Zolder - belgium

Bertolini/Bartels win as Vitaphone takes crown

The ninth stage of the FIA-GT took place at Zolder, Flanders.

The mechanics had worked through the night to repair the number 1 car that had drifted off the track at the ‘Lucien Bianchi’ curve in qualifying. Their hard work paid off as Andrea Bertolini and Michael Bartels sped to a 7” victory over rivals Hezemans/Gollin. The result saw Vitaphone Racing and Maserati crowned 2008 FIA-GT Teams’ champions. This is the fourth straight win for Vitaphone Racing Team and the Maserati MC12 in the FIA GT.

Zolder was one of the most exciting races of the season. Wendlinger got off to a good start, tracked by the two Corvettes. The race order did not change up until the round of pit stops when one of the Corvettes was forced to throw in the towel. Sharp’s Aston Martin going off the track slowed him down while Bertolini/Bartels Maserati MC12 was in third halfway into the race. Team Vitaphone’s strategy at that point was decisive: the last of the leading cars to come into the pits, the MC12 was in first when it finally did. The MC12 was still leading when it made its way back out and held on for a breathtaking finish that saw five cars cross the line within 15 seconds of each other. Bertolini managed to hold off the Corvettes and Aston Martin to take the chequered flag. 

The other two MC12s also did well. Ramos and Negraõ, fresh from their victory in France two weeks ago, claimed sixth even though they had the heaviest car in the entire field. Matteo Bobbi and Pedro Lamy did superbly to come home in eighth.
The championship will end on 23 November in San Luis, Argentina, on the city circuit crafted around a natural lake. Ten points are still up for grabs and Bertolini/Bartels well have to drive intelligently to defend the eight point lead they have over Hezemans/Gollin to round off the season as champions.