Sunday 12 July 2015

Practice sessions in a very sunny Spielberg

Glorious sunshine on Saturday at the Red Bull Ring, setting an almost perfect scene for both practice sessions.

The first session was interrupted after 1 hour when Roberto Lacorte made contact with the turn 2 barriers in his Villorba Corsa LMP3.  With sustainable damage to the back of the car, it didn't make it out to the second session, but should be ok for qualifying tomorrow. Felipe Albuquerque set the best time overall in his Jota/Gibson, beating John Lancaster in the Greaves/Gibson by half a second and Tristan Gommendy in the Thiriet Oreca 05.  LMP3 was very close with Charlie Robertson in the #3 car beating SVK's #15 with 0.1 seconds and Mark Shulzhitzkiy in the Ginetta #3.

GTE was dominated by Ferrari; the AF Corse #51 claiming first place ahead of "home team" AT Racing.  The Proton Porsche came out on third place, nearly 7 tenths behind the fastest Ferrari. GTC also turned out to be a close battle with less than 0.8 seconds dividing the top 3.  TDS claimed the fastest time in the BMW Z4, just ahead of AF Corse Ferrari's #64 and #63.

More sun in the afternoon and temperatures heading onto 30 degrees, but apart from Charlie Robertson in the Ginetta LMP3 nobody seemed to be able to put in a better time than in the morning session.

This time it was Tristan Gommendy in the Thiriet Oreca 05/Nissan who beat the Jota Gibson with the #37 SMP Racing BR-01 getting third fastest.  Murphy Prototypes and a strong effort by Eurasia Motorsport completed the top 5.  LMP3 was the only class able to improve, Charlie Robertson putting himself right behind the #55 AF Corse Ferrari who was fastest in GTE.  AT Racing came in second again in GTE with the #51 AF Corse making it a clean sweep for Ferrari.  In GTC Ferrari got a 1-2, #62 beating #68 and the Massive Motorsport Aston Martin third fastest. Marc VDS had electrical problems during both sessions and didn't get the chance to have a decent run out.

The session ended a few minutes early when Bellarosa (#45 Ibanez Oreca 03) got off at Turn 1 and caused a red flag.  Ibanez racing had its problems during the whole session with the #44 car going round very slowly and stopping on track at the beginning of the session.  The sister car had also its problems with a stop & go penalty, a spin and the crash at the end of the session.

Late in the evening rain and a few scattered thunderstorms came in around the track. Qualifying will be dry in the morning, but there might be a chance for rain late in the race.

Kristof Vermeulen

#51 Af Corse Ferrari on top of the GTE timetable after the first session
Massive Motorsport Aston Martin putting in third place in GTC in the afternoon session
Greaves Motorsport Gibson/Nissan came in second in both sessions
Oreca 03/Nissan by Eurasia Motorsport, 5th in the afternoon session
The Villorba Corse LMP3 being built up for qualifying on Sunday