Review Fia Gt1 World Championship 2011 Zolder
Exim Bank Team China with Hezemans and Catsburg on the podium in FIA GT1 World Championship
CIRCUIT ZOLDER. The second round of the FIA GT1 World Championship took place last weekend in Belgium at the Zolder circuit. For the second consecutive race SRT entered the Corvette C6.R GT1 in the colours of Exim Bank Team China and following a point in Abu Dhabi the Dutch duo Mike Hezemans and Nicky Catsburg scored once again with a brilliant second and fifth place in respectively the Qualifying Race held on Saturday and the Championship Race held on Sunday. Both Dutchmen now figure in 8th place in the championship, which will be heading off down to Portimao in Portugal on 7th and 8th May for the third round of this prestigious World Championship.
Patrick Selleslagh: “This result confirms our start in Abu Dhabi. The team is good, the strategy once again worked out perfectly and our drivers performed strongly. Let’s not forget that Nicky is only in his second weekend and in addition to his natural speed he is also exceptionally eager to learn and wants to systematically progress. This young man should be in for a great future. Our problem lay in the Zolder circuit, which does not really suit the Corvette, especially in the field of brakes. Near the end of both races we lost out on speed as our drivers could hardly slow down anymore. Zolder is a mix of slow bends and short straights, whereas our car is far more at home on fast, natural circuits. This is why I’m looking forward to the upcoming races in Portimao, Silverstone and Paul Ricard.”
During the qualifying session, which similar to the F1 is held in three parts, Hezemans (Q1 and Q3) and Catsburg (Q2) performed strongly. Without any problems both Dutchmen qualified the Corvette in the top-3 of the ranking, a perfect position for the rest of the weekend. “Our Corvette is definitely good over one lap, but now we’ll see how the tyres and brakes hold out during the race”, Hezemans remarked, looking ahead almost prophetically.
On Saturday Catsburg and Hezemans drove to a brilliant second place, the first for SRT in this FIA GT1 World Championship.
Mike Hezemans: “The car was perfect, but Nicky suddenly announced that he had run out of brakes. Then during my stint I altered the car’s balance and during the first lap I struggled with the brakes, whereby I lost a place to the Aston Martin. My brakes then improved and I started to work my way back up towards the leader until I was suddenly taken by surprise by the Lamborghini which eventually won the race. After that I wanted above all to safeguard our podium place!”
On Sunday the Corvette-crew were unable to repeat the podium, however a fifth place still ensured the necessary points in the championship.
“The progress made from Abu Dhabi up until now has given us confidence and for the following race in Portimao, we might even be a step further ahead”, Nicky Catsburg, the reigning Renault Megane Trophy champion concluded.