''This is a very important win for us, just before the 24 Hours of Spa; we are coming back to the front. I expect a good race in Spa,'' said Ortelli, ''I was successful here last year with Romain, and I am very pleased with this win, as it reminds me of last year and what we achieved. We made a lot of progress during the weekend, after struggling during the first free practice session. And I really have to thank my team-mate Marc, as without him, I would really struggle.''
With the second Freisinger Motorsport Porsche 996 GT3-RS of Bert Longin and Gabriele Gardel finishing in a fine third place, the team has moved into the lead of the N-GT Teams classification, while Stephane Ortelli and Marc Lieb have 28 points, two behind the leaders Tim Mullen and Jamie Davies, and just one behind Fabrizio de Simone and Andrea Bertolini. With six drivers within three points of each other, the class is closer than ever, and the upcoming Proximus 24 Hours of Spa should be fascinating.
The surprise result of the fifth round had to be the second-place finish of Dutch team Zwaan's Racing, with its Chrysler Viper GTS-R - the first Viper to finish on the podium this season. However, the car was later excluded from the results due to a breach of the technical regulations, further to a modification made after initial scrutineering. The team has lodged an appeal and the results remain provisional.
This elevates the Care Racing Ferrari 550 Maranello of Enzo Calderari, Lilian Bryner and Stefano Livio to second. Despite a number of misfire and power-steering problems, the trio managed to keep the car going and took their third third-place finish of the season. Care Racing, despite only having one car, is lying third in the Teams Classification.
Third place went to the Force One Festina Chrysler Viper of pole-sitter Philippe Alliot, David Hallyday and Steve Zacchia, which had looked strong for much of the race, but lost time with two mid-race spins.
The Graham Nash Motorsport Saleen S7-R of Thomas Erdos and Mike Newton was provisionally fourth, ahead of the Creation Autosportif Lister Storm, which had run strongly until a long pit stop due to starter problems.
The Konrad Motorsport Saleen S7-R finished a provisional sixth in class, after looking certain to finish on the podium until late in the race, with the Roos-Optima Chrysler Viper dropping back from fifth as Magnus Wallinder struggled on worn tyres. The car inherited seventh place after the exclusion of the number 18 Zwaans' Racing Chrysler Viper, meaning that the number 22 BMS Scuderia Italia Ferrari took the final point for eighth.
German team RWS-Yukos had its best weekend of the 2003 season today, when a strong performance from Stéphane Daoudi and Johnny Mowlem saw their number 99 Porsche 996 GT3-RS take second place in the N-GT category, giving an all-Porsche podium for the first time this season.
The Team Eurotech Porsche of David and Godfrey Jones was fourth, ahead of the number 88 TMC Ferrari 360 Modena and the number 80 Veloqx car of Smith and Kirkaldy.
The second RWS-Yukos car of Vasiliev and Fomenko finished in seventh place, with the number 53 JMB Racing Ferrari 360 Modena of Kutemann and Gosse scoring the final point.
The next round is on July 27, at the Spa circuit in Belgium.