Young Driver AMR was quickest in the rain this morning in the free practice session for the sixth round of the FIA GT1 World Championship at the Nürburgring. The Aston Martin DBR9 of Christoffer Nygaard and Stefan Mücke was 1.593s quicker than its nearest rivals as it posted a 2:13.554.
Marc Basseng and Thomas Jäger were second in the number 37 All-Inkl.com Münnich Motorsport Lamborghini Murcielago with the Matech Competition Ford GT number 5 of Thomas Mutsch and Richard Westbrook in third place.
With the Vitaphone Maserati MC12 of Bertolini and Bartels in fourth place, the Phoenix Racing Corvette of Hennerici and Margaritis in fifth and the Sumo Power GT Mossam GT-R of Hughes and Campbell-Walter in sixth place all six manufacturers had a car in the top six.
Even before the first meters had been driven though there was already a serious stewards decision, regarding the Phoenix Racing Carsport team. It read:
The Stewards, having received a copy of an e-mail to the FIA and its permanent chairman of stewards (Mr Schwägerl) that Phoenix Racing Carsport will not compete with their car 14 for the rest of the season.
After hearing from the team representative the stewards now have verbal confirmation of that e-mail which is a breach of championship regulation art. 38. The stewards are further informed by the team representatives that car 14 was owned by a private person who has demanded the return of the vehicle and subsequently disposed of it elsewhere. No written contract exists between the team and the private owner.
The regulation provides two exactable reasons for absence namely force majeure and accident in the previous race. Neither applies in this instance.
After considering all the information provided by the team, the stewards decide
To implement the last paragraph of regulation 38 and as a result the team will lose his right of priority for the following season as well as all the points scored since the start of the season.
The competitor is reminded of his right of appeal.
Only one Phoenix Racing Carsport Corvette remains on the list but it will not score any points this race. Alexander Margaritis, who will take over from Mike Hezemans who apparently suffered a hand injury while in Miami, will join Marc Hennerici in the number 13 Corvette C6.R
Other changes on the entry list include Alessandro Pier Guidi at Triple H Team Hegersport, taking the seat that Nico Verdonck occupied in the last race at Spa. Romain Grosjean has left Matech Competition, his seat is taken by Nicolas Prost.
Word around the paddock is that Vitaphone Racing Team will ditch its Maserati MC12 after the 2010 season and will be running Lexus LF-A’s in the 2011 GT1 World Championship.
UPDATE: Vitaphone Racing Team has made no decision on the 2011 season but it is not likely that a GT1 program would be with the Lexus LF-A. Any new program would preferably be from the Fiat S.p.A. group, but again no decision has been on anything regarding 2011 and the team is still fully focussed on the current season.