Imola - italy

Two MC12s on the second row at Imola

Two Maserati MC12s will start from the second row tomorrow in the fourth FIA GT championship race at Imola.

The third quickest time overall was set by Phillippe Peter during the morning session. The thirty-six year old, who holds dual Austrian and Swiss citizenship, selected the early part of the session to go for the fast lap. Temperatures increased in the afternoon, the result being that none of the drivers were able to improve on their times.

The number 16 car, crewed by Peter/Buncombe/Rusinov, did not take to the track after experiencing a problem with the distributor. The team were forced to switch engines and were not able to complete the job before the start of the second qualifying session. Nonetheless, the drivers have high hopes for tomorrow. A good start will be fundamental in establishing an advantage over the pack and maintaining the lead after the pit stops. The man from Sassuolo, Andrea Bertolini, and Karl Wendlinger, did not have the same opening as their scuderia team mates enjoyed during the morning as they ran into traffic on the track just as they were setting out for their fast lap.

The two JMB Racing drivers still revealed that they were satisfied with the race set up. They tested different fuel loads after taking into account the ballast assigned for this race. Splitting the two blue JMB Racing cars are two from the Vitaphone Racing Team. The first, with the fourth fastest time, is formed by the German pairing of Michael Bartels and Timo Scheider. Bartels, winner of the race here at Imola in 2004, is particularly at home on the Emilian circuit.

Despite the 80kg of extra weight, the car is well balanced and competitive. Equally pleased are the Emilians Fabio Babini and Thomas Biagi who classified in seventh. The two drivers, also with 80kg of ballast on board, are sure that they will do well tomorrow and will be going on the attack. Pole position went to the Corvette driven by Hezemans-Longin-Kumpen. In second was the Lamy-Gardel 550. The pole car was not hindered by extra ballast and the car in second had 10kg on board.

The championship is currently headed by three crews: Bartels/Scheider, Babini/Biagi and Bertolini/Wendlinger, locked on 22 points. The Vitaphone team lead the team championship while Maserati are in number one spot in the Constructors’ Cup.