Bertolini-Bartels increase their championship lead
Oschersleben – Andrea Bertolini and Michael Bartels took fifth place today at Oschersleben at the wheel of the Vitaphone Racing MC12.
The points placing gave them a two-point lead in the Drivers’ standings over Wendlinger/Sharp. Vitaphone Racing also holds a solid lead in the Teams’ championship. An excellent pit stop strategy and focused aggression saw Miguel Ramos and Alexander Negraõ just miss out on the podium. The crew’s comeback was a fine one especially as they had started way down in 12th following a penalty awarded at Adria.
The race was exciting right from the start. At the off, Bartels nicked in front of Lopez’s Ferrari while Ramos was making a pit stop to allow Negraõ a long stint in the middle of the race, a plan that proved to be spot on.
On lap 33 Bartels signed the car over to Bertolini and, in two amazing overtaking moves, he overtook Lichtner/Hoyer and Deletraz and took his MC12 to within a whisker of victory. The safety car coming on on lap 60 put paid to Bertolini/Bartels’ hopes and allowed the other drivers to make their last pit stops while the yellow flag was out. In the closing stages, Bartels did all he could to take Fässler’s podium spot but the attack failed, the German spun and slipped to fifth. This left the door open for Ramos to launch his own assault but, by then, there were only a few corners left before the end of the race. Ben Aucott and Alain Ferté (JMB Racing) scored a good ninth place in the third MC12. The next round of the championship will be the 24 Hour of Spa, the highlight of the season.