Vitaphone Racing's Michael Bartels and Andrea Bertolini won the third round of the FIA GT championship at Oschersleben in Germany on Sunday.

Bartels and Bertolini crossed the line 14 seconds ahead of the sister Maserati MC12 of Jamie Davies and Thomas Biagi, to give Vitaphone a perfect one-two.

Bartels has always liked the Oschersleben circuit, but despite some excellent qualifying positions in the past, including pole last year, he has never been able to bring his car home in first position. That changed today, when, along with his Italian team-mate Bertolini, he put in a fine performance to win the event in the #1 Vitaphone. Starting from pole, the #1 car kept the lead from the start, and apart from during the pit stops, was in command throughout.

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"After my past experience in Oschersleben, a track I like very much as you can see from my qualifying results, I am very happy with what we have achieved here," reflected Bartels. "Last year, we won here with Fabio Babini and Thomas Biagi, and we were close to a double win. This year, finally, we got it! I am happy that Andrea and I won, as I have had many tries in Oschersleben, but although I've led a lot, I've never won here. The team did an incredibly good job. We were very concentrated all weekend and didn't change our programme. We had some problems as we collected some stones and things on the tyres but Pirelli worked hard to clean them, and they deserve a big, big thank you, as they were one of the big factors for winning here. What can be better? Blue skies, Germany in the semi-finals, a double win for Vitaphone in Oschersleben. I hope this will continue on Tuesday."

"I must give a special thanks to Pirelli as I have won here with them in the Ferrari in 2003, then again in 2004 with the Maserati, and now again today," added Bertolini. "For sure, the team has put in unbelievable work today. Everyone has worked very hard in the team. Today, in the Vitaphone Team, it's like the semi-final between Italy and Germany, so I am waiting impatiently for the next match!"

The result means Bertolini and Bartels take the lead in the drivers' championship, two-points up on Jarek Janis and Sascha Bert. In the teams' classification Vitaphone Racing now has a commanding lead of 14 points going into the Spa round - where the German team was victorious last year.

Biagi and Davies meanwhile, despite qualifying fourth, started from 14th on the grid, following a penalty from Brno. However Davies navigated his way through the field - not easy on a track like Oschersleben and the car slotted into second position at the start of the final hour, and despite pressure from Andrea Piccini in the Phoenix Aston Martin, claimed its first podium of the year.

"First of all, many thanks to the team. Jamie did a very good start, with a lot of nice overtaking manoeuvres. For me this result is very important as we started with a big handicap, 14th position on the starting grid, on a circuit where it is not so easy to overtake," explained Biagi. "I care a lot about the race because it's my second 'home' race, as Vitaphone is a German team. It's a fantastic result, and I want to thank Maserati and Pirelli who have done a lot of development work. I would like to dedicate this result to Michael Bartels because he trusted in me and gave me the opportunity to drive for this strong team for the second year in a row and to drive this fantastic Maserati!"

"Obviously, this is not the ideal circuit to overtake," added Davies. "My start was very good and I could get around some of the GT2 cars to get up with the tail of the GT1 cars. We had some fantastic dices with the Astons, and a great run through the first stint. I had an unfortunate contact with Karl Wendlinger, but the corner was clearly mine, he turned in coming into turn nine. It's unfortunate, but that's racing. For the first and last stint the car was very good, the car was running perfectly. I have to thank Pirelli as well as the tyres were fantastic, at the beginning and end of the stint."

Phoenix Racing made it an all-German podium, with Jean-Denis Deletraz and Piccini finishing third, their second successive podium finish with the #5 Aston Martin DBR9. Despite suffering from a broken exhaust and other problems at the end of the middle stint, Piccini managed to keep ahead of the Zakspeed Racing Saleen S7-R of Janis and Bert in the final stages.

