CR Scuderia endured a tough outing in the FIA GT Championship at Brno after Dirk Muller and Andrew Kirkaldy were forced to retire on the opening lap.
Buoyed by a first win for Kirkaldy and Rob Bell last time out in Bucharest, the team went into the weekend looking to secure back-to-back victories and the #56 Ferrari 430 duly took pole position in the GT2 class for the Czech race.
However, before having the chance to try and covert it into victory, the race had come to an end after Muller was caught up in a multi-car accident at the first lap and forced to pull out.
“Wrong place, wrong time!” he said. “I got a good start but as I went into turn one I had Collard's Porsche on the inside and Bruni's Ferrari in the outside. That was okay but suddenly I had a spinning Maserati in front of me; I had nowhere left to go so I had no choice but to t-bone it pretty hard and that was effectively the end of my race. I made it back to the pits but there was too much damage to continue.
“It's very disappointing to retire from a race when it is not your fault. Sometimes this happens in motorsport and it is a shame as we should have been on for a good result. I would like to thank the team for the weekend; I believe we had the car and the team to win the race today.”
During the lap one melee, Tim Mullen in the sister car managed to make his way up from fourth to second, behind championship leader, Gimmi Bruni but by the end of his stint he had dropped to fifth – the position he held when he pitted to hand the car over to Chris Niarchos.
He found himself in ninth place after the stop and successfully defending his place ahead of Jamie Davies until he pitted to hand the car back to Mullen with under an hour to run. Mullen then brought the car home to the flag in ninth after the team struggled during the closing stages.
“I enjoyed my battle with Jamie,” Niarchos said. “But the end result was a bit of a strange one. We were strong during the first two stints but fell back at the end. We finished on the same lap as the leader but we'll have to look into why we were struggling for pace at the end.
“Coming here after Bucharest we were expecting a much better result. Dirk's retirement was unfortunate but it was nothing to do with him; he did a fantastic job for the team and these things just happen in motorsport.”