Nine different manufacturers...
Nine different manufacturers were represented by 38 starters at Round 7 of the FIA GT3 series in Brno, Czech Republic.
The penultimate contest of the '07 GT3 season took place at Brno in the Czech Republic. The course is a tricky, 13-turn circuit that's 3.377 miles in length, giving the Corvette's big 7-liter engine room to stretch its legs. Thirty-eight cars qualified for the weekend's first race, with the No. 18 Martini-Callaway Z06.R of Luca Pirri and Jrgen von Gartzen slotting between a pole-sitting Lamborghini Gallardo and the Kessel Racing Ferrari 430 of championship-points leaders Henri Moser and Gilles Vannelet. James Ruffier and Arnaud Peyroles qualified their Riverside Callaway Corvette eighth.
Peyroles made a good start and kept close to the leaders. "It was easy to stay in contact with the others but hard to overtake [them], so I decided to stay behind and save the tires for James," he explained.
The strategy worked. After the driver change, Ruffier inherited a relatively fresh car and managed to overtake all those ahead of him. "After five or six laps, my car was just better than the others, and I managed to overtake them easily," he said. "Our Corvette was consistent and very good during the race." The Riverside Vette went on to take the winning checkered flag, trailed closely by the Martini-Callaway Corvette of Pirri/von Gartzen and the Ferrari.
The No. 16 Martini-Callaway...
The No. 16 Martini-Callaway Z06.R shows very little lean in this high-speed corner.
"All the people working on this project deserve this victory. They work so hard, [and] they never give up. They are fantastic guys," declared Peyroles after the race.
Fellow Corvette drivers Pirri and von Gartzen were quick on the track but lost too much time during the driver change. "I was second before coming into the pits, [but] after our pit stop, Jrgen was behind Henri Moser's Ferrari," explained Pirri. Pirri and von Gartzen eventually got ahead of the Ferrari and crossed the finish line in Second.
In the follow-up race, Ruffier jumped from his Sixth-place qualifying position to take the lead during the opening laps. Von Gartzen followed in Second. "When I was behind Ruffier, it was hard to follow him," said the German. "He was really good, so I preferred to let him go. I knew that Luca Pirri could make the difference." After the driver change, Pirri managed to take the lead and go on to win for the second time this season.
With 18 points scored in Brno, Pirri and von Gartzen were only 8 points behind Moser and Vannelet for the drivers' championship going into the season-ending race in Dubai. "I think Dubai is going to be a good track for the Corvette," said von Gartzen. "We are very optimistic. We are going to keep putting pressure on the Ferraris and see what happens at the end." Only five points, meanwhile, separated Kessel Racing and Martini-Callaway Racing for the manufacturer's championship. The last round in Dubai would be decisive.
The No. 19 Riverside entry...
The No. 19 Riverside entry has been fast all season. It won the first race of the weekend at Brno.
The No. 17 Martini-Callaway...
The No. 17 Martini-Callaway Z06.R finished Fifth and Eighth at Brno. Both drivers had just celebrated their 17th birthdays!
Luca Pirri and Jrgen von Gartzen...
Luca Pirri and Jrgen von Gartzen drove a smooth second race, passing the leading Riverside car to win. That finish brought the drivers to within eight points of the leading Ferrari.