KplusK Saleen wins FIA GT opener

Karl Wendlinger and Ryan Sharp won the Tourist Trophy for a second consecutive season at Silverstone today

KplusK Saleen wins FIA GT opener

The Austrian and the Scot easily had the fastest car in the form of the KplusK Motorsport Saleen S7R, but ended up having to work hard for their victory in the opening FIA GT Championship round.

Quicker pitstops by the Vitaphone Maserati squad and a mid-race safety-car period that fell kindly for the German team meant that Wendlinger had to come from behind in the closing stages to seal the win.

Wendlinger emerged from the final round of pitstops on the heels of Andrea Bertolini's Maserati MC12. The former FIA GT champion spent three laps on the Maserati's tail before driving past through Vale when Bertolini was held up by a GT2 car.

"It wasn't always easy," said Wendlinger. "There was always pressure from the Vitaphone car behind us. I got a bit lucky behind Andrea because he was blocked by a GT2 car."

The Maserati, co-driven by Vitaphone team boss Michael Bartels, ended up five and a half seconds behind at the finish.

The third-placed Luc Alphand Aventures Chevrolet Corvette C6.R driven by Guillaume Moreau and Xavier Massen was a further 20 seconds behind at the finish.

GT2 honours went to the ProSpeed Competition Porsche 911 GT3-RSR driven by Richard Westbrook and Emmanuel Collard. The Belgian-run Porsche battled with the lead AF Corse Ferrari 430 GT for much of the race, but ended up inheriting a clear victory when Gianmaria Risi retired the Ferrari with suspension damage in the closing stages.

Pos Cl Drivers Car Time 1. GT1 Wendlinger/Sharp Saleen S7 2h00m10.556s 2. GT1 Bertolini/Bartels Maserati MC 12 + 5.499s 3. GT1 Moreau/Maassen Corvette Z06 + 25.956s 4. GT1 Hezemans/Kumpen Corvette Z06 + 30.564s 5. GT1 Lacko/Dominguez Saleen S7 + 59.628s 6. GT1 Longin/Ruffier Corvette Z06 + 1m43.824s 7. GT1 Menten/Palttala Corvette Z06 + 1 lap 8. GT1 Mutsch/Biagi Ford GT + 1 lap 9. GT1 Hines/Lemeret Saleen S7 + 1 lap 10. GT1 Leinders/Kuppens Ford GT + 2 laps 11. GT2 Westbrook/Collard Porsche 911 GT3 RS + 3 laps 12. GT2 Russo/Perez Companc Ferrari 430 + 3 laps 13. GT2 Bell/Kirkaldy Ferrari 430 + 3 laps 14. GT2 Malucelli/Ruberti Ferrari 430 + 3 laps 15. GT2 Barba Lopez/Cadei Ferrari 430 + 3 laps 16. GT2 O'Young/Holzer Porsche 911 GT3 RS + 3 laps 17. GT2 Mucke/Makowiecki Aston Martin V8 + 4 laps 18. GT2 Ragginger/Lucchini Porsche 911 GT3 RS + 4 laps 19. GT2 Mullen/Niarchos Ferrari 430 + 4 laps 20. GT2 Heyer/Romanini Ferrari 430 + 4 laps 21. G3C Alexander-David/Lagniez Corvette Z06 GT3 + 7 laps Retirements: GT2 Bruni/Vilander Ferrari 430 53 laps GT1 Monfardini/Orts Saleen S7 39 laps GT1 Muller/Ramos Maserati MC 12 28 laps GT1 Krumm/Turner Nissan GT-R 28 laps GT2 Sugden/Ashburn Porsche 911 GT3 RS 24 laps 
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Wendlinger takes Tourist Trophy pole

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Series GT
Author Gary Watkins
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