FIA GT » 3 June 2002
BMS Scuderia Italia opens account.
A long hot race in Spain saw BMS Scuderia Italia take its first win in the FIA GT Championship, after a dominant performance from Andrea Piccini and Jean-Denis Deletraz saw off the assorted challenges from Viper and Lister alike.
Piccini started from pole and pulled away, despite the scorching heat, and the Italo-Swiss pairing were never seriously threatened. Carsport Holland's Anthony Kumpen and Mike Hezemans ended their run of bad luck to take second, ahead of Lister Storm Racing, which finished sixth with Nicolaus Springer and Jamie Campbell-Walter to retain the points lead.
In N-GT, Freisinger Motorsport took their second consecutive win, with Stephane Ortelli and Sascha Maassen. Championship leaders Christian Pescatori and Andrea Montermini, in the JMB Racing Ferrari 360 Modena, just managed to hold on to second place from the RWS Motorsport Porsche of Antonio Garcia and Hans Fertl.
Two weeks after claiming its first pole position in Brno, with Tomas Enge, BMS Scuderia Italia scored its first win of the year. It was a textbook lights-to-flag victory, with Piccini and Deletraz - who did not get the chance to race at Brno after the car's early retirement, setting the pace in nearly every session, and fulfilling their promise to deliver a win in the #23 BMW Scuderia Italia Ferrari 550 Maranello.
Piccini started the race and, for the first hour, was consistently the fastest car on the track, extending his lead to more than 26secs. Deletraz kept the lead through the second hour, and Piccini stepped aboard for the final hour to finish the race 33.270secs ahead of the second-placed Carsport Holland Chrysler Viper GTS-R.
''I didn't push very hard at the beginning as I didn't know how the tyres would be,'' the Italian admitted, ''It was the first time I had driven with a full tank of fuel, so I had to push, but try to keep the tyres. After a while, the car was more neutral to drive, so it was easier. However, a lot of the cars were difficult to overtake. The last stint was a lot better - we had made the gap and just had to control it. The car was perfect, and the Michelin tyres were very constant.''
After a run of bad luck, which saw them retire from the lead in the past two rounds of the championship, the Carsport Holland driver pairing of Hezemans and Kumpen took second position in the #3 Chrysler Viper GTS-R.
The pair started second, and tailed the Ferrari all the way to the flag. Although they were never more than 25secs behind the car, they never appeared to be in a position to challenge for the lead and, in the final ten minutes, Hezemans dropped back and settled for second.
''The car was okay, but we were not fast enough this weekend to keep up with the Ferrari,'' Kumpen admitted, ''We are usually the fastest car on the track, but not this
time - we will have to find something to help us improve for the next race.''
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