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Morgan Silverstone GT3 Aero Supersports

Dimitri Enjalbert and Johan-Boris Scheier celebrated the maiden win for the AutoGT Racing Morgan Aero SuperSports in the opening round of the FIA GT3 European Championship at Silverstone. The Morgan Aero Super Sport of Maxime Martin and Gael Lesoudier scored a lights to flag victory in the second round of the 2009 FIA GT3 European Championship at Silverstone. The Morgan Aero SuperSports, prepared and run by the French AutoGT Racing team, dominated the weekend.

Silverstone GT3 Aero SuperSports

In a perfect display of Anglo-French relations, the pair of Morgan Aero Super Sports scored victories in both races of the opening FIA GT3 European Championship round at Silverstone over the weekend.

The British car, prepared and run by the French AutoGT Racing team, dominated on both days, Johan-Boris Scheier and Dimitri Enjalbert winning the opening race on Saturday before team mates Maxime Martin and Gael Lesoudier clinched the second.

Race 1

Gearbox failure forced the #8 Kessel Racing Ferrari 430 Scuderia of Andrea Palma and Stefano Gattuso to miss the start, so the Morgan Aero Super Sport of Dimitri Enjalbert led the thirty-six car field around the 5.14 kilometre Silverstone Grand Prix circuit. As the lights went out though, it was the Hexis Racing AMR Aston Martin of Thomas Accary that got the better start and led as the cars swept around Copse for the first time, the Morgan glued to his rear bumper.

Enjalbert got the better run into Maggotts and retook the lead as the field headed out of Becketts and down the long Hanger Straight. Christopher Mies in the Phoenix Racing Audi R8 LMS also got ahead of the Team Rosberg Audi of Nicolas Armindo and set off after the second placed Aston Martin. Further back the Morgan of Gael Lesoudier had moved into 5th place but a spin at Brooklands on lap 2 put the French driver back down the order.

On lap 3, Walter Salles in the #1 Matech Ford GT span at Maggotts, taking to the grass but was collected by the unfortunate James Gornall in the #10 Brixia Racing Aston Martin DBRS9, which damaged the Aston's radiator and forced the British GT champion to retire. Jaromir Jirik also managed to miss the spinning Ford GT in the Muehlner Motorsport Porsche 997 GT3 Cup S.

Enjalbert led from Accary, who was coming under pressure from Mies and Armindo in the two Audi R8s. The top four started to open a gap to the 5th placed car of Christoffer Nygaard in the #28 Fischer Racing Ford GT and the #33 Team Rosberg Audi R8 LMS of Martin Matzke.

On lap 8 Luca Moro retired in the #6 Callaway Competition Corvette Z06R, pulling off the circuit at Club. There was also contact between Manuel Rodrigues in the #4 Hexis Racing AMR Aston Martin DBRS9 and Csaba Walter in the Alpina BMW Alpina B6 GT3, with the Aston suffering from damage to the front suspension which forced Rodrigues into the pits to retire.
Dimitri Enjalbert opened a small gap to the following Aston Martin, ending lap 11 nearly two seconds ahead as Accary was forced to defend his second place from Mies and Armindo.

The pitstop window opened on lap 12 and Jaromir Jirik and Csaba Walter were the first two cars into the pitlane for their mandatory pitstop. Meanwhile 4th placed Nicolas Armindo challenged Mies for third on the exit of Stowe and on the entry to Club had to take the grass as he appeared to outbrake himself. The Audi speared across the grass on the inside of Club corner and rejoined the track still in 4th but losing a lot of time to the Phoenix Racing Audi.

On lap 16 Enjalbert and Mies came into the pits for their stops to hand over to Johan-Boris Scheier and Christopher Haase respectively, with Accary continuing for one lap in the lead before pitting to hand over the car to Julien Rodrigues. Scheier rejoined the track in the lead of the race with Rodrigues in second and Haase right on the tail of the Aston Martin.

On lap 18 the Phoenix Racing Audi swept past the Aston Martin at Abbey and rapidly closed the gap to the leading Morgan. Haase made his move at Priory on lap 22, passing the Morgan on the inside of the lefthander. Haase then opened up a 1.6 second gap and looked good to take the first win of the year but a suspected transmission problem forced the car to slow down on lap 25 and Scheier moved back into the lead as the Audi went into the pitlane to retire.

The gap from the leading Morgan and the second placed Aston Martin was nine seconds with a further seventeen seconds to Cesar Campanico now at the wheel of the #32 Team Rosberg Audi R8. Behind the leaders the battle was for 5th place as Diego Alessi struggled with his Marc Sourd Racing Corvette Z06R and was passed by Tim Bergmeister in the Muehlner Motorsport Porsche and then the #101 Morgan of Maxime Martin.

The chequered flag signalled a debut FIA GT3 win for the Morgan Aero Super Sport, for AutoGT Racing, Dimitri Enjalbert and Johan-Boris Scheier.

Dimitri Enjalbert: “I didn't get a good start which allowed Thomas Accary to overtake me but I retook the first place at the next turn. The car felt very good on the track and fortunately the Audi gave up and we won the race. The goal is now to win the second race tomorrow and take a lot of points for the championship. This is very good for the whole team, for Morgan and for us.”

Johan-Boris Scheier: “Dimitri gave me the car while in first place and I just concentrated on our objective. I think tomorrows race will be more difficult than today. We are very happy with this result and hope we can be in the same position tomorrow but it is going to be hard.”

