A close and interesting race around the tight and technical Valencia circuit saw BMS Scuderia Italia claim its second one-two of the season, with Fabrizio Gollin and Luca Cappellari extending their championship lead with their third consecutive win.

The Italian duo backed up their back-to-back wins at flat-out Monza in 2003-04 by proving that the ultra-reliable Ferrari 550 Maranello was also more than a match for its rivals on the twisty Ricardo Tormo circuit. Team-mates Matteo Bobbi and Gabriele Gardel were again best of the rest in second, while Reiter Engineering gave the new Lamborghini racer an unexpected first international podium, as the Murci?lago R-GT finished a fine third with Peter Kox and Oliver Gavin.

In N-GT, Sascha Maassen and Lucas Luhr were imperious, leading throughout to win for Freisinger Motorsport. GPC Giesse duo Christian Pescatori and Fabrizio de Simone finished second in class, as they had at Monza, and now join third-placed finishers Emmanuel Collard and Stephane Ortelli at the head of the N-GT drivers' standings.

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Gollin and Cappellari only moved into the lead of the race after the second set of pit-stops, having opted to change only two tyres on their 550. The duo completed 112 laps in the maximum time of three hours, meaning a total distance of 448.56km. The two Italians now have a four-point lead over their nearest rivals.

"During the last pit-stop, we only changed two of the tyres as, after the first stint, our tyres were still good enough," Gollin said with a broad smile on his face, "This year, we've had two wins in the first two races, so we can't complain - the championship is looking good so far."

Team-mate Cappellari was a little more circumspect in his assessment of the race, noting that they had needed an outside influence to spring them into top spot.

"We were somewhat lucky today, but luck is always important in motor racing," he admitted.

Cappellari and Gollin were followed home by BMS team-mates Matteo Bobbi and Gabriele Gardel, but the reigning champion and his new co-driver finished a rather distant 23.8secs behind, having earlier raced bumper-to-bumper with the two Italians.

"Maybe this is not my year," Bobbi sighed, "The first stint was really good - we know that the car's always a bit slippery on new tyres, so we were careful during the first couple of laps - but then something went wrong during Gabriele's pit-stop. The engine wouldn't start when I pushed the button, and we lost quite a lot of time."

Scoring full marks for the second race in a row, reigning champions BMS Scuderia Italia now have 36 points in the teams' championship - a 25-point lead over GPC Giesse Squadra Corse, whose GT class entries failed to finish in Spain.

After a winter of testing and development, the #29 Reiter Engineering Lamborghini was a far different proposition to that seen at Monza in 2003. However, the German team surpassed its own expectations with a fine third place - and one that could easily have been a win if it had not been for a long second pit-stop.

"I'm very pleased!" enthused test and development driver Peter Kox, "To come in third in their first race here is an amazing result for Lamborghini. We had a good first stop. Then one of the Ferraris came out in front of me, but I overtook it. I was aggressive when I had to be, and that worked out. Unfortunately, we had a bit of a problem during the last stop, but it's still a great result."

With its longest run yet, however, the car behaved impeccably throughout the three-hour race, and came home just over a minute behind the winners after that delayed second stop..

"There have been a few issues with the car, but that's normal for a new car," Gavin revealed, "It certainly has a great potential, and we will work very hard to improve it. Third is a great result, if you consider that this is our first race and that we didn't have a lot of testing.

"When I got into the car at the second pit-stop, I must have hit a fuse and it took a while to sort that out. That has possibly cost us the win! We had a bit of a lead then, and we would have been just as fast as the Ferraris."

After a difficult time in Monza, JMB brought its three cars home in the points, with the #17 Ferrari finishing fourth after some close fighting on the track. The #18 sister car was eighth overall - and seventh in GT - while the #19 JMB car of Gosse, Garbagnati and Daoudi finished eighth in class to take the final point.

"The goal for us for this race was to finish, and we got that," veteran Karl Wendlinger said, "We learned a lot this weekend, I think, and I hope we can use that experience for the next few races. I think we will be well prepared for Magny-Cours, and we should be able to use everything we have learnt here for our team's home race."

It was not all plain sailing for the Ferrari team, however, as Robert Lechner explains.

