Vitaphone Racing and Maserati MC12 are Champions for the Fourth Time
A very exciting day here in Zolder, Belgium, where the ninth round of the FIA GT has just taken place. After hard work during the night to recondition MC12 no. 1, which went out of the track at the "Lucien Bianchi" curve, today the Andrea Bertolini - Michael Bartels duo won by a 7" margin over their rivals Hezemans-Gollin. Thanks to this result, the Vitaphone Racing Team and Maserati MC12 are mathematically the Team's 2008 Champions in the FIA GT -the most important sports event for GTs-Car Makers' and Makes categories. It is the fourth consecutive success for the Vitaphone Racing Team and for Maserati MC12 in the FIA GT, a legendary sequence of victories comparable to those accomplished in the past by car manufacturers who left their mark in the history of the car racing sport. Roaring ahead at the start from fifth row, Bertolini quickly overtook Fassler. At the 32nd lap he also left Kumpen behind, and at the 66th, thanks to a masterly drivers' switch and refueling in a mere 11", Hezemans was overtaken at the pit stop, the move that gave Maserati no. 1 the victory and the titl e. Great results for the other two Maseratis: Ramos and Negraõ, fresh from their recent success two weeks ago in France, got sixth place, and eight place for the debuting couple Matteo Bobbi and Pedro Lamy, driving car no.17 marked Vitasystem. The Championship will officially end on 23 November in San Luis, Argentina, along the road circuit made around a natural lake. 10 points are still at stake, and Bertolini-Bartels will have to handle the advantage of 8 points over Hezemans-Gollin to get first place in the Drivers' category.
Andrea Bertolini: "It was a team victory and solid proof that Bartels and I, when put under pressure, know how to react and give the best of ourselves, offering brilliant results. The team worked all night to fix yesterday's mishap, when the accelerator's butterfly valve malfunctioned and caused us to go out of the track, damaging the car. They did a great job. Today my Maserati was very fast as well as unbeatable, I'd add. I tried to keep cool during the first part of the race, when a false move could have been our undoing. Then we started to eat up the laps and Bartels ended his stint in great advantage from Hezemans. This enabled us to do an extraordinarily quick driver-tire change and refuelling and to proceed to win the race."
Michael Bartels: "Many people have asked me what is the secret of Maserati's and my team's four consecutive years of success. I think it is a matter of an extraordinary German and Italian blend of my group's work and the technical and design excellence of the MC12. In these years, they have consistently remained at the top in such a competitive event such as the FIA GT. The job, however, is not over yet. Now we are headed toward Argentina try our hand at the Drivers' Championship. We have our strategies to bring home the result we aim for."