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Race

Mugello -

Two Maserati MC12 on the podium

17/09/2006 - Mugello
Mugello - The seventh round of the FIA GT championship concluded today - Sunday 17 September - on the Tuscan circuit of Mugello.

It was one of the most difficult races of the season owing to the testing weather. Michael Bartels-Andrea Bertolini and Jamie Davies-Thomas Biagi's Maserati MC12s came home second and third in a thrilling end to the race. Bartels was only 4'723 off the pace of the winners, Wendlinger-Peter (Aston Martin DBR9).

The Maseratis beat off the challenge of the Saleen S7 R driven by Bert-Montermini-Janis and the Aston Martins with Pescatori-Babini and Deletraz-Piccini on board.

Thanks to these results, Bartels and Bertolini strengthened their grip at the top of the Drivers' championship over Deletraz and Piccini. Vitaphone Racing Team also maintain first place in the Team standings.

At the start of the three hour race and in driving rain, Andrea Bertolini sped off to keep hold off the pole position he had earned in qualifying. Finn Toni Vilander's Scuderia Playteam Maserati MC12 edged past Montermini's Saleen, to move into second. Vilander claimed top spot on lap two, a position he held for the entire first hour. Following the pit stop, he handed over to his team mate, Alessandro Pier Guidi, but the Playteam MC12 was soon forced to retire, giving Bertolini the opening to retake the lead. The other Vitaphone Racing Team Maserati started from eighth with Jamie Davies at the wheel but managed to climb the field. At the end of the second hour, the two Vitaphone Maseratis were firmly in control courtesy of Michael Bartels and Thomas Biagi.

The surface slowly dried out and this created some uncertainty as to the choice of tyre. The final pit stops were made between laps 61 and 63, allowing the tyres but not the drivers to be changed. Half an hour from the end, the classification saw Wendlinger (Aston Martin) leading, followed by Bartels, Deletraz (Aston Martin), Biagi and Babini (Aston Martin). It was at this point that Biagi mounted an incredible comeback, sweeping past Deletraz on lap 74.

The Hungarian circuit of Hungaroring (Budapest) will host the next round of the FIA GT championship on 1 October.