Meanwhile in Italy, the Maserati GranTurismo MC made its debut in the Trofeo Maserati at Monza, with Stefano Rota taking the early lead in the Championship with a win and a fourth place in the series which is backed by no less than 21 teams from eight countries.
The FIA GT Series race at Brno was one of the most exciting races of the season right from the start. After the entrance of the safety car at the second lap, Maserati MC12 no. 1 was stopped by race authorities due to a stop-and-go caused by a speed violation at the start of the race.
At the eighth lap, contact between Marc VDS Racing Team's car no. 40 and Triple H Team Hegersport's Maserati MC12 no. 33 driven by Heger/Margaritis resulted in a second appearance of the safety car in addition to forcing no. 33 to leave the track.
After pit stops, Bartels/Bertolini's Maserati MC12 performed an excellent recovery that took it from fourteenth place to the final fifth place, eight tenths of second from a podium result and only 1.759 seconds from first place, obtained instead by Matech Competition's Grosjean/Mutsch, who have thus regained their leadership in the standings, just beyond the Trident duo. The recovery by the Maserati MC12 was slowed by All-Inkl.com Munnich Motorsport's Lamborghini, which kept the two Vitaphone Racing Team cars behind it for a considerable amount of time.
Bernoldi/Ramos's Maserati MC12 no. 2 ended the race in sixth place, 9.050 seconds from the winner.
The Triple H Team Hegersport's Maserati MC12 no. 34, driven by Bobbi/Longin, did okay in this particular race, finishing at eleventh place, 25.669 seconds from the winner.
The next race is scheduled for 4 July at the Paul Ricard HTTT (France).
Lenght of the circuit: 5403 m
21°C air - 34°C track
Championship Race results:
1. Grosjean/Mutsch - Matech Competition - Ford GT Matech
2. Enge/Turner - Young Driver AMR - Aston Martin + 0.710
3. Krumm/Dumbreck - Sumo Power GT - Nissan GT-R + 0.959
5. Bartels/Bertolini - Vitaphone Racing Team - Maserati MC12 + 1.759
6. Bernoldi/Ramos - Vitaphone Racing Team - Maserati MC12 + 9.050
10.Bobbi/Longin - Triple H Team Hegersport - Maserati MC12 + 25.669
Heger/Margaritis - Triple H Team Hegersport - Maserati MC12 - ret.
FIA GT1 World Drivers' Championship
1. Grosjean/Mutsch - Matech Competition - 56 points
2. Bartels/Bertolini - Vitaphone Racing Team - 44 points
3. Hennerici - Phoenix Racing/Carsport - 30 points
Sergio Rota is the first leader in the new Trofeo Maserati
Stefano Rota heads the race for the 2010 Trofeo Maserati series following the first round of the championship, thanks to a victory and a fourth place in the first two races held at Monza at the weekend (23 May 2010).
Twenty-one teams were lined up at the starting line, at the wheel of fourteen GranTurismo MC Trofeo (run by Maserati Corse) and seven GranTurismo MC GT4, backed by private teams who are competing in a special classification, with eight different countries represented.
The winner of race 1, Rota, actually reached the finish line second, behind Ivan Capelli, who however did not get points as he was participating in the race as a Maserati VIP-guest. Sharing the podium with Rota were Pietro Zumerle and Marco Petrini, who took advantage of Paolo Necchi's mishap a few laps prior to the end of the race due to a flat tire.
Rota and Capelli were also protagonists in the subsequent 40 lap race; while the ex-Formula 1 driver was attempting to pass Rota, a problem forced him to brake late, which resulted in contact with Rota's vehicle. Capelli was the one who suffered the worst consequences of that clash as he had to leave the track. Rota lost a few positions, but after a brilliant recovery, he was able to reach the checkered flag in fourth place. At this point the struggle for reaching the finish line first became an exclusive effort between Manuel Villa and Peter Sundberg, settled only by a photo finish, which gave the Swedish driver the advantage at the conclusion of an exciting battle involving repeated overtaking.
It was also a triumphant weekend for Stefano Gai in the Maserati GranTurismo MC GT4 standings. His performance earned him two pole positions and two victories. In the first race he beat Alessandro Pier Guidi (despite going off the track at the first corner, he managed to recover) and Marco Coldani. During the second 40 lap race, Gai had to defend himself from the attacks of French driver Jonathan Sicart. Swiss driver Ronnie Kessel was third; he dedicated his place at the podium to his father, who passed away last week.
Sergio Rota (Trofeo): "I still hadn't tried out the car, but I have to admit that by the end of the free practices I already felt very comfortable with it. The GranTurismo MC Trofeo is amazing".
Peter Sundberg (Trofeo): "Manuel Villa and I livened up the race, especially during the last laps. I practically won by a hair's breadth. The championship is so exciting because drivers race with very close times".
Stefano Gai (GT4): "The first race was calmer and I tried to consolidate my advantage. In the following race, however, a problem with the gears slowed me down and I lost ground to Sicart, who passed me. Then everything sorted itself out, I regained my position and got to the finish line first".
The second round of the Trofeo Maserati GranTurismo MC is scheduled for 20 June in Zolder, Belgium. Maserati will once again organize brand-promoting activities for its customers during the Trofeo.