International Win in Romania
Newly crowned Avon Tyres British GT Team Champions CR Scuderia passed another milestone in their first year of competition when Andrew Kirkaldy took the chequered flag in first race of the FIA GT weekend in Romania.
With 14 minutes left of the 60-minute race at Bucharest, Kirkaldy overtook Jamie Davies for the lead and took the no.56 CRS Ferrari all the way to the finish line, taking the team’s first ever FIA GT victory. Tim Mullen brought the sister Ferrari home in sixth place, bagging further points for the team as it fights for runner up spot in the 2008 Championship.
2005 British GT Champion Kirkaldy had qualified the no.56 car in second place but it was Rob Bell who took the start, making a move on Vilander in the AF Corse Ferrari and taking the lead into the first corner. Rob kept a cool head in the soaring temperatures, bringing the car into the pits from the lead after 25 minutes to hand over to Kirkaldy. Chris Niarchos took the start from ninth in the no.55 car and held position throughout his stint. When he handed over to Tim Mullen he was in eighth place.
“I managed to pass Vilander at the start and after that I concentrated on going forward and not looking in the mirrors,” said Bell. “We knew that the GT1 cars wouldn’t catch us during my stint so I could just get on with it and bring it in for Andrew in the lead.”
After all the GT2 cars had pitted the team realised quickly that the lead had gone to Jamie Davies in the Scuderia Ecosse Ferrari, followed by Gimmi Bruni in the AF Corse car, and then Kirkaldy who had a lot of work ahead of him.
With 18 minutes to go Andrew passed Bruni and set off after Davies and the race lead. The rest is history, Andrew went on to take the team’s first win and was greeted by a very happy group of mechanics and engineers at parc ferme.
“That was fantastic!” said Kirkaldy. “Every single member of the team has put in so much work and to do it here, at the hardest track of the year, is amazing. Rob did a mega job and I’m delighted we finally got our first win.”
There’s more to come tomorrow with race two taking place at 1415hrs. The grid positions for tomorrow are set by today’s race result so the no.56 Ferrari starts from pole position!
Team Principal and 2006 British GT Champion, Chris Niarchos, has seen his team win in British GT and Formula Renault and now he is celebrating the first international GT win.
“What a fantastic result. We always knew that FIA GT was going to be the hardest series for us to win in so to take that win here is a great feeling for the whole team. I’d really like to thank all the guys for doing such a fantastic job. It has been a long road from when we started late last year and this is a major milestone for the team. Let’s hope for more of the same tomorrow.”