FIA GT3 European Championship : The Final Showdown
History will certainly remember that 2009 was a vintage season for the FIA GT3 European Championship. The final meeting of the year at Zolder in Belgium will see the culmination of the battle for the overall title that has been the hallmark of the series, with eight different driver pairings and four different manufacturers - Ford, Aston Martin, Audi and Morgan – being first to the chequered flag in the ten races held so far across Europe.
Earlier this month the FIA GT3 European Championship held its first two races at the Paul Ricard HTTT in the South of France. The result of the first race was declared after only two laps after rain fell on part of the circuit, with cars on slick tyres, causing several accidents. Six cars were beyond repair but all of the drivers involved were OK, and half points were awarded for Round 9. After a puncture three laps from home denied Csaba Walter the first FIA GT3 win for the BMW Alpina B6, round 10 saw victory go to Thomas Mutsch and Walter Salles, after starting 17th on the grid – the first FIA GT3 win for the Brazilian.
The final two races of the 2009 season at Zolder in Belgium have a maximum of twenty points on offer, meaning an incredible fifteen drivers still have a mathematically chance to become the 2009 FIA GT3 European Champion. Following the FIA Court of Appeal hearing Thomas Accary and Julien Rodrigues (nr3 Hexis Racing Aston Martin DBRS9) were reinstated to the results of Round 6 in Oschersleben and hold a slender half point lead championship lead over Christopher Haase and Christopher Mies (nr26 Phoenix Racing Audi R8 LMS) and are three points ahead of Nicolas Armindo and Cesar Campanico (nr32 Team Rosberg Audi R8 LMS). The second Hexis Racing pairing of Frederic Makowiecki and Manuel Rodrigues are also within striking distance as the Championship heads to Zolder for the first time. Hexis Racing AMR holds a comfortable 21.5 point lead over Phoenix Racing in the Teams Championship but with Phoenix only fielding one car in Belgium after the other was badly damaged in Round 9, the title looks to be heading to the French team for the first time.
The first of 60-minute races will be held at 11am on Sunday 25 October, with the final race of the 2009 season at 5:10pm on the same day. Qualifying for Rounds 11 & 12 will take place on Saturday 24 October at 2:40pm. The FIA GT3 European Championship races will be run with the Belgian GT Championship, forming two separate grids for the same race on the 4.1km Zolder circuit.