GT2 Report: It was pretty clear beforehand that for Richard Westbrook and Manu Collard the journey down to the technical German circuit at Oschersleben would not be an enjoyable one. “Carrying 90 kilogram of ballast on board of the Porsche 911 GT3 RSR meant that the qualifying would be a real nightmare”, Manu Collard commented on Saturday evening. “On top of that we experienced a gearbox problem resulting in not achieving anything better than a tenth place.”
On the other hand it was smiling faces in Edwards/Holzer camp. These young ProSpeed Competition drivers clinched a well deserved third spot on the grid and started the race with great ambitions. Marco Holzer had a difficult start, with all the GT1 cars going off ahead, but slotted into the highly competitive GT2 field well.
“Because I was caught up in traffic we decided to pit early for our second stint. Unfortunately it started raining somewhat too soon and we weren’t able to take full advantage of our strategy. But we kept to a tight pace, and thanks to Sean’s brilliant work in the wet, we climbed up into second place!”, Holzer recounts the race. “We finished second and I have moved up to third in the drivers’ championship and in addition we have helped the team to consolidate their first place in the team championship, especially after the early retirement of Manu and Richard.”
“It was a difficult start to the weekend in GT2 for me, as we had technical problems in FP1, so I didn’t get any running and the few laps I did in FP2 were all in the wet/damp!” Commented Edwards. “The race was great, but unfortunately we made the wrong decision on strategy early on, so we had to do one extra pit stop comparing to the rest and that cost us the win really. We are delighted though with second place and we got good points for the team’s championship which is why I was here. ProSpeed gave us a great car and although there was so much standing water around, we managed to keep the car pointing in the right direction, for the most part anyway! It was a big disappointment for Manu and Richard, but I am sure they will be focusing on the next race already. The infamous Spa 24 hours is next, where I hope we can be one step higher.
Manu Collard was pretty clear about the incident shortly after the start. “What the guy in the Ferrari did was highly unprofessional. He first touched my rear wheel in a place where you can’t overtake, resulting in me losing the car’s balance after which he rammed me fully in the flank. Unbelievable…”
The FIA GT will now be taking a breather for a few weeks up until the 24 Hours of Spa, at the end of July. ProSpeed Competition will not only be defending their leaders positions, the Liege based team are also looking to add their first victory to their record of achievements in Spa, following their second place in this race last season.
GT3 Report: A late change in Tim Sugden’s plans meant that Trackspeed were after another quick driver to pair alongside the team owner David Ashburn, so a few days before the FIA GT event in Oschersleben Sean got a call from team manager Riki to ask if he could drive the GT2 and GT3 car. Prospeed having already signed the young Brit for GT2 meant only GT3 would be possible.
“It was a last minute call and it did mean a busy schedule between two teams, but I was up for it.” Sean explained… “We had some technical issued in both practice sessions, which was unfortunate as this put us on the back foot regarding the setup for qualifying. So David had to enter it blind, with a setup based on Adria and qualified in a very respectable 22nd place. We made a few modifications to the car in between the sessions and I just went for it, matching the pole position time in sector one and two, but as I exited the last corner I saw the red flags, a Viper had crashed heavily and this meant my lap was over! I went out afterwards, but the tyres had gone past their best and I could only manage 9th.”
The first race and David made a tremendous start, going from 22nd to 16th! He then battled hard and held off the other two Porsche’s to bring the car to Edwards in a very solid 15th place. The Muhlner Porsche was let out of the pits early and jumped Trackpeed, braking at the end of the pit lane to avoid getting a penalty for being under 70 seconds, nearly taking out the hot pursuing Trackspeed car in the process… Edwards set his sights on Marc Basseng and reeled him in over the coming laps, they were both pushing as hard as they could and carved their way up to 8th and 9th places, but in the final laps the pressure got to Basseng and he spun allowing Edwards to take 8th overall and 1st in the Porsche class!
The second race was less fortunate, after a good start Sean was up to 6th place, but a loose radiator half way round the first lap, followed by an off track exertion on the coolant put an early end to their race.
Trackspeed now looks forwards to the Spa 24 hours where they will be concentrating on GT2 only and have high hopes of a good result after the bad luck in GT2 at Oschersleben.
ProSpeed Competition defending a double leadership position in FIA GT
GRÂCE-HOLLOGNE, 17/06/2009. Following Prospeed Competition’s victory in the second race of the FIA GT in Adria, the Oschersleben circuit is now the following venue on the FIA GT and FIA GT3 calendar. In Germany ProSpeed Competition will be defending Manu Collard and Richard Westbrook leaders’ position with the drivers and on top of that also that of the team in the battle for the team title. On the GT3 front the team are looking to clinch a first podium place. ProSpeed Competition will be welcoming two new faces in Oschersleben, namely the Brit Sean Edwards in the Porsche 911 GT3 RSR teamed up with Marco Holzer (GT2) and the Greek Dimitris Deverikos in the Porsche 911 Cup S, which he shares with Niki Lanik (GT3).
Following his debut at Le Mans last weekend Darryl O’Young will not be amongst them.
“That’s right”, Rudi Penders started off the conversation looking ahead to the German round of the FIA GT-championship. “Darryl is active in the Porsche Carrera Cup Asia and as from Spa will be back amongst us. In fact he’s being replaced by Sean Edwards here.
Sean is a young 22 year old Brit who won the first FIA GT3 title back in 2006 with Porsche and who competed in the 2007 FIA GT2 championship with a Porsche, with a third place in GT2 during the 24 Hours of Spa as his best result. In fact he will be competing for us in the 24 Hours of Spa and Oschersleben is therefore the perfect way in which to integrate him into the team and get to know some of our run of the mill procedures. In Oscherleben Marco and Sean are going flat out for a podium. It soon became apparent in Adria that our ‘second’ car had normous potential, and can definitely improve on that fourth place clinched in Adria On top of that every point scored in the battle for the team title is welcomed with open arms.”
“Who knows, we might have to give our team mates a boost”, Manu Collard laughed, having just won in Le Mans with Porsche in LMP2. “For Oschersleben we have no less than 90 kilo ballast (40 kilo as success ballast and 50 kilo ‘fixed ballast’ for the entire season as a result of the driver pairing). Tough going, especially as in the first instance these ninety kilo are an enormous handicap in qualifying, resulting in achieving a far less
favourable spot on the starting grid. The outcome is that we’ll be enjoying a catch-up race, which is not ideal in Oschersleben. This German circuit is not designed for overtaking. But last but not least trying to go into the attack with a heavy car is not obvious. A good start, a perfect strategy and a bit of luck will be of vital importance for us.”