Just two weeks after one brand new Supercar swept all before it on its debut in the FIA GT Championship, another beautiful Italian made beats made somewhat less of an impact on its series debut as the brand new Reiter Engineering Lamborghini Murcielago R-GT failed to make the start of Sunday's 500km race at Monza after suffering persistent engine problems.

Despite having the driving talents of Tom Kristensen and Rinaldo Capello on hand and testing frantically in the two weeks leading up to Monza, the crack Reiter team couldn't overcome a persistent engine problem and withdrew the stunning all-black machine after Saturday's first qualifying session.

After recent tests at Vallelunga and the A1-Ring focused on getting the car handling correctly, Monza's long fast straights exposed a severe power deficiency that left the car 17th on the grid with a qualifying time more than six seconds slower than Anthony Kumpen's pole winning time in the Force One Festina Viper.

The car ran in three competitive sessions, both Friday practices and Saturday's first qualifying period, before the team realised that Friday night's enforced engine change had failed to solve an unidentified problem with the engine of the Murcielago. Despite electing to withdraw the car completely from Sunday's 87-lap race, the famous Italian marque tried to put a positive slant on the weekend's proceedings.

"The practice and qualifying sessions have afforded us an excellent opportunity to put the car through its paces," said Lamborghini's Marketing Manager Manfred Fitzgerald. "The testing programme undertaken over the last three weeks at Vallelunga and A1-Ring circuits has proven the car's handling abilities. At Monza we have had the opportunity to demonstrate the R-GT's reliability as well as improve further on its agility, although the nature of Monza, as a high-speed circuit, has shown that our focus must now be placed on gaining top end speed.

"The lack of speed seen in practice was as a result of an engine problem that is difficult to rectify trackside and, although we changed the engine overnight on Friday, to continue further would simply cause further unnecessary engine damage. In this respect, it is right that we conclude our weekend at this point although, of course, it is disappointing that we cannot compete. We have already identified the areas that require work and we will address these on the team's return to Reiter Engineering.

"We have gained extremely valuable data from this weekend at Monza, which was our objective in coming to this fast circuit. The opportunity to attend, provided by the FIA, allowed us to obtain the team and driver feedback we are looking for at this stage of the development programme. It was especially useful to have both Capello and Kristensen in the car over two days."

The Murcielago R-GT will be raced by customers in FIA GT and ACO-governed series next year headed up by a full-time assault with Reiter. The car, together with a team support programme, has been designed to provide an exciting, but affordable, customer racing package.



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