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New helmet brings victory for Campbell Walter.

Sporting a new helmet design, Lister's Jamie Campbell Walter with team-mate Nichlaus Springer managed a copybook win at Magny Cours for the first race of the FIA GT season.

The pole sitting Lister got off to an early lead with the Larbre Competition Viper of Christophe Bouchut / David Terrien following. In its first race shod with Dunlop rubber in the FIA GT arena the Lister was looking good in the early stages. By the end of the second lap the lead two cars, with only 3 tenths between them, had a four second gap back to the sister Larbre car of Rossenbald and Vosse.

By lap seven the Dunlop shod Lister had broken away to give itself some 4 second gap from the second placed car and 9 seconds from the third placed Viper. And so it continued with the Lister breaking away from the field.

The other Lister, that of Bobby Verdon-Roe and Paul Knapfield, found itself dropping back from its sister car, a power deficit of some 40-50 bhp going some way to explaining this. Verdon-Roe also had the odd sideways moment especially after the Prodrive serviced No. 22 Ferrari Maranello understeered off the track leaving some traction reducing debris behind. At the front by lap 11 the from the lead Lister was 5.2 to Bouchut and 8.6 to Hezemens who looked to be driving a fine first stint.

The Paul Belmondo squad certainly saw a lot of action in its home race. First the No. 12 car, driven at the time by Fabio Babini slid off on the straight after the Adelaide corner, with mechanical failure being the likely cause. Then action on track and off track from Paul Belmondo himself. First he was nudged into a spin by the No. 23 Ferrari 550 of BMS Scuderia Italia driven by Jean-Denis Deletraz. Then, on returning to the pits to swap driving responsibilities with Claude-Yves Gosselin, Belmondo took his anger from the incident to the BMS garage to vent his frustrations.

“I don't know who was in the car but it pushed me off the track at the chicane but when I got to 180 he jut pushed me up from behind” said a highly animated Belmondo afterwards.

After 36 laps 36 Campbell Walter, who wass sporting a new helmet design for this race, was leading Bouchut by 18secs, with the second Lister some 6 seconds further down. It was still a good effort for Lister boss Laurence Pearce's second car, making it from sixth to third in the first stint. Unfortunately for Pearce the second car ultimately was to expire at the 63 lap mark.

Other cars leaving the race included the No. 7 Riccitelli/Quester Porsche 996 GT no. 7 out due to an engine blow as early as lap 34. The other BMS Scuderia Ferrari only managing 8 laps was at least better than the Force One Racing Ferrari of Phillipe Alliot and David Hallyday, which managed to break its gearbox before racing even began. Joining it by not starting the race was the Lehman Sport Clerico/Kaufmann Viper.

Other 'Did Not Finish' cars were the Team Art Viper of Lafon and Jarier, out after 65 laps as was the Proton Competition Felbermayr Porsche GT2. 28 laps was all that was managed by the Cirtek Sangiuolo/Ferti Porsche GT3.



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