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Portimao - PRT

Maserati MC12 climbs on the podium at Algarve

Alex Müller and Miguel Ramos ended the sixth round of the FIA GT at Algarve on the podium. Maserati MC12 n° 2 came in at third place behind Ruffier/Longin and Kumpen/Hezemans, while the other two Maseratis participating in this race, driven by Bertolini/Bartels and Pier Guidi/Bobbi, got fifth and sixth place, respectively.

The race was exciting and hard-fought, even if its final result was affected by the appearance of the safety car, occurring during the 36th lap, due to oil spilled on the track by a GT2. This episode totally disrupted various team strategies, including Vitaphone Racing Team's.

Alex Müller and Miguel Ramos ran a prudent race during the initial laps, which then became aggressive toward the end when, at the conclusion of an intense duel with Enrique Bernoldi, Müller was able to surprise him two laps before the end of the race, earning a well-deserved third place at the podium.

Andrea Bertolini's and Michael Bartels's race was a much steeper climb. Despite lugging 125 kg of ballast, the reigning champions' MC12 was in second place when, right after finishing the 25th lap, the left rear tire lost tread due to a puncture. Thanks to the safety car's entry nine laps later, the pair re-entered the fray aiming for the podium, but Bartels was rammed by Ruffier at lap 47 (an episode currently under investigation by race officials). At the end of the race, after a fruitless assault on Bernoldi/Streit's fourth position, the two settled for fifth place.

Pier Guidi/Bobbi's race was good, leading the race for a few laps midway through the race. The two were forced to slow their rhythm down because while attacking Bernoldi, Bobbi felt a sudden deterioration of the front left tire. The final sixth place doesn't really reflect the Italian duo's performance.
The next FIA GT round will be at the Paul Ricard circuit in France on 4 October 2009.