Two Corvettes on the podium in Argentina
Five weeks after the penultimate round at Zolder, the tenth and final round of the 2008 FIA GT Championship was a long-haul affair: the brand-new 6.27 kilometres long "Potero de los Funes" circuit in San Luis in Argentina was the venue for the showdown of the season. Finishing second, Phoenix Carsport Corvette pairing Mike Hezemans and Fabrizio Gollin were the best-placed Corvette team. They also became runners-up in the final standings of the 2008 FIA GT drivers' championship. Third place in the season final went to the Belgian Selleslagh Racing Team with drivers Maxime Soulet, Armand Fumal and Christian Ledesma behind the wheel of their Corvette Z06.
The entry list for the event included a total of 23 cars, ten of them competing in the top-of-the-bill GT1 category. Among these ten cars were three Corvettes. The Belgian Selleslagh Racing Team had replaced its regular line-up of Christophe Bouchut and Xavier Maassen by young Belgians Maxime Soulet and Armand Fumal and Argentine racing stalwart Christian Ledesma. At the Phoenix Carsport Racing team, local driver Ricardo Risalti took the place of Jean-Dénis Deletraz alongside Marcel Fässler in the number 5 Corvette while the number 6 car was driven by its regular pairing of Mike Hezemans and Fabrizio Gollin.
In qualifying, Marcel Fässler came out fastest, claiming pole position with a lap time of 2.13.236 minutes and a margin of 0.143 seconds over the second-placed driver. For the Swiss, it was already his fifth pole position of the season after Silverstone, Adria, Bucharest and Nogaro. Thus, he became the first driver to equal Bernd Schneider's previous record of five pole positions in the 1997 season. "It wasn't easy at all", said Fässler afterwards. "I made a few mistakes, but then I did one more very fast lap and that was enough for pole position." Mike Hezemans qualified the sister car sixth overall. Originally, that position had been taken up by the SRT-Corvette, but that team had its times disallowed after having used the wrong tyres in qualifying and was relegated to the back of the grid.
Having been overtaken at the start, pole-sitter Fässler quietly waited for his chance and took the lead on lap 18. It was a Phoenix Carsport 1-2 as good pit work and a clever strategy had allowed the other Corvette of the German team to move up into second place. In the closing stages of the race, however, Fässler ran wide and retired while in the lead. Hezemans was involved in a fierce battle with Belgian Bert Longin and eventually came home second. That also brought runner-up position for him and his Italian team-mate Fabrizio Gollin in the final drivers' standings. A great recovery in the race following their setback in qualifying was rewarded with a third-place finish for the SRT-Corvette team of Maxime Soulet, Armand Fumal and Christian Ledesma.
"With 90 kilos in the car it was always going to be difficult", said Mike Hezemans after the race. "We changed the set-up after qualifying and we were on the pace in the race." Team-mate Fabrizio Gollin added: "We were very competitive. We used the same set of tyres throughout the race."
In the final FIA GT points' standings Hezemans/Gollin are runners-up with 66 points. Fässler is fourth with 48.5 points, Deletraz is fifth with 45.5 points. SRT-Corvette drivers Bouchut/Maassen end up eighth with 32.5 points.