HEXIS AMR: Highs and lows in China

Thursday, September 15, 2011

HEXIS AMR was on the podium in Ordos and it looked like the team was going to score its third victory of the season in the rain in Peking. But with only six minutes to go to the chequered flag, the team’s hopes were brutally dashed. The French squad still has a chance of winning the world title in Argentina. It will go for bust on the circuit where it made its mark on the grand touring scene in 2010.

The FIA GT1 World Championship played its role as ambassador for motor racing in China to the hilt. It began in Ordos in Inner Mongolia, and then continued in Goldenport Park in Peking finishing in the streets in the capital of the Popular Chinese Republic around the site of the 2008 Olympic Games.

Ordos, no. 3 P3, No. 4 P4

20.000 spectators massed on the new Ordos circuit 50 kilometers from the mausoleum of Gengis Khan. They saw the two HEXIS AMR cars fighting their way to the front in the championship event after an excellent performance in the qualifying race. Piccione-Dusseldorp and Hohenadel-Piccini finished in third and fourth places bagging a big haul of points in the teams’ championship title chase. The stunning performances on the track were matched in the pits as no. 4 had the best pit stop time in the qualifying race, and the team then set the two fastest times in the championship round.

Hopes brutally dashed in Peking

The GTI TV commentators were right when they said that the short Goldenport Park layout was a circuit of the old school. After the brilliant sunshine of the first day, the two races on Saturday were run in persistent rain. The two HEXIS AMR Aston Martin DBRS9s adapted to the conditions without problems. Clivio Piccione and Stef Dusseldorp used the 60-minute qualification race to fight their way up from seventeenth to fifth place. Andrea Piccini and Christian Hohenadel jumped from tenth on the grid to third at the chequered flag. In the pits, the mechanics performed another miracle - the tyre change on no. 4 was 2.7s quicker than all its rivals! The team lost one of its cars at the start of the championship race, when Dusseldorp ended up in the gravel trap in corner number one. Hohenadel did a superb stint in third place. The best pit stop of the whole field put Piccini into the lead, and the Italian proved that the HEXIS AMR Aston Martin was the fastest car in the very wet conditions by pulling out a lead of more than three seconds over his rivals. Unfortunately, he went off five laps from the finish just when two corners further on, the safety car was preparing to neutralize the race until the end.

Philippe Dumas: “the best team in the world”

On the evening of the event, Philippe Dumas, the team manger, stressed the excellent quality of the performance of his troops, and refused to lay the blame on the drivers who were caught out on the Chinese skating rink. “I think we again showed that we’re the best team in the world no matter what the conditions. I’m just very sad for us all and for my four drivers. Life sometimes springs unexpected surprises but that’s what sport’s all about. Although we’ve just taken a whack on the head, that doesn’t mean that we won’t continue fighting till the end. We still have a slight chance of being world champions, and all together we’ll battle against the forces of destiny until the last lap, the last corner on the San Luis circuit!”

For the honour…

On Sunday evening, the FIA GTI World Championship teams put on a nighttime demonstration race between the Bird’s Nest and the Water Cube where the Olympic events took place in 2008. The teams also took part in a tyre changing competition – and guess who won? Rendezvous in Argentina on 5th-6th November for the final round of what has been a thrilling world championship so far.
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