Maserati uncatchable in the Manufacturers' Cup
Montanari/Ramos (Vitaphone Racing) took the win, fourth place was secured by Bertolini/Piccini (Playteam Sarafree), in fifth were Giannoccaro/Pier Guidi (Playteam Sarafree) with Bartels/Biagi (Vitaphone Racing) in seventh.
The Modenese company leads the Manufacturers’ standings with 151.5 points; next come Corvette on 92. With only 58 points still to play for, Maserati are mathematically champions (confirmation will come after homologation by the FIA). The Team championship is between Vitaphone Racing Team (on 91 points) and Playteam Sarafree (on 57). Both outfits race in the Maserati MC12.
In the light of today’s results and with two races left to run, the challenge for the Drivers’ title is now wide open: there are five Maserati drivers at the top of the standings separated by only three points. Leading are Thomas Biagi, Andrea Bertolini and Andrea Piccini on 47 points with Christian Montanari and Miguel Ramos, thanks to today’s win, coming next on 44.
The race got off to an exciting start and saw leader Michael Bartels come off worst in a clash with Hezemans. The German spun and finished up in the sand, losing a lot of ground in the process. The excitement did not stop there as Montanari benefited most from Bartels’ bad luck. Having moved into the lead, Montanari increased the gap he had over the pack, The first round of pit stops hinted at the teams’ strategy and Ramos, Montanari’s replacement, found himself chasing Sharp once back out on the track. The Portuguese driver, in a stunning overtaking move on the Englishman, soon retook command. Behind them Piccini defended his position from Menten without breaking too much sweat. Also drawing the crowd’s attention was Biagi’s personal battle with and overtaking of Deletraz on lap 41.
Montanari took the wheel again at the second round of pit stops. He raced well to hold off Wendlinger until the two hours were up. The chequered flag soon came out to mark the first win of the season for Montanari/Ramos. Filling the other podium places were Wendlinger/Sharp and Kumpen/Longin. Given the extra 80kg they had on board, Bertolini/Piccini’s fourth spot was a superb result and they even edged out their team mates, Giannoccaro/Pier Guidi (sixth after making a sparkling comeback). Seventh went to Michael Bartels, a finish that allowed his partner, Thomas Biagi, to keep hold of the lead among the drivers, even though it is one shared with Bertolini/Piccini.
JMB Racing scored a great one-two in the Citation Cup. Aucott/Ferté cruised to victory in front of their team mates Kutemann/Gosse; both crews in a Maserati MC12.
The next round of the FIA GT International Championship will take place next weekend at Nogaro, France.