Car : Maserati MC12, n. 35, chassis n. 03/15440 Drivers: Andrea Bertolini, Modena, Italy; Fabrizio de Simone, Rome, Italy Position: fourth, GT1 (1:29.781) Weather: 99 F, clear, sunny Circuit length:...
Car : Maserati MC12, n. 35, chassis n. 03/15440
Drivers: Andrea Bertolini, Modena, Italy; Fabrizio de Simone, Rome, Italy
Position: fourth, GT1 (1:29.781)
Weather: 99 F, clear, sunny
Circuit length: 2.53 miles
MC12 Maserati will start the American Le Mans Series race at Infineon Raceway from fourth on the GT1 grid. Andrea Bertolini qualified the No. 35 Maserati MC12 in one minute 29.781 seconds on the 2.53-mile road course, encountering traffic on both his fast laps. The No. 20 Dyson Racing Lola, driven by Andy Wallace, took the overall pole position.
"We had a good improvement in the balance of the car for qualifying, but it was quite difficult. I had a lot of traffic in the two fastest laps, but in any case, it's only two- or three-tenths [of a second difference], not one second," Bertolini said. "We'll continue to work on the development of the car. Special thanks to Pirelli for their support - they have a new compound for this race - and the progress with the IMSA rules is good."
Maserati competes with an MC12 in compliance with the rules of IMSA and matches FIA GT1 specifications. The team will not score points for the ALMS championship. The drivers are Italians Andrea Bertolini, Ferrari-Maserati official test driver, and Fabrizio de Simone.
Fabrizio de Simone is enjoying his first visit to Sonoma, both on- and off- track. He is fascinated by the wine industry and plans to attend a sommelier school during the off-season.
"I'm really happy to be here in one of the world's best spots for wineries, in Sonoma and Napa Valley," he said. "Infineon Raceway is very nice to drive, very technical, and all the area is fantastic. I would like to stay here someday and go around to find some good wine-tasting. I'll plan that maybe in the future."
Pirelli technicians are ready for a hot track on Sunday. The weather forecast indicates an air temperature of 95 F, which means the track temperature will be about 116 F. But Peter Tyson, Pirelli Tire North America's vice-president of marketing and motorsports, said the company will still be able to maximize results because of the smooth Infineon track surface.
"The temperature is expected to be quite hot, but this is counter-balanced by the fact that the track is quite smooth, so we expect to use our softer compounds," he said. "Testing on Friday was very positive and we made a check on Saturday for compound longevity, so we are not expecting any problems."
The participation of Maserati in the ALMS has been made possible thanks to the fundamental co-operation 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 American Le Mans Series.