17 May 2009
Vitaphone wins at Adria
Andrea Bertolini and Michael Bartels claimed a fine win for the Vitaphone Racing on what is likely to be the final appearance for the team's Maserati MC12 in its home country.
Starting from pole position, the reigning Champions dominated the race, chased across the finish line by the Peka Racing Corvette of Mike Hezemans and Anthony Kumpen. The second Vitaphone Maserati was third, having lost hopes of a win due to a drive-through penalty following the use of the wrong tyres. In GT2, Porsche finally managed to break the Ferrari stranglehold on the Italian track, with Prospeed Competition taking their second win in a row for Richard Westbrook and Emmanuel Collard. They were followed by AF Corse's two cars, Toni Vilander and Gianmaria Bruni finishing second ahead of their team-mates Barba Lopez and Cadei, who claimed their maiden FIA GT podium.
The second round proved to be a profitable one for Vitaphone, with first and third places securing not only the lead in the GT1 teams but also the GT1 drivers' classifications. The team started from the front row further to the post-qualifying technical scrutineering, which saw the #14 K plus K Motorsport Saleen S7 lose its fastest time and go to the back of the grid. However, the Saleen pulled off at the end of the formation lap, with a broken driveshaft. With K plus K Motorsport's second car suffering from gear problems, the fight for the lead was reduced to essentially Maserati vs Corvette.
The Maserati one-two was maintained through the early stages of the race, with the lighter car of Alex Müller chasing Andrea Bertolini. However, the drive-through penalty awarded to the #2 essentially took away any hopes of victory. Bertolini crossed the finish line 10 seconds ahead of the #4 Peka Racing Corvette of Kumpen and Hezemans, with the #2 Vitaphone Maserati third.
“This has been a really special win, because this is the MC12's last year and its last time in Italy,” Bertolini said. “If you win one race and that's your home race, it's really special, for me, for the car, for the people at Maserati. We worked really hard yesterday with the team, because Adria is a really tricky track. This win is very good for the Championship.”
Maassen and Moreau brought the Luc Alphand Aventures Corvette home in a hard-fought fourth place, ahead of the SRT Corvette, which was suffering from set-up problems. The #11 Full Speed Racing Saleen was sixth for Stephane Lemeret and Luke Hines, an excellent result for the car and the best-placed Saleen in the field in Italy.
Seventh was the leading 2010 GT1 car, the Marc VDS Racing Ford GT of Leinders and Kuppens.
Prospeed Competition repeated their Silverstone result, making up for poor qualifying with a race win – giving Porsche its first victory at Adria, after the Ferrari domination in 2006, 2007 and 2008.
The #60 Porsche 997 GT3 RSR of Westbrook and Collard made a good start, climbing up to second behind the #97 Brixia Porsche. During the second stint, there was a long fight between the #60 and the #51 AF Corse Ferrari, but after the final driver change, the #60 emerged in command and stayed ahead until the chequered flag.
“It's been a very similar weekend to Silverstone; after a bad qualifying, we had a great race,” Westbrook said. “The car's great and holds well over a two-hour distance. The team seems to have got it spot on. I'm fine with sacrificing the qualifying for the race pace that we get.”
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