Road Atlanta II: Maserati mid-race report

The No. 35 Maserati MC12 was fourth in the GT1 class and seventh overall after five hours of the 1000-mile or 10-hour Petit Le Mans, despite losing four laps in the first four hours of the race. Andrea Bertolini started sixth on the GT1 grid and...

The No. 35 Maserati MC12 was fourth in the GT1 class and seventh overall after five hours of the 1000-mile or 10-hour Petit Le Mans, despite losing four laps in the first four hours of the race.

Andrea Bertolini started sixth on the GT1 grid and moved to fifth during his 50-minute stint. He went off the racing line trying to pass another car and the left-rear tire was punctured. He pitted and Fabio Babini took over, but had to return to pit lane for a penalty for a tire outside the designated pit lane during the pit stop. After serving the penalty, Babini returned to the track sixth in class, two laps down to the class leaders. He quickly regained one lap and then moved to fifth place. He pitted at 1h48 and handed off to Fabrizio de Simone, who returned to the track sixth in GT1, two laps behind the class leaders. A prototype slowed in front of him at 2h17 and he was unable to avoid contact. He spun off-track, but was able to return to pit lane.

Bertolini started his second stint at 2h20. He was slowed by a left-rear tire puncture and pitted for new tires at 3h16. Babini took over at the next stop, at 3h44, and moved to fourth by the five-hour mark. He felt a vibration in the left-rear of the car at 4h24, but it disappeared when the crew removed a piece of the car's floor, likely loosened in earlier incidents. With high track and ambient temperatures, the Pirelli Tire engineers switched to a harder compound to give the car more stability.

Giorgio Ascanelli, Technical Director, Maserati Corse: "We've had difficulties with a couple of tire punctures, also a spin and a driver mistake on an overtaking tangle with a prototype. This is the explanation of the four laps we are behind. We believe that we have found a solution for the problem with the tires."

Andrea Bertolini: "We had some problems with the rear tires. The team and Giorgio made the decision to put the hard compound on the car. Now the car is much better, it is quicker and consistent."

Fabrizio de Simone: "I came up on a small Lola. He saw the yellow [caution flag] and pushed on the brakes, like stopping on track. I was not close, I was quite far from him, but I couldn't brake my car enough to miss him. So I touched him and spun off in the gravel."

Maserati competes with an MC12 in compliance with the rules of IMSA and matches FIA GT Championship GT1 specifications. The team will not score points in the American Le Mans Series championship.

The participation of Maserati in the ALMS has been made possible thanks to the fundamental cooperation of important partners, including Pirelli and team Risi Competizione, that support Maserati logistically. The MC12 is using Pirelli Racing P Zero tires, developed in 2004 and currently used on an exclusive basis in the FIA GT Championship. The successful cooperation between Maserati and Pirelli continues in the ALMS.

-www.maseraticorse.com.

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About this article
Series ALMS
Drivers Fabrizio de Simone , Fabio Babini , Andrea Bertolini
Teams Risi Competizione