Sixth place for Biagi at Zhuhai
The event was won by Bouchut/Mucke (Lamborghini Murcielago). An exciting race promised much more for the Modenese cars given their performances. Bartels/Biagi were seriously hampered by the entry of the safety car near the end of the race and the Playteam Sarafree MC12’s race ended prematurely when a miscalculation on refuelling interrupted Alessandro Pier Guidi and Andrea Bertolini when in full flow.
The reigning champion clashed with another car at the start and slipped down to last place. He then staged a great comeback to fifth spot by the time he retired. His drive was aided by the consistency of his Pirelli tyres. Alessandro Pier Guidi was forced to pull over on lap 30 when on the shoulder of leader Biagi.
The safety car came onto the track on lap 46 to allow the repair of a raised kerb that had caused the retirement of one competitor. Its entry compromised the race of the Vitaphone Racing Team MC12s, in particular that of the Biagi/Bartels duo, until then comfortable leaders over the Corvette. The German team delayed making a pit stop in order to allow Bartels the 35 minute stint, as the regulations demand, but they were a few seconds out in their calculations. When the safety car left the scene 15 minutes from the end, the car that had started on pole was at the back of the field. Biagi, Bartels’ replacement, did all he could to close the gap and set the fastest lap time of 1’32”581 on lap 67, a sign of how competitive the MC12’s proved. Bartels/Biagi also drove more than half the race without a roof as it came loose on lap 16. However, their performance was not affected.
Ramos/Montanari did well and were in third when the safety car appeared. Montanari too was penalised towards the end when the safety car came on meaning that he missed out on a possible podium place.
The JMB Racing Team MC12 with gentlemen drivers Macari/Aucott on board improved on their qualifying performance in the race.
At the end of the race the commissioners revealed that Bartels had been excluded from the classification for not respecting article B 50 that requires a minimum drive of 35 minutes. This decision did not affect Biagi, who came sixth, nor the Vitaphone Racing Team, who collected 5 team points at Zhuhai.
The officials also stated that 30 seconds will be added to Bertolini/Piccini’s final time at the next event at Silverstone. This penalty was for not respecting a yellow flag. The retirement of the Playteam MC12 meant that the commissioners could not impose a drive through during the race.