Istanbul - turkey

Maserati on the front row in Istanbul

Peter/Artam/Pillon's MC12 will start on the front row for tomorrow's eighth round of the FIA GT championship. The race will be run in Istanbul, Turkey.

The second fastest time (1'49"696) was set by Phillip Peter in the morning session and was bettered by 85 thousandths by the Ferrari 575 Maranello GTC driven by Deletraz/Piccini. The Swiss driver managed to get the most from the new Pirelli tyre compound introduced at Oschersleben. He also benefited from not having any ballast to weigh him down.

The heat in the afternoon session prevented almost all the drivers from improving their times, however the JMB Racing number 16 drivers, Can Artam and Christophe Pillon, were able to stay out in the car for longer. The Turkish driver improved his times session on session while the Swiss man continued to get to know the MC12. The Vitaphone Racing Team with Babini/Biagi on board earned a spot on the second row (1'50"016). Also in their colours were Bartels/Scheider, fourth fastest (1'50"187). The two Italians did particularly well as they had an extra 90kg on board.

Bartels and Scheider had the satisfaction of lapping quickest in the second qualifying session among cars not using the new tyres. Their pace during the forty five minute session was also encouraging for the race ahead. Andrea Bertolini and Karl Wendlinger, current leaders of the drivers' championship in their MC12, will start from eighth (1'50"742). The team JMB Racing drivers worked on setting up the car for tomorrow's two hour race. The length of the race is an experimental one called for by the Federation to allow the event to be televised in full.

The competitors will have to make two pit stops (at least one for each driver) and will have to drive for stretches of 35 minutes or more.