Only Fiorano ranks higher in terms of the number of laps run by the FIA GT1 world champion. It is here that Bertolini first got to know the Maserati MC12 and where he developed the single seater for the A1GP series. Who better than he could unveil the track's secrets?"You get to the end of the main straight going pretty fast, around 260 km/h, in sixth. Then you change down to third to take Tamburello, the first sequence of curves on the track. Turns 1 and 2 are taken in third before accelerating flat out in turn 3, easing the car through. The short straight before the Villeneuve chicane allows you into fifth briefly before you ease on the brakes while also keeping a high pace for the third gear turn. Villeneuve is a difficult section as it calls for a clean and smooth drive. Getting the exit right is important: if you do it better than a driver ahead of you, you can mount an attack at Tosa, which comes up next.
All the torque from the Maserati engine can be exploited in this third-gear left hander. In my humble opinion, third gear is better than second as the short ratios combined with the power of the V8 could make the car harder to handle.
From here it is downhill towards Piratella, always an interesting stretch here at Imola. Piratella is taken in third and then it is up into fourth for Acque Minerali. This twin right hander is crucial in terms of the lap time. I go into it in third and try not to ride the kerbs too much to avoid knocking the car around. I am still in third when I take the curve that leads uphill towards the Variante Alta as the car's torque allows you to exit quickly and not lose any time.
I go into the Variante Alta in fifth and then shift down to second. This is the only part of the circuit where this gear is inserted. Here it is important to use the whole width of the track, including the kerbs, to pick up speed for Rivazza.
This braking point is one of the toughest in motor-racing anywhere in the world. You go into it really fast and it is downhill so you don't think you will stop in time to take the two left handers. The entire section is taken in third and the aim is to be clean on the way out to be pacy on the main straight and cross the start-finish line.
A lap like this saw me clock 1’52”8 during testing".