After getting a first row position in the morning's qualifying practices with the number Maserati MC12, Michael Bartels and Andrea Bertolini were the first to reach the finish line in the Qualifying Race. Thanks to this victory, the reigning champions obtained eight points in the Drivers' category in addition to a place in first row in tomorrow's Championship Race.
Probably foiled by the 'go' light malfunction at the start of the race, Bartels was overtaken by Kox's Lamborghini at the first curve, but then Bartels regained the leadership at the eighth lap. When the drivers changed, excellent teamwork gave further seconds of advantage to Bertolini, who was able to finish the race all alone.
"It was a positive Saturday: pole position and victory in the first race," said Andrea Bertolini. "Michael Bartels did an excellent stint, handing me over a car that was in top position. When I emerged from the pit stop, the advantage over our followers had increased. I really have to thank the team because the driver switch is very important and it favorably influenced the rest of the race."
There was also favorable change for Vitaphone Racing Team's other Maserati. Bernoldi/Ramos's no. 2 gained two positions when reemerging from the pit stop, moving from seventh to fifth place and defending the position until the finish line. Triple H Team Hegersport's two other Maserati MC12s finished eighth with Heger/Margaritis and fourteenth with Bobbi/Longin.
The other victory for Maserati was obtained by Alessandro Pier Guidi in the GT4 European Cup, who, while debuting with the Maserati GranTurismo GT4 in this championship, immediately achieved success. And tomorrow, for race 2, he will start out from first row thanks to the pole position achieved in the second qualifying session.
Le Castellet - Paul Ricard
Lenght of the circuit: 5.842 m
39*C air - 46*C track
FIA GT1 World - Qualifying Race results:
1. Bartels/Bertolini - Vitaphone Racing Team - Maserati MC12
2. Kox/Haase - Reiter - Lamborghini - 5.569
3. Hughes/Campbell-Walter - Nissan GT-R - 7.798
5. Bernoldi/Ramos - Vitaphone Racing Team - Maserati MC12 - 12.821
8. Heger/Margaritis - Triple H Team Hegersport - Maserati MC12 - 35.443
14. Bobbi/Longin - Triple H Team Hegersport - Maserati MC12 - > 1 m