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Brno 2004: Vitaphone, Alzen and Bartels win again.


Dominating the race from the start, the #5 Vitaphone Racing Team Saleen S7 of Uwe Alzen and Michael Bartels took its second win of the year today [Sunday] at Brno, surviving a last-hour scare when it lost a wheel.

The black and green Saleen crossed the finish line almost 30 seconds ahead of the #17 JMB Racing Ferrari 575 M Maranello of 1999 Champion Karl Wendlinger and his new team-mate, Jaime Melo of Brazil.

Championship leaders Fabrizio Gollin and Luca Cappellari were third, despite carrying 100 kg of penalty weight, while their team-mates Matteo Bobbi and Gabriele Gardel, lying second for most of the three-hour race, pulled out just laps from the end, an engine problem having caused their fuel consumption to soar.

"When I saw what happened to the wheel, I spoke to the team and told them," Alzen explained. "I had to come in and we changed the wheel, and then there was a 12-second gap to the leader. But the Pirelli tyres were in great condition and the car was good, so it was not too hard to overtake them. For me, this is a great victory, and a great job from the team and Pirelli!"

Fourth place went to the #11 GPC Giesse Ferrari 575 Maranello of Philipp Peter and Fabio Babini, with the Creation Autosportif Lister Storm fifth.

The Konrad Motorsport Saleen, minus its multiple pole-sitter Walter Lechner Jr this weekend, finished a steady race in sixth, ahead of the BMS Care Racing Ferrari, which had been a front-runner for much of the race, but fell back due to throttle problems.

Taking the final point for eighth was the #18 JMB Racing Ferrari of Bert Longin, Ian Khan and Robert Lechner.

In the N-GT class meanwhile, after the disappointment at Hockenheim, the #62 GPC Giesse Squadra Corse Ferrari 360 Modena finally took its first win, with Christian Pescatori and Fabrizio de Simone dominating the race throughout.

They crossed the line nearly 30 seconds ahead of the battling Porsche 996 GT3-RS cars of Sascha Maassen/Lucas Luhr and Stephane Ortelli/Emmanuel Collard, who enlivened the race with a thrilling nose to tail, side by side fight of the kind more usually seen in sprint races.

"It was a race without problems for us, so I'm very happy," Pescatori said afterwards. "I am happy for me, for Fabrizio, for the team, and for Pirelli. They all did a lot for this victory. This is a good circuit for Pirelli, particularly the new Pirelli tyres. I hope the situation will be similar in Donington!"



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