Thomas Accary: “I was first at the first corner, unfortunately Dimitri overtook me; he did a very good race. It was very difficult with the car because we had a lot of understeer in the fast corners. Julien Rodrigues did a great job and second place is not so bad. It was difficult to keep the Audis behind in the race but we managed to beat them in the race.”


Race 2


With the #37 Zakspeed Viper not starting due to the damage sustained in round 1 and the #22 Trackspeed Porsche of Tim Sugden starting from the pitlane, the FIA GT3 European Championship grid of 35 cars were led round to the start by the #101 AutoGT Racing Morgan of Maxime Martin. As the lights went out, the Belgian got a good start to lead into the first corner at Copse as the #17 Marc Sourd Racing Corvette of Diego Alessi moved ahead of the Mühlner Motorsport Porsche of Sean Edwards. Edwards lost a further place to Dino Lunardi's Matech GT Racing Ford GT at Stowe.

Further back, Sacha Bert made up three places on the opening lap and progressed a further two places to end lap 3 in 5th place in the sole Zakspeed Racing Viper.

The leading Morgan was able to maintain a comfortable 1.5 second lead over the second placed Corvette. Sean Edwards was battling with Dino Lunardi's Ford GT and moved ahead at Luffield when the Ford spun after contact with the flying Porsche. Edwards then closed the gap to Alessi's Corvette to just 0.5 seconds but was unable to find a way round the second placed car. Edwards finally made a move on lap 11 to move back into second place.

The race one winning Morgan of Johan-Boris Scheier had been making steady progress after losing a place on the opening lap. The French driver moved ahead of Thomas Accary on lap 4 at Bridge Corner and was chasing down the Ford GT of Thomas Mutsch as the pitstops approached. Scheier came in on lap 17 but the Morgan failed to start after Dimitri Enjalbert had jumped in leaving car and driver going nowhere.

The pit window opened on lap 13 with some of the back markers electing to stop early while the front runners stayed out. After the pitstops Gael Lesoudier, now at the wheel of the #101 Morgan, had a lead of nearly 15 seconds over the Marc Sourd Racing Corvette, now driven by Luca Pirri.

Further back Sascha Bert in the Zakspeed Viper was fending off the attentions of Thomas Mutsch in the Matech Ford GT. The Viper had to defend at nearly every corner on the circuit but the highly experienced Bert held onto 5th place. However on lap 17 the two cars clashed at Stowe when Mutsch tried to dive down the inside of the Viper and Bert was committed to the corner. The Viper was out on the spot and the Ford limped back to the pits with tyre smoke billowing from the front left of the car.

On the same lap the #29 Fischer Racing Ford GT of Harald Becker was hit from behind by the #11 Prospeed Competition Porsche of Niki Lanik. The Porsche was launched into the air in the impact at Copse and both cars were heavily damaged, but both drivers emerged unscathed. Lanik was later handed a five place grid penalty for the next race by the race stewards.

After the pitstops the #26 Phoenix Racing Audi R8 of Christopher Mies was in 4th place and catching the #4 Hexis Racing Aston Martin of Frederic Makowiecki. On lap 22 Mies passed the Aston to move into 3rd place and then started to rapidly close the gap to the second placed Corvette, which had been given a drive through penalty. Pirri continued to circulate in second place as the Audi caught the Corvette. Mies wasn't sure if Pirri was going to go into the pits to take the penalty so the German moved ahead with an inside move at Abbey on lap 27. The Corvette did peel off into the pitlane at the end of the lap and emerged back in 7th place.

Lesoudier continued to lap the Silverstone Grand Prix circuit and now held a 17 second lead over Mies with just two laps remaining. However the Audi was now coming under pressure from Julien Rodrigues in the #3 Hexis Racing Aston, who was in turn being caught by Nicolas Armindo in the Team Rosberg Audi. Accary moved ahead of Mies on lap 29 but on the next lap slid off the track at Priory and a trip across the gravel put him into the clutches of Armindo as Mies regained his lost second place.

Thomas Accary began the last lap with the Team Rosberg Audi filling his mirrors but the French driver was holding on to the final podium position. As the two cars entered the stadium for the last time Nicolas Armindo saw an opportunity and at Luffield made a lunge down the inside of the Aston Martin to push past and take the final podium position by a tenth of a second.

The race belonged to Gael Lesoudier, Maxime Martin, AutoGT Racing and Morgan, the French driver, in a French prepared British car took the chequered flag to give the team its second win of the weekend. Christopher Mies crossed the line 18 seconds later but was pleased to take the podium after starting in 16th place.

The next two races will take place in at the Adria International Raceway in Italy on Saturday 16th May with the second race taking place at 22:30 on Saturday evening, the first time the FIA GT3 European Championship has ever held a night race.

Maxime Martin: "I had a very good start so I could stay in first at the first corner. We were very fast, so it was great and Gael was very good at the end, so it was fantastic for the whole team. It wasn't easy, but we could stay first, so it was fantastic. We had some problems at the end of the race with the tyres, but it was good at the beginning. It is good for the team with two wins, we can't do better."

Gael Lesoudier: "I had some trouble with the rear of the car, with the tyres. So I tried not to push to try and keep the rear tyres good until the end of the race. Maxime pushed a lot at the beginning, so we had a little gap which was OK. It is a fantastic weekend for Morgan and we are in England , so for Charles Morgan it is a fantastic day."

Morgan Silverstone GT3 Aero Supersports

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