Like so many this year, the past weekend marked the TMC Ferrari team's first visit to the modern Oschersleben circuit, but the squad belied its inexperience to secure second and third in class.

Both Ferrari 360 Modenas ran reliably throughout the race for once, and the team took advantage of a carefully-planned fuel stop and driver change strategy. This enabled both cars to pit just once during the race, as opposed to the two stops carried out by the majority of the team's competitors.

"We were expecting this race to work well for us," said team manager Rod Benoist, "The team worked hard all weekend to address small points of detail that made all of the difference.

"Our performance here is a great testimony to the skill of our engineering team although, as usual, every member played his part. Our race strategy was good, our pit-stops were well timed and carried out without drama. The drivers did the rest."

With Jamie Davies still well in the hunt for the N-GT class title, however, Benoist insisted that there would be no time to celebrate the podium double.

"From tomorrow morning, the team will commence work on preparing for Estoril in two weeks' time," he stressed, "Our championship position has been strengthened, but we still have a lot of work to do."

Davies partnered Darren Turner - whose weekend was boosted further by news that he had been recruited by the Prodrive to team to race in the Miami ALMS round - to second in class behind the winning JMB Ferrari.

"This is a great result for the team, as well as for my championship hopes," Davies admitted, "The car ran really well, with my biggest problem being a broken drinks bottle! I also lost car-to-pit radio towards the end of the race, and not being able to talk or listen to my crew meant that I wasn't aware of what was happening at the front with the safety car. Still, I had a great fight with one of the Porsches and won the battle to finish second so, yes, I'm happy."

Turner was also happy with his second successive podium finish - even though he later admitted that Davies' drinks problem was a result of him trapping the feeder tube in the door as he strapped his fellow Englishman into the cockpit!

"I'm reasonably pleased," he said, "I'd have liked Jamie and I to win, of course, but a solid second and third here is great news for the team. All of the guys are upbeat and it's a pleasure to see the elation whenever we stand on the podium like this."

Former partner Kelvin Burt was able to celebrate a return to the podium after co-driving Tim Mullen to third in class, despite a handling imbalance that made the car difficult to drive.

"I was a little worried about oversteer [in qualifying], so the team made a few changes this morning," he related, "It was a slight gamble that didn't really pay off, as the car was understeering a little too much in the race. It was very hot in the car as well and, combined with the amount of traffic, the race itself was busy, to say the least."

Mullen said that he hadn't found the car as much of a handful as his team-mate, but praised Burt for his efforts before the hand-over.

"I had a really good stint to be honest - Kelvin did a great job in his session and then handed the car over to me in good shape," the Irishman admitted, "I just wanted to get my head down and go as quickly as possible. Traffic and dust and dirt on track were a bit of a problem, but I managed to make up time towards the end."

TMS now lies second overall in the N-GT standings, 17 points short of leaders Freisinger, while Davies is 12.5 short of co-leaders Stephane Ortelli and Marc Lieb in the drivers' table.

 

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