Ferrari secures first win in dramatic FIA GT Qualifying Race

Qualifying Race - Top Three

1  Filip Salaquarda (CZE)/Toni Vilander (FIN)          1:01:26.548   25 LAPS

   3, AF Corse (ITA) Ferrari 458 Italia             

2  Tomas Enge (CZE)/Albert von Thurn und Taxis (DEU)   1:01:31.116   +4.568

   24, Reiter Engineering (DEU)

   Lamborghini Gallardo LP 560-4

3  Yelmer Buurman (NLD)/Michael Bartels (DEU)          1:01:42.654   +16.106

   18, Vita4One Racing Team (DEU) BMW Z4

Toni Vilander (FIN) and Filip Salaquarda (CZE) recorded a first victory for AF Corse Ferrari in a dramatic Qualifying Race in Slovakia.

Starting from fourth on the grid, Vilander and Salaquarda in the Ferrari 458 Italia No.3 won the battle against the elements – heavy rain and an oil-splattered track.

The race was started under the Safety Car after oil was left on the track surface following an oil leak from the No.8 Exim Bank Team China Porsche on the formation lap.

Vilander was delighted to add the Ferrari brand to the list of winners in 2012 and said the result was a reward for a great team effort. “This is a great morale boost for the AF Corse team and all our sponsors. Everyone has been working very hard for this win,” he said.

“The car has been up and down, and the different conditions suited it really well. Behind the Safety Car I tried to push and see where the limit was with the track.

“At the start I tried to go inside, the guys ahead were blocking so I went to the outside and tried to brake as late as I could, and stop before the gravel,” added the Finnish driver.

“After that I went after the McLaren, he was quite slow through the chicane so I was able to push on him in the exit.”

Tomas Enge (CZE) produced a barnstorming drive to the finish to secure second place for he and team-mate Albert von Thurn und Taxis (DEU) in the No.24 Reiter Engineering Lamborghini Gallardo.

Taking over from von Thurn und Taxis at the pit stop, Enge threaded his way through the field from 13th position. He lapped four seconds quicker than anybody else in the closing stages as the rain grew heavier.

An ecstatic von Thurn und Taxis said: “We were all shouting around and going completely nuts. I was hoping we would get some points from the race after the position that I left us.

“It was not even thinkable that we would end up in the first three places, so we are all going to worship Tomas now!”

Third place went to Michael Bartels (DEU) and Yelmer Buurman (NLD) in the Vita4One Racing Team BMW Z4 No.18, while six different brands filled the top six places.

Drivers’ championship leaders and pole-sitters Frederic Makowiecki (FRA) and Stef Dusseldorp (NLD) in the No.1 Hexis McLaren was swamped in the wet conditions and eventually finished ninth.

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