Exim Porsche fends off Vita4One BMW to take Zolder GT1 World Championship win
|By Gary Watkins||Sunday, April 22nd 2012, 15:07 GMT|
Matt Halliday and Mike Parisy claimed a narrow victory for the Exim Bank Team China Porsche squad in the main event at the FIA GT1 World Championship at Zolder.
Parisy held off a strong challenge from the Vita4One BMW driven by Yelmer Buurman at the end of the wet-dry championship race. The Muhlner Motorsport-run Porsche 911 GT3-R crossed the line just one second ahead of the BMW Z4 Buurman shared with Michael Bartels.
Halliday had entered the pits at the end of the opening stint in third place, but Parisy was in the lead by the time the pitstop sequence came to the end. He found himself with a clear seven-second advantage over Buurman. The Dutchman closed down on the Porsche and was right with Parisy for the final seven laps, but was unable to find away past on a tight Zolder circuit that was still wet off-line.
Halliday said: "We had to manage our tyres in the first stint, stop at the right time and make all the right choices. And that's what we did today."
The first and second-placed cars both started the race on the wet Pirelli tyre before switching to slicks mid-race. The third-place AF Corse Ferrari 458 Italia shared by Toni Vilander and Filip Salaquarda began the race on the dry tyre.
Vilander made rapid progress from 13th on the grid to sixth, before slipping back down the field during a light shower. He then moved back up the order as the track began to dry.
The Finn was among the last to stop right at the end of the pit window, allowing Salaquarda to emerge in second place. The Czech lost out to Buurman on cold tyres, but was able to hold on to third.
The All-Inkl Mercedes SLS AMG driven by Thomas Jager and Nicky Pastorelli ended up fourth. Jager held second until the pitstops ahead of Halliday, but a mistake by Pastorelli early in his stint lost the team third place
Maxime Martin was the star of the first half of the race, vaulting from ninth of the grid to the race lead in the space of seven laps. Valmon Aston Martin team-mate Alexei Vasiliev was unable to continue Martin's good work and slipped down the order to 12th at the finish.
Results - 36 laps: Pos Drivers Team/Car Time/Gap 1. Halliday/Parisy Exim Porsche 1h00m32.983s 2. Bartels/Buurman Vita4One BMW + 1.030s 3. Vilander/Salaquarda AF Corse Ferrari + 17.256s 4. Jager/Pastorelli Munnich Mercedes + 29.070s 5. Makowiecki/Dusseldorp Hexis McLaren + 29.580s 6. Vanthoor/Ortelli WRT Audi + 29.900s 7. Demoustier/Parente Hexis McLaren + 32.167s 8. von Thurn und Taxis/Enge Reiter Lamborghini + 37.156s 9. Winkelhock/Basseng Munnich Mercedes + 38.456s 10. Stippler/Jarvis WRT Audi + 38.885s 11. Ide/Castellacci AF Corse Ferrari + 47.053s 12. Martin/Vasiliev Valmon Aston Martin + 1m25.273s 13. O'Young/Kox Reiter Lamborghini + 1 lap 14. Mayr-Melnhof/Lauda Vita4One BMW + 1 lap 15. Zuber/Afanasyev Valmon Aston Martin + 1 lap 16. Pavlovic/Cressoni Sunred Ford + 2 laps 17. Lariche/Wei Exim Porsche + 4 laps