provide close competition as two Ferrari entries, (Scuderia Praha and AF Corse) and two Mercedes-Benz entries (Hofor Racing and GDL Racing) regularly swapped quick times during an action packed 90-minute qualifying session.

A big surprise came from the number 19 GDL Racing Porsche. Although it is “only” a 997 class car, it was quickly amongst the faster A6 class entries. Marco Mapelli ended up sixth overall in the 37-car starting grid and best in class.

Almost equally surprising was a great early effort by Jeremy Reymond in the number 57 GC Autombile entry which took the SP2 class pole and was briefly in the overall lead. There was a thrilling late session battle in the SP3 class. It was waged between several Ginettas with the Italian based Nova Racing team coming out on top, Maurizio Copetti recording a fine 2:00.992.

Most teams adopted a quite easy approach at the start of qualifying. With a full 90 minutes ahead of them only about 10 cars elected to take to the track during the opening minutes. The first flying lap was a very modest 2:02.013 by the No. 57 GC Automobile SP2 class silhouette special. This improved to a more representative 1:53.618 about 10 minutes later.

This is already well under the 1:55 reference time set for the class. The race regulations include a sliding scale of reference times for the SP2 and SP3 classes—slower cars are rewarded with slightly higher fuel capacity allowances.

The first proper lapping began about 20-25 minutes into the session when the Stadler Porsche vaulted to the top with an impressive 1:50.972, ratcheting a bit quicker two laps later with a 1:50.497.

There was a bit of drama when the AF Corse Ferrari, which had been fourth quickest, came to a dead halt on the racing line. Local waving yellows allowed everyone to avoid the No. 7 car and it continued under its own power about 30 seconds later.

The No. 3 Fach Auto Tech Porsche improved to 1:53.330, demoting the otherwise impressive No. 57 GC to third overall. Then it was the Porsche’s turn to stop at the same spot as had the Ferrari.

Apart from the SP2 class leading GC the other cars in the top eight overall were all A6 class entries. Three Mercedes (Hofor No. 1, GDL No. 5, and Car Collection No. 2) were swapping places with the No. 9 Scuderia Praha Ferrari. The Car Collection Mercedes spent most of the earlier practice period in the pits repairing a broken shock mount.

The GDL team Porsche, No. 18, was another quick runner in the 997 class from ninth overall. It was chased by the No. 17 Ruffier Racing entry. At about the one hour mark of the session the French entered Porsche moved ahead with a 1:58.285.

The other class leaders included the No. 63 Speedworks Ginetta, sitting atop SP3 with a 2:00.992 by Christian Dick at 11th overall. It was also the first car not to have broken the two-minute barrier. The Red Camel Audi R8 (No. 51) and the No. 67 Nova Race Ginetta were in close contention for that class’ pole position.

The RTR Projects BMW E46 M3 GTR was quickest in A5 at 2:03.221 (14th overall). Its main competition, the No. 208 Team Altran Peugeot 208 GTi was just a fraction slower. The most rapid diesel powered car was the other Red Camel entry, the No. 61 Seat.

At 23rd overall its time of 2:10.556 was about two seconds better than the next car in class, the No. 8 KPM Racing Volkswagen Golf.  The smaller petrol class, A2, was being lead by the No. 41 Racing Team Switzerland Renault Clio.

Less than a half second behind was the next in class car, also a Renault, Denmark’s Team Sally Racing entry. The KPM Golf would later move to the top diesel spot with a good lap by Tom Onslow-Cole.

Two of the A6 cars improved during the middle moments of the session. The No. 7 AF Corse Ferrari returned after its loss of power and reeled off a 1:53.227, good enough for third overall.

The other car that had stopped on course, the No. 3 Fach Auto Tech Porsche, also moved up the charts. Then as the qualifying session headed towards its later stages the Czech entered Ferrari’s 1:52.354 proved good enough for third overall.

Perhaps the most impressive of all was the GDL Porsche, No. 19, which vaulted to second overall and best in the 997 class with a 1:52.247. The Stadler team seemed to rest on their laurels a bit. But this became of concern when with about 20 minutes to go the No. 9 Scuderia Praha Ferrari set a 1:50.856—good for 2nd overall.

Any attempts at improvement were stymied by a series of minor offs by other competitors which created local yellow / no passing situations. One of those taking to the gravel was the No. 22 Mercedes. The No. 67 Nova Racing Ginetta provided some late session drama by taking the top spot in SP3 away from the Speedworks team.

The Besaplast Mini (No.44) only entered the session in the closing minutes since they had to change back to their practice engine—their planned race engine being defective). Almost immediately Fredrik Lestrup was up to speed and took the A2 pole spot away from Racing Team Switzerland. “Not bad for having almost no practice time here,” commented the Swedish driver.

Natasha Mark , photo Creventic

Permanent-URL: http://www.automobilsport.com/12h-italy-mugello-adrian-amstutz-stadler-motorsport-fastest-qualifying—120741.html

14.03.2014 / MaP

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