Alex Müller, the newcomer at Vitaphone Racing
New year; new partner.
Miguel Ramos is one of the friendliest drivers around, as well as being one of the most eager to share his experience in the FIA GT. This is just as well as the Portuguese driver, now in his third season with Vitaphone Racing Team, will have another new partner. In 2007 he was flanked by Christian Montanari, with whom he won at Brno; in 2008 it was the turn of Xavier Negrao and the two triumphed at Nogaro.
This year it will be Alex Müller, from Emmerich, who will team up with Ramos. Last year Müller drove an Aston Martin prepared by Jet Alliance but will not be in an MC12 for the first time having starred for Playteam SaraFree in the 24 Hours of Spa in 2007.
The German felt at home both in the car and the team after the test session at Paul Ricard. We interviewed him once the pre-qualifying technical briefing had been wrapped up.
What were your first impressions joining a team that has won the Team title four years running?
"I have to say that the squad really made me feel welcome and though this is often taken for granted, it isn’t always so easy. What counts is the atmosphere in the group and here, right from the start, it was like being a part of one big family. I am pleased to have joined Vitaphone Racing and to be driving a car like the Maserati MC12; I am also happy to be working with guys I had backing me during the 24 Hours of Spa in 2007 with Playteam SaraFree".
That’s right: you have already driven the MC12. Do you have the same feeling with the car as you did in 2007?
"Having a look at our performance during these first sessions, we can say yes. In free practice and pre-qualifying here at Silverstone we have seen the MC12 do quite well. In yesterday’s opening free session we came in second and, today, we set the third best time without showing the car’s real potential.
This morning, for example, I was running a new set of tyres but could not get the best out of them because the red flag came out in sector two. In the light of this, I think it is possible to be three or four tenths quicker and so be in with a chance of competing with Wendlinger/Sharp’s Saleen. I think that the car’s true position is on the front row so we will be out to set a fast lap and see how things go.
Of course, it is too soon to be making predictions as we don’t know how much fuel the other cars have. What we can say is that we have worked on our car’s set up and even tweaked it after pre-qualifying. In any case, qualifying is not all that important as what really counts is the race. The key will be the consistent performance of the tyres and the car and this also goes for the other drivers".
What are your expectations for the race?
"I don’t have any expectations for the race. I came here to do my best without thinking about the outcome or my final position".
What are your first impressions of your new team-mate?
"I get on well with Ramos because he is a good driver; focused, reliable and consistent. We will work together and both try to be quick, above all by working in race mode".