"I had to do the whole race without second gear, after it failed during Toto Wolff's stint," the Austrian revealed, "But the team made a great effort because the car was really well prepared and, even after losing a gear, we did not destroy the gearbox."

The circuit configuration, combined with cool and windy conditions, ensured some very close fighting throughout the three hours of the race, with five different types of car finishing in the overall top six. The two BMS 550 Maranellos were followed by the Lamborghini, a Ferrari 575 M Maranello, a Lister Storm and a Saleen S7.

The Lister came not from the 'factory' operation but from the privateer Creation Autosportif stable. Former champion Jamie Campbell-Walter again shared the blue car with rookie Jamie Derbyshire, but this time overcame problems to score some welcome points.

"The first stint was not so good," JC-W reported, "Because of the wet weather on Friday, we didn't get around to trying all our tyres, so we went into qualifying with marked tyres that we had not been able to test. We went for a similar set-up to Monza, but struggled with oversteer throughout qualifying, and I was still struggling during my stint.

"We decided to put the harder tyres, which we are more used to, onto the car for Jamie's stint and my final one, and it just transformed the car. Although we had some understeer as we had changed the car so much to suit the other tyres, it was a very good last stint. I was catching Erdos again when he ran out of fuel."

"It was a good fight with Jamie at the end," the luckless Erdos agreed, "We knew that we were low on fuel so, by the time I got to Jamie, I knew how many laps there were to the end, and we were trying to save fuel as well as fight for position. I got past Jamie, and I was trying to catch up with the Ferrari in front, but my fuel light had already been on for two laps - it was just one lap too many. It was a bit frustrating at the end, but at least we got a result and points out of it."

Fellow 575 runners GPC Giesse Squadra Corse had a more difficult weekend, with neither the #11 nor the #13 Ferraris finishing the race.

"We struggled a bit the whole weekend, first with the rain and looking for grip, and then we had problems with the traffic and with the set-up in qualifying," lead driver Philipp Peter confessed, "In the warm-up, we had a puncture after three laps, but the race was better.

"We were able to make up ground, and I was lucky not to have too much traffic - but we were quite surprised to be leading the race for a few laps. Fabio [Babini] took the car and he was pretty fast, catching the other drivers. For sure, we could have got to the podium if we had not had the problem with front suspension."

After failing to finish in Monza, the Freisinger Motorsport Porsche 996 GT3-RS of ALMS champions Sascha Maassen and Lucas Luhr dominated the N-GT category, starting from pole, rising as high as fourth overall, finishing seventh at the chequered flag and claiming the fastest lap in the process.

"The car was working very well today," Maassen reported, "The tyres were consistent, and the pit-stops worked out fine as well. I've had some rather interesting fights during the race but, fortunately, there are not a lot of long straights here in Valencia, so there's no advantage for the bigger cars. Our car is good on the brakes and has very good tyres and, because of that, we were quicker in the corners and could easily follow and overtake some of the bigger cars."

"My part of today's race was the easy bit - we already had a quite comfortable lead over our sister car when I took over from Sascha," Luhr admitted, "I just tried to hold the position and increase the gap a little bit more. After the miserable weekend in Monza, I really started to enjoy the championship this weekend."

The German duo was followed across the finish line by the #62 GPC Giesse Ferrari 360 Modena, which inherited second place after a mistake from Collard saw the #50 Porsche spin into the gravel.

"I think we ended the race in the right position," de Simone reckoned, "Like everyone, we were somewhat penalized by the rain on Friday, so we didn't make the right tyre choice at the start of the race. Because of that, we decided to make the first pit-stop early and have a longer stint afterwards."

After Collard's spin, the French veteran duly recovered to take third and retain the joint lead of the drivers' classification, but it could have been so much better for Freisinger.

"Unfortunately, I made a big mistake and ended up in the gravel," Collard sighed, "The car has been rather difficult to drive this weekend, and we had to struggle with understeer throughout the race. We were very lucky that we could continue and eventually finish the race on the podium. ."

"I was concerned about our position but, at the same time, I was enjoying the fight with the GT cars," team-mate Ortelli said of his race, "I unfortunately lost some time too, but it's okay - we now have more points after two rounds than we had after four races in the last two years, so you could say it's not going too badly."