Zhuhai - china

Babini/Biagi the fastest Maserati drivers at Zhuhai

The result of official qualifying today at Zhuhai confirmed the values that emerged in free practice yesterday.

The added ballast assigned to the MC12 for the FIA GT championship. This did not let the drivers of the two teams to claim pole position. It was unthinkable for the three MC12 drivers at the top of the classification to go flat out.

Perhaps wisely the teams worked on a race set up in order to find the right balance a choose from the different types of tyre and brakes. The components will suffer unusual wear owing to the extra weight on board. The best time was set by the Aston Martin of Cristophe Bouchut. He edged out the 550 driven by Gabriele Gardel and 575 fielded Team GPC. Fifth was the Maserati driven by the Italian pairing of Fabio Babini and Thomas Biagi.

The Pirelli test driver set a time of 1.32.276, two seconds off the best time of the day. The number ten Vitaphone Racing Team that won at Oschersleben had 150 kg on board, ten more than the twin car entrusted to the winners of the Spa 24 Hour and the race in Istanbul, Michael Bartels and Timo Scheider. The performance of the two German drivers was similar to that of their team mates, with a time of 1.32.388. The objective of both crews was to try to sneak points from Bertolini/Wendlinger and maintain the advantage over Gardel. It was a good placing for for the two unmistakable black and green cars that allowed the Vitaphone Racing Team to have hope in the team championship.

In eighth place was the JMB Racing MC12 driven by Andrea Bertolini Karl Wendlinger, just off 1.32.814 down on the leader. The championship leading car from the midway stage of the season, is driven by the duo formed by the official Maserati tester and the Austrian ex-F1 driver. This is not the first time that have had to start from down the field. Despite this they have always finished on the podium. This bodes well for tomorrow's race. In an identical car is the untested crew of Cristophe Pillon, Marcello Zani and Luca Pirri Ardizzone. They vastly improved their time in the second qualifying session.

For Pillon and Zani this is the second time in the JMB Racing MC12 while it is the first for Pirri. As they have only 30kg extra weight, the chances of a good finish a quite high.