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Ferrari Happenings

Ferrari Stranglehold at Barcelona GT

It was definitely a Ferrari day in Barcelona for the first round of the 2003 FIA GT Championship. With one of the largest and most varied grids for many years the race was action-packed and full of excitement, a good augur for the season to come. The sun shone, and 18,000 spectators came to watch a thrilling race.

Starting from pole position,the Jamie Campbell-Walter/ Nathan Kinch Lister made an excellent start and, although he was closely followed by the nr 22 and 23 BMS Scuderia Italia 550 Maranellos, he kept the lead until lap 27 when Gollin in the Ferrari took advantage of backmarkers to take the lead.

However, shortly afterwards, Gollin was unable to avoid a front splitter, which had fallen off a Chrysler Viper . The debris damaged his own car before flying up and landing squarely on the Lister Storm of Jamie Campbell-Walter, tearing off the roof and damaging the windscreen. From this point onwards, the Lister was out of contention and, although Campbell-Walter and Kinch continued for a while, the car was undriveable and they retired.

After the first pit stops, Biagi and Bobbi in the NR 23 Ferrari took the lead, and kept it until the end. Although damaged, the Ferrari 550 of Gollin and Cappellari remained in contention, but were unable to challenge for the lead, finishing comfortably ahead of the Care Racing 550 Maranello, also run by BMS Scuderia Italia, driven by Lilian Bryner, Enzo Calderari and Stefano Livio.

Fourth place went to Andrea Piccini and Jean-Denis Deletraz, in the second Lister Storm.

In the N-GT class the Ferraris were equally victorious. The Freisinger Motorsport Porsche 996 GT3-RS, which had inherited the pole position on the starting grid after the NR 89 Team Maranello Concessionaires 360GT had to start from the back of the grid, made an excellent start and it looked as if Lieb and Maassen would be able to add another win to Freisinger’s 2002 tally.

However, the lead passed to the Ferraris after the pit-stops, with the two Team Maranello Concessionaires cars leading mid-race. On lap 53, the front of the N-GT field was involved in a spectacular case of simultaneous spinning, with first the Autopalace 360GT, the Freisinger Porsche and NR 88 Team Maranello 360GT all losing control at the same place. The NR 52 JMB 360GT managed to thread its way through to take the lead of the class.

Shortly afterwards, the lead Porsche retired with a radiator leak. After the final stops, the Ferrari of Burt and Turner appeared firmly in control until a puncture dropped them back in the final stages, leaving JMB to take the win. A splash and dash for Autopalace, in an excellent third place, elevated the NR 89 Team Maranello Ferrari to third on the final lap. Team Autopalace, new to the Championship, finished in a fine fourth place in their 360GT, with French drivers Guillaume Gomez and Steeve Hiesse

The MenX Ferrari 360GT finished in sixth place for their first race, with Tomas Enge and Robert Pergl at the wheel. “It’s a very good result for us – but we are aiming higher !” the team manager Peter Mikula said.


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