Team Rosberg Audi R8 LMS gets first win in FIA GT3 Europe

The number 3 Team Rosberg Audi R8 LMS of Kenneth Heyer took the chequered flag in Round 5 at Jarama after the #101 Callaway Competition Corvette Z06R of Christian Hohenadel slowed on the last lap with fuel pump problems. The Audi started 15th on the grid, with Bernd Herndlhofer handing over the car to Heyer at the pitstops in 6th. The Argo Racing Lamborghini of Albert von Thurn und Taxis made the early running but faded in last part of the race when Giorgio Sanna was tapped into a spin on two occassions, eventually finishing 7th. The Chad Racing Ferrari of Diego Alessi and Giacomo Petrobelli was third behind Hohenadel’s strugging Callaway Competition Corvette.

The sun was shining on the Jarama track as the cars lined up for the start of Round 5 of the 2010 FIA GT1 World Championship. The Argo Racing Lamborghini Gallardo of Albert von Thurn und Taxis led the grid on the formation lap but as the race began found the # 9 Team S-Berg Racing BMW Alpina of Nikolaus Mayr-Melnhof, who had made a good start from the second row, alongside him in the run into the first corner. Mayr-Melnhof held the lead but von Thurn und Taxis fought back to regain the lead a lap later. The Sainteloc-Phoenix Racing Audi R8 of Stephane Lemeret had also got a good start ending the opening lap in 3rd place from 5th on the grid.

The leading Lamborghini started to pull away from the second placed BMW Alpina over the next few laps, setting the fastest lap of the race on lap 7. Mayr-Melnhof’s race was brought to a halt on lap 8 when he went off into the gravel at Turn 8 and had to be pushed back by the marshals before he could return to the pitlane for his first of three stops. The BMW Alpina’s demise promoted Daniel Keilwitz in the # 101 Callaway Competition Corvette into second place. Von Thurn und Taxis continued to open up a comfortable lead over the chasing Corvette and as the Pit Window opened held a 10 second advantage.

Further back Bernd Herndlhofer in the nr3 Team Rosberg Audi R8 LMS was making progress up the field from his lowly 15th slot on the grid and by lap 12 was challenging the # 23 United Autosports Audi of Zak Brown.

While the leading cars continued to circulate, the cars started to pit for their mandatory stops, shaking up the order. The # 77 Need for Speed by Schubert Motorsport BMW Z4 of Claudia Huertgen had to serve a 1-second stop-go penalty after coming out of pits too early.

All cars pitted within the allotted time and the # 25 Argo Racing Lamborghini of Giacomo Sanna held a 13 second advantage over Christian Hohenadel in the # 101 Callaway Corvette, but the German was closing on the Lamborghini at four seconds a lap. However Hohenadel had to negotiate his way past two backmarkers who were having their own battle for position and for three laps had to sit and wait for an opportunity to pass on the narrow Jarama track. Once he was past Hohenadel got on terms with the leading car, but Sanna was not going to give up his lead easily.

For the next four laps Giacomo Sanna defended his position at every corner but with 10 minutes of the race remaining it seemed it would only be a matter of time until he made the mistake Hohenadel was working hard to provoke. On lap 31 the Corvette driver dived for a small gap at Turn 4 and when the Lamborghini turned in there was . The Lamborghini spun round and the Corvette was now in the lead, a move that was later investigated by the Stewards.

Meanwhile the batte for 3rd was just as fierce with Kenneth Heyer in the nr3 Team Rosberg Audi challenging Diego Alessi in the Chad Racing Ferrari for position. The two cars came up behind the second placed Lamborghini, which Alessi tried to pass at Turn 4. There was and the Lamborghini was once again spun round with Heyer taking advantage of the delayed Ferrari to move from 4th to 2nd place.

With minutes of the race remaining it looked like Christian Hohenadel was on his way to his second win of the season but on the last lap the Corvette faltered as a fuel pump problem starved the engine of fuel. Hohenadel coaxed the Corvette to the finish line but not before Heyer moved ahead of the slowing car to take the chequered flag and the first Audi win of 2010.


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