Lausitzring FIA GT: Porsche’s rain parade

Wolfgang Kaufmann took his first FIA GT Championship win at the Lausitzring this weekend, after a strategic, cautious drive in treacherous conditions

Lausitzring FIA GT: Porsche’s rain parade

Driving the Freisinger Motorsport Porsche 911 GT2 with fellow German Hupert Haupt, Kaufmann started from third on the grid, and made steady progress despite heavy rain showers which left the new circuit extremely slippery. With cars sliding off the track and spinning spectacularly, the safety car was brought out three times. Kaufmann chose the perfect time to pit, and emerged in the lead when his main opponents stopped later, taking the chequered flag amidst a fireworks display.

Wet qualifying sessions had turned the grid upside down, with usual podium contenders Julian Bailey in the Lister Storm and the two Paul Belmondo Racing cars starting towards the back of the grid. In the early, dry part of the race, however, they soon came to the fore, while pole-sitter Hezemans in the Carsport Viper and Philippe Favre in the second Lister Storm battled for the lead.

After the rain, and the first safety car period, Vincent Vosse in the Paul Belmondo Viper was leading, with Bailey close behind. Derichebourg, taking over the Viper, maintained the lead, while Bailey dropped back with visibility problems.

Kaufmann pitted during the final safety car period, whereas Derichebourg stayed out, which eventually gave the Porsche a comfortable lead when Vosse took over the Viper for his final stint. He rose up to second, maintaining the team's lead in the GT Teams Classification, but was unable to challenge the Porsche 911 GT2. The last time a Porsche 911 GT2 won in the FIA GT Championship was at the Hungaroring in 1998, when Sascha Maassen and Bruno Eichmann drove the Roock Racing Porsche to GT2 victory.

Vosse and Derichebourg came in second, with Bailey and Campbell Walter recovering to fifth overall and third in GT after a great drive from the young British driver. "That was my first time driving in the dark - and I liked it," Campbell-Walter said.

As had been expected, the rain closed up the categories and brought the N-GT cars further up the field than usual. Until the rain started, Luca Riccitelli and newcomer Patrick Huisman, in the RWS Red Bull Racing Porsches, were fighting for their lead. Huisman's car dropped back slightly after a stop to change the windscreen wiper, and mid-race, Magnus Wallinder had a starring role, coming close to leading the race outright in his Pennzoil Quaker State G-Force Porsche 911 GR3-R.

"It was the best race of my life," the Swedish driver said. "I was driving with a big smile on my face."

His car dropped to third in class after Wallinder handed over to Nigel Smith. Despite a small accident after the first restart, Riccitelli moved into the lead of the class, taking his second win of the season and placing him third in the Drivers Championship.

Second place went to Bouchut and Goueslard in the Larbre Competition car, after a cautious drive in order to maximise their points. With 52 points in the Drivers N-GT Classsification, and twenty points remaining, they now have an unassailable lead and will be the first-ever FIA N-GT Drivers champions.

"The race was very hard, but our aim was to collect as many points as possible," Bouchut said. Wallinder and Smith finished third.

1 3 3 GT Kaufmann/Haupt Freisinger Porsche GT2 79
2 17 12 GT Derichebourg/Vosse Belmondo Chry Viper 79
3 7 77 NGT Riccitelli/Quester RWS Porsche 996 79
4 8 52 NGT Bouchut/Goueslard Larbre Porsche GT3 78
5 25 14 GT Bailey/CampbellWalter Lister Lister Storm 78
6 9 50 NGT Wallinder/Smith G-Force Porsche GT3 78
7 13 56 NGT O'Rourke/Sugden EMKA GTC Porsche GT3 77
8 6 79 NGT Höfer/Huisman RWS Porsche 996 76
9 1 25 GT Hezemans/Hart Carsport Chry. Viper 76
10 14 53 NGT De Lesseps/Arhle Larbre Porsche GT3 76
11 4 5 GT Konrad/von Gartzen Konrad Porsche GT2 76
12 27 55 NGT Bertuzzi/Masselli ART Porsche GT3 75
13 2 15 GT Springer/Favre Lister Lister Storm 75
14 22 11 GT Gosselin/Belmondo Belmondo Chry Viper 75
15 11 51 NGT Nearn/Willems G-Force Porsche GT3 75
16 21 27 GT Sabatini/Spinelli/Villa Orlando Porsche GT2 74
17 18 67 67 NGT Collini/Mancini MAC Porsche 996 74
18 24 57 NGT Colloni/Mancini ART Porsche GT3 73
19 23 7 GT Reid/Reid Proton Porsche GT2 73
20 15 24 GT Müller/Trunk MRT Lamborghini 72
21 12 8 GT Garbagnati/Casadei Haberthur Porsche GT2 71
22 16 4 GT Hane/Palmberger Freisinger Porsche GT2 71
23 26 58 NGT Fomenko/Vasiliev Freisinger Porsche GT3 67
24 20 21 GT Cappellari/Matteuzzi Racing Box Chry. Viper 57

Not Classified
25 10 22 GT Wieth/Wieth Wieth Porsche GT2 48
26 5 2 GT Brun/Seiler Chamberlain Chry.Viper 44
27 19 60 NGT Ligonnet/Neugarten Haberthur Porsche GT3 22

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