Exim Bank Team China wins final round of the FIA GT1 World Championship in San Luis
San Luis, 6th November 2011. Exim Bank Team China finished off the FIA GT1 World Championship 2011 in a phenomenal manner. In Argentina the team clinched its first qualifying and championship race of the season and on top of that gave the Corvette C6.R a brilliant farewell present. For their debut on the mouth watering circuit in the Argentinean hills the Dutch duo Yelmer Buurman and Francesco Pastorelli, at the wheel of the Corvette surprised the GT world by winning both races. The Corvette, bearing the colours of the Chinese bank was the hero of the entire weekend!
True to tradition the World Championship travelled to South America for the final round, and in addition to regulars Yelmer Buurman and Francesco Pastorelli, they were joined by the Frenchman and Belgian drivers, namely Michael Rossi and Nico Verdonck, who had packed their bags in order to compete at one of the world’s great circuits, and give the Corvette C6.R GT1 a worthy farewell on the international motorsport scene. This American GT1 power beast boasts victories at Le Mans, ALMS and in the Le Mans Series, in addition to numerous victories at a national level, however a first place in a round of the GT1 World Championship was still lacking... This was to be the final opportunity for the machine from Detroit.
Whereas on the one hand it turned out to be a difficult weekend for Nico Verdonck and Michael Rossi, twice just falling short of finishing in the top-10, on the other it was a brilliant weekend for Yelmer Buurman and Francesco Pastorelli.
Yelmer Buurman: "Right from the first race we had a great start and took the lead to clinch victory, and on Sunday we repeated same thanks to some perfect teamwork. We progressed throughout the weekend, but I must add that this is a great car. We came here to enjoy ourselves on the track and perform well, and it succeeded brilliantly...”
For team manager Patrick Selleslagh this was also a highly emotional farewell:
“It is now a known fact that I’m going to stop, but I could never have dreamt of such a farewell present. An era comes to an end here in more than one way, with the last race of the GT1s at a world level, the last race of the Corvette GT1, the car which I started out with back in 2003, and which I have been racing these last 9 seasons worldwide. The ties I built up with Detroit over that period are pretty exceptional. I want to thank them for the excellent collaboration. It goes without saying that this also implies the end of SRT, my team, no in fact our team, because SRT is one big family. I therefore wish to thank everyone who was involved with the team these last few seasons, not forgetting the two most recent drivers, namely the Dutchmen Yelmer Buurman and Francesco Pastorelli, because to have such a debut is quite unheard of at this level in the GT world. They are great guys. I’m now going off to thoroughly enjoy the rest of this weekend.”