Lister on pole for FIA GT decider

The works Lister team has locked out the front row of the grid for Sunday's final round of the 2000 FIA GT Championship, despite heavy opposition from the Carsport Holland and Paul Belmondo Racing teams

Lister on pole for FIA GT decider

The grid has rarely been so close, with the top four cars lapping within
0.4s of each other around the Magny-Cours Grand Prix circuit in the centre of France. Thirty cars are due to line up on the grid for Sunday's 500 km race, and with the team and drivers titles still open in the GT class, it looks like being an extremely close fight.

Pole position went to Philippe Favre in the Lister Storm, taking advantage of his knowledge of the track and the mere 20kg of penalty weight the car carries. Julian Bailey and Jamie Campbell Walter, in the second placed Lister Storm, have the maximum 100kg, as do their main opponents, the lead Carsport Holland and Paul Belmondo Racing Chrysler Vipers.

After a furious 45-minute first qualifying session, Bailey set his best time as the chequered flag was falling, throwing the car round the final chicane to dislodge Carsport's Mike Hezemans from the front row of the grid. The second session was slower, and few of the major players improved.

Bailey and Campbell-Walter have a 4.5 point lead in the drivers' standings, and a win or second place would give them the title whatever their rivals achieve.

"The car is going fantastically well, it's very consistent round this track, and has a lot of downforce," Bailey said. "We're out to win the Drivers Championship, and if we can will the Teams championship for (Lister boss) Laurence Pearce, we'll do that too."

Third place on the grid went to the Carsport Holland Chrysler Viper, with championship contender Mike Hezemans joined once more by Tom Coronel. The two Dutchmen won the Austrian round, but this weekend has not been so easy.

"I never expected Lister to be so quick - we were so dominant in Austria," Coronel said. "They did a good job, and they are very consistent, so it's a bit of a worry. But I saw them break down in Monza, so perhaps that will happen again."

If the car finishes in one piece, Hezemans and Coronel will be off to Las Vegas next week, to take part in the next American Le Mans Series race.

The Teams championship is even closer, with Lister Storm Racing leading
Paul Belmondo Racing by a margin of two points. The French team has brought in Marc Duez to partner Paul Belmondo in their lead Chrysler Viper, in the hopes of maximising their points, as well as entering a third car for
Gosselin and Belcar driver Anthony Kumpen.

The three cars qualified in fourth, fifth and sixth places in the morning session, concentrating on their race set-up in the afternoon.

"It's going to be very close tomorrow, very exciting," former F3000 driver Boris Derichebourg said. "We can't win the Drivers titles, but we'll be fighting for the Team. We'll win!"

The N-GT titles have already been claimed by French team Larbre Competition, with the Drivers titles going to Christophe Bouchut and Patrice Goueslard.

Bouchut reconfirmed his position as the fastest man in N-GT with an excellent pole-setting lap of 1:39.909, placing him tenth overall. His season-long opponent, Luca Riccitelli, was over a second slower, in the RWS Red Bull Racing Porsche 996 GT3-R.

Bouchut is also competing in the French Carrera Cup this weekend, which he is leading with a comfortable margin, and he was delighted after claiming two pole positions within one hour. "It's a good day!" he said.

It has been good to see steady improvement from the three Ferraris entered in the championship. The First Racing 550 Maranello qualified ninth in the GT category, one of the few cars to improve in the afternoon after being sidelined by a short circuit in the first session.

JMB's two Ferrari Modena 360 cars have undergone serious modifications since their last visit to the championship, and Christian Pescatori, new
SRWC champion, placed the in the middle of the N-GT pack.

The title-deciding 500km race begins at 11am tomorrow morning.

1 GT N.Springer P.Favre Lister Lister Storm 1m36.215s
2 GT J.Campbell-Walter J.Bailey Lister Lister Storm 1m36.441s
3 GT M.Hezemans T.Coronel Carsport Chrysler Viper 1m36.462s
4 GT V.Vosse B.Derichebourg Belmondo Chrysler Viper 1m36.604s
5 GT A.Kumpen C-Y.Gosselin Belmondo Chrysler Viper 1m37.226s
6 GT M.Duez P.Belmondo Belmondo Chrysler Viper 1m37.354s
7 GT P.Kox D.Hart Carsport Chrysler Viper 1m37.361s
8 GT W.Kaufmann M.Trunk Freisinger Porsche 911 GT2 1m39.064s
9 GT F.Giroix J-D.Deletraz First Ferrari 550 1m39.692s
10 NGT C.Bouchut P.Goueslard Larbre Porsche GT3 1m39.909s
11 GT L.Cappellari R.Sangiuolo A.Zadra Chrysler Viper 1m40.155s
12 GT Y.Hane E.Palmberger Freisinger Porsche GT2 1m40.635s
13 GT N.Wieth F.Wieth Wieth Porsche GT2 1m40.827s
14 NGT L.Riccitelli D.Quester RWS Porsche GT3 1m41.104s
15 GT G.Sabatini M.Spinelli F.Villa Orlando Porsche GT2 1m41.563s
16 NGT J.Hofer B.Wollek RWS Porsche GT3 1m41.617s
17 NGT M.Wallinder N.Smith G-Force Porsche GT3 1m41.733s
18 NGT S.O'Rourke T.Sugden EMKA GTC Porsche GT3 1m41.918s
19 NGT R.Nearn G.Lister G-Force Porsche GT3 1m42.136s
20 NGT M.Neugarten T.Perrier J-P.Richard Porsche GT3 1m41.519s
21 NGT G-L.Colloni F.Mancini Art Porsche GT3 1m42.535s
22 NGT C.Pescatori B.Pregliasco M.Lamberti JMB Ferrari 360 1m42.911s
23 NGT Lesseps A.Ahrle J-L.Chereau Larbre Porsche GT3 1m43.435s
24 NGT P.Kutemann P.Alliot JMB Ferrari 360 1m44.178s
25 GT C.Ried G.Ried Proton Porsche GT2 1m44.400s
26 NGT M.Ligonnet J-C.Cartier Haberthur Porsche GT3 1m44.528s
27 GT M.Monteiro M.Monteiro Monteiro Porsche GT2 1m44.778s
28 NGT F.Bertoli P.Rapetti Art Porsche GT3 1m45.073s
29 GT S.Artzberger P.Kaser Atzberger Porsche GT2 1m45.205s
30 NGT N.Fomenko A.Vasiliev Freisinger Porsche GT3 1m45.970s

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