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Maserati extends FIA GT World Championship lead

 

Maserati has maintained its lead in the FIA GT World Championship Drivers and Team title chases with two Maserati MC12s finishing the seven round of the Championship on the podium after a very wet race at the Italian at the Italian Mugello race track at the weekend (17 September 2006).

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"I am very happy as we have two cars on the podium and I have to thank Davies and Biagi for this as I started from row four in demanding conditions," said Michael Bartels at the finish, after finishing in second place with Andrea Bertolini. "Andrea did well in the first hour in the rain, even though I thought the safety car would be needed at the start. I thought it was a little difficult".

It was one of the most difficult races of the season owing to the testing weather. Michael Bartels-Andrea Bertolini and Jamie Davies-Thomas Biagi's Maserati MC12s came home second and third in a thrilling end to the race.

"The start was critical as visibility was very limited. This was the reason why I did not push on at the beginning," explained Jamie Davies. "I thought that it would be a drawn out race and, as such, useless taking risks. Biagi was superb in driving hard for two stints. Together with Pirelli, we conducted a good test in using rain tyres, intermediates and slicks in the course of the race".

Bartels was only 4"723 off the pace of the winners, Wendlinger-Peter (Aston Martin DBR9). The Maseratis beat off the challenge of the Saleen S7 R driven by Bert-Montermini-Janis and the Aston Martins with Pescatori-Babini and Deletraz-Piccini on board.

Thanks to these results, Bartels and Bertolini strengthened their grip at the top of the Drivers' championship over Deletraz and Piccini. Vitaphone Racing Team also maintain first place in the Team standings.

At the start of the three hour race and in driving rain, Andrea Bertolini sped off to keep hold off the pole position he had earned in qualifying. Finn Toni Vilander's Scuderia Playteam Maserati MC12 edged past Montermini's Saleen, to move into second. Vilander claimed top spot on lap two, a position he held for the entire first hour. Following the pit stop, he handed over to his team mate, Alessandro Pier Guidi, but the Playteam MC12 was soon forced to retire, giving Bertolini the opening to retake the lead.

The other Vitaphone Racing Team Maserati started from eighth with Jamie Davies at the wheel but managed to climb the field. At the end of the second hour, the two Vitaphone Maseratis were firmly in control courtesy of Michael Bartels and Thomas Biagi.

The surface slowly dried out and this created some uncertainty as to the choice of tyre. The final pit stops were made between laps 61 and 63, allowing the tyres but not the drivers to be changed. Half an hour from the end, the classification saw Wendlinger (Aston Martin) leading, followed by Bartels, Deletraz (Aston Martin), Biagi and Babini (Aston Martin). It was at this point that Biagi mounted an incredible comeback, sweeping past Deletraz on lap 74.

The Hungarian circuit of Hungaroring (Budapest) will host the next round of the FIA GT championship on 1 October.

FIA GT Championship, final classification at Mugello:
1. Wendlinger-Peter (Aston Martin DBR9) 86 laps; 2. Bartels-Bertolini (Maserati MC12) + 4"723; 3. Davies-Biagi (Maserati MC12) + 5"149; 4. Bert-Montermini-Janis (Saleen S7 R) + 5"510; 5. Pescatori-Babini (Aston Martin DBR9) + 34"079; 6. Deletraz-Piccini (Aston Martin DBR9) 1'03"602

FIA GT Championship for Drivers (after seven races):
1. Bartels and Bertolini 57; 3. Piccini and Deletraz 47; 5. Bert 42; 6. Janis 41; 7. Davies and Biagi 36; 9. Babini 35; 10. Hezemans, Longin and Kumpen 26

Teams:
1. Vitaphone Racing Team 93; 2. Aston Martin Racing BMS 47,5; 3. Phoenix Motorsport 47; 4. Zakspeed 42

"I am very happy as we have two cars on the podium and I have to thank Davies and Biagi for this as I started from row four in demanding conditions," said Michael Bartels at the finish, after finishing in second place with Andrea Bertolini. "Andrea did well in the first hour in the rain, even though I thought the safety car would be needed at the start. I thought it was a little difficult".

It was one of the most difficult races of the season owing to the testing weather. Michael Bartels-Andrea Bertolini and Jamie Davies-Thomas Biagi's Maserati MC12s came home second and third in a thrilling end to the race.

"The start was critical as visibility was very limited. This was the reason why I did not push on at the beginning," explained Jamie Davies. "I thought that it would be a drawn out race and, as such, useless taking risks. Biagi was superb in driving hard for two stints. Together with Pirelli, we conducted a good test in using rain tyres, intermediates and slicks in the course of the race".

Bartels was only 4"723 off the pace of the winners, Wendlinger-Peter (Aston Martin DBR9). The Maseratis beat off the challenge of the Saleen S7 R driven by Bert-Montermini-Janis and the Aston Martins with Pescatori-Babini and Deletraz-Piccini on board.

Thanks to these results, Bartels and Bertolini strengthened their grip at the top of the Drivers' championship over Deletraz and Piccini. Vitaphone Racing Team also maintain first place in the Team standings.

At the start of the three hour race and in driving rain, Andrea Bertolini sped off to keep hold off the pole position he had earned in qualifying. Finn Toni Vilander's Scuderia Playteam Maserati MC12 edged past Montermini's Saleen, to move into second. Vilander claimed top spot on lap two, a position he held for the entire first hour. Following the pit stop, he handed over to his team mate, Alessandro Pier Guidi, but the Playteam MC12 was soon forced to retire, giving Bertolini the opening to retake the lead.

The other Vitaphone Racing Team Maserati started from eighth with Jamie Davies at the wheel but managed to climb the field. At the end of the second hour, the two Vitaphone Maseratis were firmly in control courtesy of Michael Bartels and Thomas Biagi.

The surface slowly dried out and this created some uncertainty as to the choice of tyre. The final pit stops were made between laps 61 and 63, allowing the tyres but not the drivers to be changed. Half an hour from the end, the classification saw Wendlinger (Aston Martin) leading, followed by Bartels, Deletraz (Aston Martin), Biagi and Babini (Aston Martin). It was at this point that Biagi mounted an incredible comeback, sweeping past Deletraz on lap 74.

The Hungarian circuit of Hungaroring (Budapest) will host the next round of the FIA GT championship on 1 October.

FIA GT Championship, final classification at Mugello:
1. Wendlinger-Peter (Aston Martin DBR9) 86 laps; 2. Bartels-Bertolini (Maserati MC12) + 4"723; 3. Davies-Biagi (Maserati MC12) + 5"149; 4. Bert-Montermini-Janis (Saleen S7 R) + 5"510; 5. Pescatori-Babini (Aston Martin DBR9) + 34"079; 6. Deletraz-Piccini (Aston Martin DBR9) 1'03"602

FIA GT Championship for Drivers (after seven races):
1. Bartels and Bertolini 57; 3. Piccini and Deletraz 47; 5. Bert 42; 6. Janis 41; 7. Davies and Biagi 36; 9. Babini 35; 10. Hezemans, Longin and Kumpen 26

Teams:
1. Vitaphone Racing Team 93; 2. Aston Martin Racing BMS 47,5; 3. Phoenix Motorsport 47; 4. Zakspeed 42

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