Spa: BMS race report
BMS Reign Supreme With Victory at The 24 Hours of Spa Lilian Bryner made motorsport history today by becoming the first woman to win a major international 24 Hour race in a modern day GT sportscar. She, together with her BMS Scuderia Italia team ...
BMS Reign Supreme With Victory at The 24 Hours of Spa
Lilian Bryner made motorsport history today by becoming the first woman to win a major international 24 Hour race in a modern day GT sportscar. She, together with her BMS Scuderia Italia team mates, Fabrizio Gollin, Luca Cappellari and Enzo Calderari, crossed the finish line two laps ahead of the GPC Giesse Squadra Corse Ferrari 575M of Mika Salo, Vincent Vosse, Fabio Babini and Philipp Peter in what was to be a trouble-free race for the Swiss-Italian driving squad's Ferrari 550 Maranello. The GT win echoed their success here in Spa last year, but overall victory was undoubtedly sweeter for the drivers and the team alike.
The Care Racing-supported Ferrari 550s, which are powered by Prodrive built 6 litre V12 engines, reinforced their superior performance and endurance reliability in a race-long duel today, with success going to the privateers. This follows the Breschia-based BMS team's 2003 FIA GT Championship titles and the Prodrive Ferrari team's 2003 24 Hours of Le Mans and Petit Le Mans GTS victories.
BMS's nr. 1 car, driven by Matteo Bobbi, Gabriele Gardel, Stefano Livio and Miguel Angel de Castro, did not unfortunately enjoy such a clear run in their bid for the double Championship points on offer for this round of the FIA GT series. Having started well, they ran into trouble in the hour leading to midnight as repairs to accident damage lost them 50 minutes track time and some 18 laps on the leading car. Some hard charging for the remainder of the race, together with a high attrition rate across the field, saw them claim 3rd in the GT class and 7th overall in the race results.
The team retain a healthy lead in the GT Teams' Championship, and Gollin and Cappellari have extended their hold on the Drivers' title, while all BMS and Care Racing drivers scored points today.
Lilian Bryner (CH), BMS Scuderia Italia car no. 2: "It is a Swiss National day today and it is certainly a special day. I want to thank all my fellow drivers as they did a wonderful job throughout the 24 Hours and the team also as they were all splendid."
Fabrizio Gollin (I), BMS Scuderia Italia car no. 2: "Last year, finishing 2nd overall, was good but this year - winning outright - is a dream and fantastic. It was a very, very hard fight for the whole 24 hours and we stayed with the 575 and their very good drivers all the time."
Luca Cappellari (I), BMS Scuderia Italia car no. 2: "The car was fantastic all the time and we had no problems so we could push hard on every lap. It was hard as the GPC 575 was a great competitor with very professional drivers so it was a lot of fun. As Fabrizio said, it's a dream. As for the Championship, we shall have to wait until Zhuhai to see what happens. The points are very close and if you lose one or two races it can change everything."
Enzo Calderari (CH), BMS Scuderia Italia car no. 2: "I've counted up my races here and I think I have done 12 or 13 and never won one before today. It was really stressful during the last two hours, waiting for the finish, but I want to thank the team as the car was really good and very quick. I also want to thank Michelin for giving us tyres which meant we could run quickly at night. I never saw a 24 Hour race which was so close all the way, and I want to thank Fabrizio specially for doing such very, very quick times during the night which put us into a position from which we could win this race. It's fantastic."
Gabriele Gardel (CH), BMS Scuderia Italia car no. 1: "I think our race was pretty good in the end and it was just a shame we lost the chance to try to win this race when we had the big crash in the first hour of the night. After that we drove through as fast as we could, trying to keep the 3rd place to give us the chance to keep the Championship open. The team did an unbelievable job repairing the damage to the car and I think it's a good result in the end."
Matteo Bobbi (I), BMS Scuderia Italia car no. 1: "The race started well for us but the problems began about midnight when we ended our possibility to win the race with the crash. Anyway, the team did a fantastic job to repair it so quickly, and thank you to Prodrive too - the car is perfect for a 24 hour race. You win this race with your head, not just your foot, and we were missing something - it's a shame."
Stefano Livio (I), BMS Scuderia Italia car no. 1: "I just want to thank my team very much, all my co-drivers, and Michelin for the tyres."
Miguel Angel de Castro (ESP), BMS Scuderia Italia car no. 1: "Everything worked perfectly for me. I didn't expect to finish 1st, but with this car and with these team mates I realised early that it could be a possibility. We could fight very easily with some big and impressive teams but sometimes in racing crashes happen. Next time I'm here I hope to also be in a position to win the race like we were with BMS."