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Headline:2nd Place in the FIA GT3 European Championship in ZolderDate:26/10/2009
Source:The ALPINA Register   (Click Here for more details).News
   
Review:2nd Place in the FIA GT3 European Championship in Zolder for the BMW ALPINA B6 GT3

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Claudia Hürtgen garnered a promising 3rd starting position at the 12th and last FIA GT3 race in Zolder, Belguim. With a good start, she was able to overtake Maxime Martin early on and improve to 2nd place behind Makowiecki‘s Aston Martin. At the 20-minute mark it began to rain, requiring a safety-car period. ALPINA changed their strategy to bring Claudia in as early as possible, just as the pit window opened at 23 minutes. Csaba Walter took over driving duties at the mandatory driver change, the team having executed a clean driver and tyre change. Csaba built a 30-second lead, and victory seemed within grasp.

The rain shower was soon over, causing the racing line to dry quickly. Slick tyres were proving to be about 10 seconds per lap faster than rain tyres, so that Csaba had no alternative but to come in again for a change to slicks. He went back out into 3rd place, behind the Ferrari driven by Bontempi who had stuck with slicks throughout the safety-car period and the Ford GT piloted by Mamerow. Pushing hard at the limit, Csaba was able to catch and then overtake Mamerow, who had stayed on his rain tyres, to cross the finish line in 2nd place. A race computer that failed for a period of time during the race caused a number of protests after the race relating to the finishing positions in mid-pack. Jens Klingmann and Martin Matzke were also affected by this, ALPINA equipment having timed them for 3rd place, they were officially only awarded 14th . All protest were overturned.

The 11th and penultimate race had taken place at mid-day, with Jens Klingmann starting from 2nd. He over-took Hasse in the Audi R8 for the lead in very wet conditions soon after the start. At the mandatory driver hand-over to Martin Matzke, Klingmann was ahead from the Audi R8 by three seconds. The Audi had changed drivers and tyres, having gone to slicks due to a now nearly-dry circuit, a lap before the B6 GT3 had, putting the Audi ahead of Matzke’s BMW ALPINA. Sitting a solid 2nd place, Matzke reported a lack of throttle response just seven minutes from the end, and had to park the #25 B6 GT3. Claudia Hürtgen, pushing hard in 5th place, risked a bit too much and found herself in the gravel trap.

“It seems we were only able to prove our potential in today’s 2nd race, but after our two victories last weekend at Oschersleben, we’re OK with settling for 2nd place,” said team boss Andy Bovensiepen.

No rest for the ALPINA team this coming weekend. Both BMW ALPINA B6 GT3s are back at the Nürburgring, the season’s lastrace for the team, competing in the VLN four-hour challenge on the famous Nordschleife.

To See our summary of the Zolder race Click Here

To see our roundup of ALPINA's FIA GT3 European Championship Click Here

Here's some ALPINA FIA GT3 European Championship stats:

  • ALPINA definitely grew stronger as the season went on - you only have to look at their top 3 positions during the last 2 rounds.
    ALPINA recorded 9 top 3s in the last 12 timed bits (e.g. 6 per round - free practice x2, qualifying x2 and races x2)
  • Through the season they had 12 top ten finishes in the races themselves.
  • The customer team had their best result of the year in the last race - coming 5th with car 35.
  • ALPINA themselves came in 7th overall in the manufacturers cup.
  • It's also interesting to see 15 drivers drove the ALPINAs throughout the season.
  • Cars:Alpina B6 GT3 (E63 (09 -))

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