FIA GT3 European Championship - Dashed Hopes

Last-Minute Rule Change Scuttles Corvette's GT3 Effort At Silverstone

Walt Thurn Nov 1, 2009 0 Comment(s)
Vemp_0911_05_z Fia_gt3_european_championship The_turn 2/9

The No. 17 Luca Pirri/Diego Alessi Corvette fights with a Porsche and a Jaguar for position.

During qualifying, the soft tires proved useless after only five hard laps-bad news in a 31-lap, one-hour race. "In the current configuration, this tire compound was classified as dangerous for our cars even by tire supplier Michelin! We will never again take part in any race with this configuration; we can't take the responsibility for the safety of our drivers," explained Woehr. A protest submitted by Callaway Competition over the last-minute tire change was unsuccessful.

Thirty-seven cars qualified for the first race. The fastest Corvette was the Sourd No. 17, which was driven by Luca Pirri and started in ninth position with a time of 1:52.486. The pole-winning Morgan Aero turned a 1:51.098. Last year the odd-looking Morgan was a rolling roadblock, but thanks to a liberal rules adjustment, it had managed to elevate itself to the pole.

Starting in 19th position was the Sourd No. 16 Vette, followed by the No. 5 Callaway entry in 25th place. In 30th position was the No. 6 Z06.R, driven by Italian Luca Moro. The race went pretty much as expected for the troubled Corvettes. Pirri/Alessi finished Ninth, 48.966 seconds behind the winner, and received no championship points. Peyrolles/von Gartzen finished 23rd, and Sourd/Charpilienne finished 26th. The No. 6 car was eliminated in an accident with an Aston Martin and did not finish. It was a terrible start for last year's champions. Woehr asked Michelin to petition the FIA to allow the team to run different tires for Race Two, but the request was denied.

Race Two found Corvette No. 17 starting in third position. Driver Diego Alessi logged a time of 1:49.855, which was only 0.362 behind the pole-winning (again) Morgan. Von Gartzen started 17th in the No. 5 Vette, and Kaufmann was 18th in No. 6 after the crew labored through the night to repair the damage from the crash. Starting in 20th position was Johan Charpilienne in car No. 16. The Alessi/Pirri car held second place during most of the race in spite of the soft tires. Then, on lap 22, race stewards informed the Callaway crew that No. 17 was being given a drive-through penalty. The reason? Apparently someone had adjusted one of the car's mirrors one minute before the start of the race. This pushed the Corvette back to an Eighth Place finish, giving both drivers one championship point each. Von Gartzen/Peyrolles finished 14th, Sourd/Charpilienne 15th, and Kaufmann/Moro 22nd. While it was a tough weekend for the GT3 Corvette contingent, we know they'll be back out in front very soon.




Connect With Us

Get Latest News and Articles. Newsletter Sign Up

subscribe to the magazine

get digital get print