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