The race

Silverstone - uk

Three Maseratis lead the FIA GT Championship

Silverstone - Fabio Babini and Thomas Biagi, in the Vitaphone Racing Team MC12, finished third in the third FIA GT race held at Silverstone.

They now move into first spot in the drivers' championship alongside Andrea Bertolini and Karl Wendlinger (JMB Racing), fourth in England, and Michael Bartels/Timo Scheider (Vitaphone), who came home fifth.

The Vitaphone Racing Team stilll holds top spot in the team championship while Maserati has consolidated its place in the Constructors' Cup. The fourth MC12 in the race ended in eighth with Philippe Peter/Chris Buncombe and Roman Rusinov (JMB Racing), after Buncombe was hit with a pit lane drive through penalty.

The top two positions went to the Aston Martins with Lamy/Kox and Brabham/Turner on board. The Astons do not compete in the championship and so will not earn any points.

Babini/Biagi drove excellently and attacked throughout. Their form ensured a healthy distance was maintained between them and their rivals. Unfortunately, the Maseratis spent ten seconds more refuelling owing to the position of the English car's fuel tank.

Babini got off to a good start and overtook Lamy's Aston. He moved into second behind Turner, a position from where he tried to get past the leader.

The race order changed when the pit stops began on lap 45. Four cars (the two Astons, Babini/Biagi's MC12 and the Corvette) were jostling for the top positions. Bertolini/Wendlinger's MC12 delayed making a pit stop and so rose up the order from their starting position of eighth.

The JMB Racing couple fought out a long duel with Bartels/Scheider in the other Vitaphone MC12. In the latter half of the race, when the second fuel stops were made, Thomas Biagi was in the lead for a few laps. It was Lamy, however, who took the chequered flag. Turner came in next, followed by Babini, Wendlinger and Scheider.

It ought to be remembered that the number 10 and 15 MC12s had 40kg of ballast on board in additon to the 10kg assigned at the start of the season. The number 9 Trident GT had 70kg of added weight (60+10). Unlike its competitors, all the MC12s have a compromised aerodynamic set up.

The Federation ruled out the use of a front splitter and the car has a smaller rear wing. Without adequate downforce it was difficult to win at Silverstone, an intermediate circuit.