EXIM BANK TEAM CHINA clinches a brilliant podium in the World Championship
SILVERSTONE. In Silverstone the FIA GT1 World Championship 2011 had already reached its fifth out of ten meetings, and with the Tourist Trophy the most prestigious race of the season was on the programme. For EXIM BANK TEAM CHINA this was a highly successful weekend, with a pole position and a podium place in each of the two races. Mike Hezemans, the Dutch driver and his new German team mate Andreas Zuber put in the best performance by a Corvette C6.R for some considerable time in the GT1 World Championship.
Patrick Selleslagh (Team manager): “It’s a great pity that Nicky Catsburg is no longer driving for us. The young Dutchman got on well with the team, was fast and it seemed to click with Mike. They complemented each other perfectly. I soon had the feeling that Andreas Zuber was made of the same stuff and I hope that he will finish the entire season with us. Mike is a certainty, but for him it would be good to be able to compete with one and the same team mate right through to the end of the season. Such a constant always pays off.”
Right from the free practice sessions it became clear that the Corvette C6.R in the red-yellow livery of EXIM BANK TEAM CHINA would be playing a major role. The car was fast and consistent. As such Mike Hezemans and Andreas Zuber headed off for the qualifying sessions with full confidence. This determination paid off, because Mike Hezemans was the only one to go under the 1.59 mark and put the Corvette C6.R on pole on Saturday evening.
Mike Hezemans: “First and foremost, this is our pole position, not my pole position. If Andreas doesn’t get through to the second part of the session, I don’t have the opportunity to finish it off. This exercise against the clock is pure team work. I’m delighted with my pole, especially after what happened on the Sachsenring. We were also fast there, but we lost out on the pole. In all honesty I must admit that I was able to take advantage of a Nissan’s slipstream ahead of me during my fast lap.”
During the first race on Saturday the Corvette took the chequered flag in third place, a 2nd podium for EXIM BANK TEAM CHINA this season.
Andreas Zuber: “Perhaps I allowed myself to be caught out at the start, but after that it was a good race, notwithstanding the fact that the third gear was playing up, but we’re on the podium and that is fantastic. On top of that this is a great start for tomorrow’s championship race.”
And on Sunday a third place was waiting for the Dutch-German duo and for SRT it was also the first podium in a championship race.
Mike Hezemans: “That third place is tremendous, both for the team and for us. The race ran smoothly for us and the team put in a brilliant pit stop during a safety-car procedure. This was a crucial moment whereby we were able to uphold our position. Andreas finished off the race perfectly and for a moment I even believed that victory was on the cards. We have definitely experienced our best weekend of the season!”
After this weekend Mike Hezemans is now climbing up towards the top-5 in the championship and will in the following upcoming race, in Navarra at the beginning of July, definitely try to slot himself in amongst the top players in the World Championship.