Young Driver AMR: Abu Dhabi race summary

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

A strong World Championship premiere for Young Driver AMR ended up unrewarded. Christoffer Nygaard (DK) began the race in the second row of the grid in third position in this historic event – the first “Championship Race” of the new FIA GT1 World Championship. But on the very first lap the young talented Danish driver in car #8 was forced to retire after two involuntary collisions, which also meant that teammate Stefan Mücke never got to follow up on his most impressive qualifying race earlier. In the other car Darren Turner (UK) and Tomas Enge (CZ) fought valiantly in the #7 Aston Martin but battled with an engine misfire and missed out on points in 11th even though this was the best placed Aston Martin of the day.

Both races of the weekend were actually highlighted by Young Driver AMR being the target of opponents. The “qualifying race” began with the #7 car being rammed by a Corvette in the first corner, followed by the “Championship Race” where Christoffer Nygaard was hit once by two different Nissan GT-Rs on the first lap leading to his exit. “This steering broke so I had to park the car,” said the young Dane, whose teammate Mücke then never got to drive in the actual race.

Darren Turner started the #7 Aston from 16th position and actually won six places on the very first lap. “I got through the traffic with some ease” said the former Formula 1 test driver. “It was very turbulent, but some of our competitors went into the starting phase a bit too aggressive, giving us opportunities in the early stages. Then the car had the engine misfire, which especially hurt us on the straights. The team did a perfect job during the race, as they have the whole week. In both races we had absolutely perfect pit stops, and it was a great performance overall for all involved”.

“As much fun as today I have never had in a sauna before”, Tomas Enge joked, referring to the heat in Abu Dhabi after the race. Even though the race was held at night the thermometer in at Yas Marina Circuit went beyond the 30 degrees mark. “I had some great duels, unfortunately a Maserati blocked most laps. He made some mistakes and I was faster, but he defended his line well and the engine misfiring unfortunately cost us a better position.” “Our first appearance in the GT1 championship was very acceptable,” technical director Hardy Fischer explained after the race. “We had some training problems with defective oil coolers on both cars, and during both races we were victims of collisions. However, we have the fourth place of Nygaard / Mücke in the qualifying race which indicates what we can do. Our mechanics worked hard and did amazing things on the #7 car, to have it ready in the very short time between races. Our drivers did not make any mistakes, and especially our “Young Driver” Christoffer Nygaard gave an impressive performance in his debut in a GT1 sports car.”

Race results:
1st Mutsch / Grosjean Ford GT
2nd Zuber / Hennerici Corvette
3rd Hezemans / Piccini Corvette
4th Bartels / Bertolini Maserati
5th Zonta / Daniel Lamborghini
6th Bernoldi / Ramos Maserati
7th Bobbi / Longin Maserati
8th Kox / Haase Lamborghini
9th Heger / Margaritis Maserati
10th Maassen/ Müller Corvette
11th Turner / Enge Aston Martin AMR-YD
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