American based New Zealand racing driver Matt Halliday has won the second race of Round 2 of the FIA GT1 World Championship held at Belgium's Zolder circuit overnight. Halliday and French co-driver Mike Parisy battled their way up from 3rd grid position in damp, slippery conditions to record their first race win in the championship.
Driving the Exim Bank Team China Porsche 911 GT3 Cup R purpose built racer the duo capped off a superb weekend by setting the fastest time in qualifying, finishing 3rd in Saturday's opening race then recorded what is the most significant win in Halliday's career to date. The win also lifts Halliday and Parisy up to 2nd overall in the points standings which is an encouraging sign for the Kiwi star as he has never driven on the Zolder circuit before.
However, victory did not come easy as the duo undertook some desperate overtaking including an anxious moment when Halliday slid sideways on the wet track under braking to rub wheels with a Mercedes but recovered to eventually complete the maneuver. Good race strategy and slick pitstop work by the M�hlner Motorsport crew were also a key element in the success:
"What an amazing day and weekend! Pole, 3rd in the qualifying race and winning the championship race today!
"I have to say it has been a long road to get here in this series over the last few years and today I think we showed what we can do with the right opportunity!
A big thanks to Exim Bank Team China Porsche and Stephane Ratel together with Colin, Richard and Michael Giltrap for their continued support. I am so happy to win it in a Porsche!" said Halliday after the podium ceremony.
The FIA GT1 Championship comprises two car teams from some of the world's top high performance manufacturers including Ferrari, McLaren, Lamborghini, Audi, BMW, Aston Martin, Ford, Mercedes and Porsche. Along with Formula One, the Rally World Championship and the World Touring Car Championship it is recognised as an official World Championship by motorsport's world governing body - the FIA. Each round of the championship comprises three qualifying sessions then two races of 60 minutes duration including a compulsory pit stop with tyre and driver change.
The next round of the championship will take place at Navarra in Spain on 26-27 of May.
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