15 October 2006
Adria 2006: Bartels, Bertolini wrap up title.
Thomas Biagi and Jamie Davies claimed their second win of the season in the penultimate round of the FIA GT Championship at Adria, although most eyes were on their Vitaphone Maserati team-mates Andrea Bertolini and Michael Bartels after they clinched a maiden title with one round remaining.
In an eventful race around the tight and twisty Italian circuit, Biagi and Davies only hit the front in the final minutes of the three hour race when long time leaders Zakspeed had to finish their race in the pit lane following a fire to their brake discs, brought on by the stress of their 70kg success penalty around a relentless circuit.
Nonetheless, it was a comprehensive performance for Maserati on their home ground, with Biagi and Davies hitting the front at the decisive time to claim a win, adding to their triumph of Dijon earlier in the year.
But while it was Biagi and Davies' day, the race made it Bertolini and Bartels' year, the Italian-German combination protecting a lead built up earlier in the season when they claimed victory in three of the four races, second place today enough for them go to the final round at Dubai with title sealed.
Still, their cause was aided by the problems for Zakspeed, the combination of Jarek Janis, Andrea Montermini and Sascha Bert having led much of the way only for their brakes to cry enough on the tiring course, just as the team had feared in qualifying.
The race had also been led early on by the only other drivers capable of overhauling Bertolini and Bartels, that of Jean-Denis Delatraz and Andrea Piccini in the Phoenix Aston Martin, the Swiss and Italian drivers getting no further than 35 laps, when, their hopes were ended by Fabio Babini in the sister BMS DBR9 after he spun Piccini out of the race.
The final spot on the podium was therefore taken by the GLPK Carsport Corvette and the Belgian trio of Mike Hezemens, Bert Longin and Anthony Kumpen.
In a race that saw only 13 cars finish, six GT1, six GT2 and the single G2 entry from Gillet, Marino Franchitti and Tim Mullen were an impressive sixth overall in their Scuderia Ecosse Ferrari, on the way to claiming GT2 victory for the first time this season, while Mika Salo and Rui Ageus kept their slim GT2 title hopes alive with second after AF Corse team-mates Matteo Bobbi and Jamie Melo could only manage sixth in class.
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