"I had a lot of problems in the end of the race," explained Piccini. "In the beginning the car was very good, the tyres were working very well even if I did a few too many laps in qualifying. I didn't find a clear lap, so I did around 8 laps so I was a bit worried about the tyres. But the Michelins worked well until the end. I had a good start and overtook Hezemans, and then caught up with the Saleen. It was a hard fight but I was able to overtake when I caught up with the backmarkers who helped me a bit. I could keep up the same pace as the Maserati. But when Jean-Denis gave the car back to me, the car already had some problems as the exhaust broke down and we had some electrical problems too. The car was difficult to drive, but I was able to catch up with Jamie and then I was pushing too much. I spun, rejoined and kept the gap around 3 or 4 seconds, but the car was slowing down more and more because of the engine problem. I think we all did a great job. We are lucky to have to have got to the end and to have scored a podium. It's good for the team and good for the championship."

"My stint was not so bad, until the exhaust broke at the end of my stint and I started to have a lot of problems with the car," added Deletraz. "In this condition, we are all really happy to be on the podium, and once more to be the first Aston Martin and the first car on Michelin tyres. We hope that we will be even stronger for Spa, as the Aston Martin cars have a lot of experience in long-distance races, and we have a very fast driver with us, in Marcel Fassler."

Brno winners Sascha Bert and Jarek Janis thus had to settle for fourth in their Zakspeed Saleen. They had been in the top three for the first two hours until Janis had a big moment when suffering with brakes and a puncture, he spun out at the end of the second hour, narrowly avoiding the barriers and rejoining in fourth.

"It was going pretty well and I was one of the fastest out there during my stint. But then I had a brakes problem and then also a puncture. I had a big spin, and was very close to the barriers. But I managed to catch it and recovered. We're happy to finish fourth, which is 20 kg less, we have some points and we're still second in the Championship," said Janis

Further-down the pack was a trio of Aston Martin DBR9s from Aston Martin Racing BMS and Race Alliance, with Fabrizio Gollin and Fabio Babini fifth, Christian Pescatori and Miguel Ramos sixth and Karl Wendlinger and Philip Peter seventh. The final point went to Jamie Derbyshire and Shaun Balfe, who in taking eighth gave the Balfe Motorsport squad their first-ever FIA GT team points.

In the GT2 class meanwhile Nathan Kinch and Andrew Kirkaldy claimed their first-ever FIA GT win in Oschersleben - and the first for Scuderia Ecosse, after a close fight between the Ferrari 430 GT2 cars around the 3.667 km circuit. Despite starting well back on the grid after a ten-place penalty, Kirkaldy made his way up the field to join the leading group of Ferraris by lap 16. He took the lead when Mika Salo made his final fuel pit stop.

"We are very happy," said Kirkaldy. "We had to start back on the grid which was not easy. It's not the easiest circuit to pass on. We had our work cut out for us, but managed to get up to third quite easily. Then it became more risky to try and pass for second, so we decided to play it safe and pit early, trying to get the track position.But it didn't work out so well as we went from following one AF Corse car to the other one. But in the end the car was exceptional. The team did a great job and the tyres were fantastic for the whole race. We hope this continues."

"I almost won here in 2003, but the car was excluded, so this victory makes up for it," added Kinch. "It's fantastic to win, and good to get some points on the board. The team have worked really hard and the car was fantastic today. It's fantastic - and great going in to Spa."

Salo and Rui Aguas in the #59 AF Corse Ferrari took second, with Tim Mullen and Chris Niarchos taking third, despite driving for much of the race without a clutch.

"It was quite hard, and we could not keep up with the tyres. The stints were a bit too long. We could not keep up with Scuderia Ecosse. But the biggest difference between us and Scuderia Ecosse is the penalty weight," said Salo.

Tim Sudgen and Iradj Alexander-David were fourth, with Ebimotors duo Emmanuel Collard and Luca Riccitelli fifth, the leading Porsche 996 GT3 RSR. Fifth was enough to give them the overall lead in the GT2 drivers' classification - they now have 20 points and a slender one point advantage ahead of AF Corse's Matteo Bobbi and Jamie Melo, who took sixth.

All the results remain provisional though, pending fuel checks on cars #1, #4, #9, #62, #59 and #101, and on engine checks for cars #1, #5 and #62.

The next race is the Proximus 24 Hours of Spa, on July 27 - 30. The test day takes place on July 5.