Changes At RaceAlliance & Zakspeed
Beginning with the next FIA-GT race at Oschersleben, the RaceAlliance Aston Martin DBR9 will run on Michelin tyres. Team owner Lukas Lichtner-Hoyer has made this announcement today (June 26). “The way the season has worked out so far is not what we expected,” says Mr. Lichtner-Hoyer, “therefore we had to take action, especially because of the time factor; there are only ten races in FIA-GT.” The first two rounds of the 2006 championship were nothing short of disastrous for the team run by former Zakspeed manager Andreas Hainke, with two DNFs and a points tally which at least up to now equals Austria’s success in recent Eurovision Song Contests.

Philipp Peter and Karl Wendlinger are poised to change that. Wendlinger finds the Oschersleben track to his liking, and notes that he has only positive memories of previous races here: “Last year I managed second place there, after a terrific race. I am very confident that we will be among the frontrunners with our Red Bull Aston Martin this time, and get the first points for the RaceAlliance team.”

Fresh from Le Mans, Peter may not share Wendlinger’s fondness for the circuit but he also makes their objective clear: “I certainly know that we are under a certain pressure now, that we are practically obliged now to bring home a good result. And we will fulfill this obligation.”

In the Zakspeed camp, on the other hand, the mood could not be better, despite an adjustment to the specification of the team’s Saleen. The Zakspeed S7R has had its rear wing width reduced by 142 mm, from 1680 mm, beginning at Oschersleben, owing to the level of performance it has shown at the first two races. The Balfe Saleen can still run with the larger wing.

Jarek Janis took his home victory at Brno in the white Saleen, and now his team mate Sascha Bert has similar plans for the German race. Says team manager Andreas Leberle: “We are again well-prepared for Oschersleben; especially Sascha and Jarek are highly motivated.” The Nürburgring 24 Hours did not quite go according to plan for Zakspeed, with a third place for the team’s customer car but a DNF for the “star car” shared by Bert / Zakowaski / Huisman / Huppert-Nieder. Back in the Saleen S7-R, Bert is eager to make up for this defeat with a good result in the FIA-GT race: “As a racer, of course I want to win every event, especially when it is held in Germany. I like Oschersleben very much, and obviously want to make use of the little home advantage that the Zakspeed team and I have here” - their FIA-GT competitors will have other ideas about this.

With RaceAlliance eager to make up for lost time, and Zakspeed determined to stay at the head of the pack, both these teams find themselves under a different kind of pressure as they travel to Oschersleben for the three hour race on July 2. Full preview to come.


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