Michael Bartels admitted he was delighted to secure a third win in the Spa 24 Hours after the Vitaphone Racing team dominated the biggest event on the FIA GT Championship calendar.
Running alongside Andrea Bertolini, Stephane Sarrazin and Eric van de Poele, Bartels helped bring the #1 car home two laps ahead of the sister car of Miguel Ramos, Alex Negrao, Stephane Lemeret and Alessandro Pier Guidi.
Such was the domination of the two Maseratis that they were some five laps clear of the third placed Gigawave Aston Martin and Bartels admitted that the result was a dream for the team.
“It's difficult to find the words to describe this victory,” he said. “We have a lot of people to thank; right now, you can just see the drivers, but you mustn't forget all the people behind the scenes, who probably worked harder than us, for weeks, day and night. Our preparation started immediately after Oschersleben, with the Spa test day, then with the preparation of the cars, in Italy, in Germany at our factory base. This success was only possible with the backing of all these people. Otherwise, we're alone.
“I think the team did a really great job, we did not make mistakes during the whole week. I think this weekend we had a lot of angels above us, with all the accidents going on. This race just goes to show how strong the competition is this year. The cars are performing better, the drivers are pushing themselves to their limits. It just goes to show that the FIA GT is a high performance championship. I'm happy that nothing serious happened, all the drivers are okay.
“Today is a day of celebration for us, one and two! Vitaphone was very successful at Spa in the past, last year we finished second. The job was a great success, on the way to winning the championship with Thomas Biagi. We've won before, but I think this victory is worth more. All our drivers are happy, we had a strong competition internally when the other competitors were behind us. In the end, I think we know each other so well, especially the newcomers to 24hour races, which are always hard to adapt.
“This year has really been perfect from the first second onwards.”