22/09/2005 Turkish delight for Maserati FIA GT1 Manufacturers Cup for the Trident
Thanks to a another one, two, three in the eighth round of the FIA GT championship held last weekend at Istanbul, Maserati has made mathematically certain of the FIA GT1 Manufacturers’ Cup. Bartels/Scheider (Vitaphone) finsihed in first place, ahead of Babini/Biagi (Vitaphone) and Bertolini/Wendlinger (JMB).
The Ferrari 575 GTC Evoluzione 2005, run by the Team G.P.C. Giesse Squadra Corse and crewed by Deletraz/Piccini took pole position at the Istanbul circuit (which is hosting an international FIA GT race for the first time) at the end of the two qualifying sessions for the eighth round of the FIA GT Championship.
However, Maserati driver Babini got off to a good start to take the lead, profiting from the turn 1 traffic. Bertolini was nudged by a Lister and went into a spin. His tyres were affected and he slipped down to fourteenth spot. Scheider, down in sixth after a difficult start, soon caught and overtook Hazeman’s Corvette on lap nine. The German set off after Babini who had, in the meantime, built a healthy lead over his pursuers. The two Vitaphone MC12s were able to stretch into a lead over the group but an accident involving the number 4 Saleen on lap 14 meant that the safety car was called for.
Amidst the customary confusion that such an interlude brings, almost all the competitors took the opportunity to make their tyre changes, refuel and switch drivers. The race restarted on lap 21 with Gardel in the lead. Behind him came Bartels, Longin and Wendlinger. Bartels edged past the Ferrari man and moved into the lead. A little further back Wendlinger made second spot his own, just ahead of Biagi who was storming up the field.
With four Maseratis filling the top four places, nothing changed until the final stops when Scheider substituted Bartels, Babini replaced Biagi, and Pillon took Artam’s drive. Artam had even held the lead for four laps. Scheider chose not to change his tyres, as the other drivers had done, but the German only had to cruise on a 12 second cushion until the chequered flag.
Timo Scheider: "The start was a confused one and, unfortunately, I ended up on the dirty part of the track and lost a lot of places. However, this meant that the race was an eventful one. I had to make a comeback and overtake a lot. The car handled very well during the race even if the final phase was quite difficult, since I chose not to change tyres. This choice, though, led to the win. I would like to thank Vitaphone, Maserati and Pirelli for today’s fine result."
1 GT1 Bartels/Scheider Maserati MC12 59 Laps
2 GT1 Babini/Biagi Maserati MC12 59 Laps
3 GT1 Bertolini/Wendlinger Maserati MC12 59 Laps
4 GT1 Deletraz/Piccini Ferrari 575 Maranello GTC 59 Laps
5 GT1 Longin/Kumpen/Hezemans Corvette C5R 59 Laps
6 GT1 Lamy/Gardel Ferrari 550 Maranello 58 Laps
There are three remaining rounds in the series -
23/10/2005 China Zhuhai
18/11/2005 UAE Dubai
25/11/2005 Bahrain Bahrain
Text: Classic Driver
Photos: Maserati - All Strictly Copyright