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SRT heads organized special return flights with AUA

As is generally known, the ash cloud over Europe grounded all aircrafts over Europe and many participants of the FIA GT1 World Championship were forced to extend their stay in Abu Dhabi.
This caused a race against time in order to transport men and materials to Silverstone/Europe for the next race in due time. Othmar Welti (Swiss Racing Team’s managing director) and Erich Kolb (Swiss Racing Team’s team manager) took matters into their own hands. Long-standing, friendly motorsports contacts with Jetalliance were a great help. Welti got the ball rolling by calling team owner Lukas Lichtner-Hoyer.
Lichtner-Hoyer took charge immediately. At first an aircraft from Moskau was discussed.

“It required a lot of effort to get overflight rights at all. This is not a matter of hours. Those countries have a completely different administration structure. It took quite some time,” said Welti.
Pilot Werner Langer (Austrian Airlines pilot and friend of the team and Jetalliance) got involved. He went directly to the AUA management, explained the situation and asked for an aircraft to fly back the “stranded”.
Everything was well organised. At first one and eventually a second aircraft was employed in order to fly about 200 people back to Europe.
In the meantime, many allegedly low-priced flight offers delayed the process unnecessarily. At first return flights were assured. However, these assurances were later withdrawn because of impossible counter-bidders. None of these flights happened. Finally it sank in that next weekend’s GT1 race in Silverstone/Great Britain was at risk. CEO of SRO Ratel got involved and booked 180 seats for the other teams. And on Thursday morning everybody was able to return home.
“Many thanks to the AUA, to Jetalliance CEO Lukas Lichtner-Hoyer and Werner Langer. They supported us enormously. It was an organisational masterpiece. Langer made the statement: he is going to send the cavalry to get us out,” says Othmar Welti happily.
In the meantime the racing cars were transported to Luxemburg. In order not to lose time, a repair shop was rented near the Nürburgring in order to repair the two slightly damaged Nissan GT-R’s.
“We are working at the limit and on Wednesday morning we will travel to Silverstone. The team is still busy assembling the cars and is doing a great job,” Erich Kolb says praisingly.

Quelle: mmr/motioncompany

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