Sports car racing newcomer Andreas Zuber claimed pole position for the opening round of the new FIA GT1 World Championship in Abu Dhabi after qualifying was abandoned as a result of a serious accident.
The Phoenix/Carsport Chevrolet driver's time of 2m06.780s around the Yas Marina circuit will stand as pole because organizers concluded it will take up to three hours to repair the barriers at the end of the long back straight, where Natacha Gachnang crashed her Matech Ford GT just over 17 minutes into the opening round of qualifying.
GP2 graduate Zuber, whose teammate Marc Hennerici will start tomorrow afternoon's qualifying race from pole, said: "I have to say it was a clear lap. I didn't push so much, but maybe when you push in these cars, you go slower. They are a bit different to a formula car."
Austrian Zuber will not get to start the main race from pole even if and his German teammate win the one-hour qualifying event. All four Chevrolet Corvette C6.Rs will be given a 10-place grid penalty for the championship event because the cars are not in compliance with the sporting regulations concerning the position of the ballast required to bring them up to the new minimum weight of 1,200kg.
Hexis Aston Martin driver Frederic Makowiecki was second fastest with a time nearly a second slower than than Zuber. The Frenchman's 2m07.705 lap was less a tenth ahead of Enrique Bernoldi in the best of the four Maserati MC12s on the entry list.
Gachnang was helicoptered to a nearby hospital after treatment at the circuit medical center. The details of her condition released so far are that she was conscious when she was removed from the car and has a suspected broken leg.
Pos Drivers Team/Car Time Gap
1. Zuber/Hennerici Phoenix Corvette 2m06.780s
2. Makowiecki/Deletraz Hexis Aston Martin 2m07.705s + 0.925s
3. Bernoldi/Ramos Vitaphone Maserati 2m07.763s + 0.983s
4. Maassen/Muller MadCroc Corvette 2m08.049s + 1.269s
5. Bertolini/Bartels Vitaphone Maserati 2m08.070s + 1.290s
6. Salo/Kuismanen MadCroc Corvette 2m08.078s + 1.298s
7. Kox/Haase Reiter Lamborghini 2m08.090s + 1.310s
8. Turner/Enge Young Driver Aston 2m08.143s + 1.363s
9. Krumm/Dumbreck SumoPower Nissan 2m08.287s + 1.507s
10. Leinders/Martin Marc VDS Ford 2m08.322s + 1.542s
11. Mutsch/Grosjean Matech Ford 2m08.463s + 1.683s
12. Margaritis/Heger Triple H Maserati 2m08.494s + 1.714s
13. Ara/Nilsson SRT Nissan 2m08.610s + 1.830s
14. Wendlinger/Moser SRT Nissan 2m08.652s + 1.872s
15. Palttala/Kuppens Marc VDS Ford 2m08.737s + 1.957s
16. Bobbi/Longin Triple H Maserati 2m08.787s + 2.007s
17. Jager/Basseng All-Inkl Lamborghini 2m08.798s + 2.018s
18. Piccione/Hirschi Hexis Aston Martin 2m09.046s + 2.266s
19. Hughes/Campbell-Walter SumoPower Nissan 2m09.446s + 2.666s
20. Nygaard/Mucke Young Driver Aston 2m09.629s + 2.849s
21. Gachnang/Allemann Matech Ford 2m09.964s + 3.184s
22. Zonta/Daniel Reiter Lamborghini 2m10.261s + 3.481s
23. Pastorelli/Schwager All-Inkl Lamborghini 2m10.628s + 3.848s
24. Hezemans/Piccini Phoenix Corvette 2m16.352s + 9.572s