The season finale for the FIA GT series was action, action, action! Russian Age Racing scored their first victory with Christophe Bouchut and Antonio Garcia sharing the drive in today's race at Bahrain International Circuit.
"It's a wonderful day for sure," said Bouchut. "Today, I would like to congratulate all my team, all the mechanics, who did a very good job. This result is unbelievable."
Bouchut earned his third pole of the season on Thursday to set the tone for the Cirtek-run team. The duo teamed up as they held off their challengers to take the checkered flag to bring the privateer Aston Martin DBR9 team home first.
"It was nice to back in a GT car," Bouchut continued. "I missed this kind of racing, as they are really good cars and good races. It was a perfect weekend, it couldn't have been better, and I'd like to thank everyone involved."
Gabriele Gardel ended the 2005 season just off the podium, crossing the finish line in fourth place in the Ferrari 550 Maranello. The fourth would be good enough to give Gardel the GT1 drivers' championship, but the race stewards disqualified the Larbre Racing car after the finish -- apparently for a fuel violation -- apparently handing the title to Timo Scheider and Michael Bartels.
Larbre has lodged an appeal against the disqualification, however, so at this point the provisional results, with Gardel in fourth place, still stand, giving Gardel the title pending the resolution of the appeal.
This year's title fight was extremely close and Gardel -- or Scheider and Bartels -- can thank his lucky stars that points' leaders Karl Wendlinger and Andrea Bertolini did not finish the season finale.
The two Maserati MC12 drivers ran only nine laps, having to retire due to gearbox failure. Prior to today's race, they had held a one point lead over Gardel, Scheider and Bartels, setting up the tightly contested battle for the title at Bahrain, hosting its first FIA GT race.
Scheider and Bartels did bring their Maserati MC12 fifth ninth to close out the season for the Vitaphone Racing Team who had already locked up the team title.
Second in GT1 belonged to JMB Racing's Maserati MC12 co-driven by Jamie Davies and Philipp Peter. GLPK Carsport Corvette's Anthony Kumpen, Bert Longin and Mike Hezemans took the final podium step.
Marc Lieb and Mike Rockenfeller continued their domination of the GT2 class with their 11th win of the 2005 season. The two Porsche factory drivers had already locked up the drivers' title in China and they handed, along with their sister car, the team championship to the GruppeM Racing Porsche 996 GT3 RSR team.
Second in today's GT2 race were Luca Drudi, Luca Pirri and Mauro Pregliasco, co-driving the GPC Sport Ferrari 360 Modena just besting the Ebimotors Porsche 996 GT3 RSR with pilots Paolo Rapetti and Luigi Moccia.