Bucharest: Playteam Sarafree qualifying report

Scuderia Playteam Sarafree locks out front row in Bucharest Bucharest - Saturday, 19 May 2007 - Prior to the event the team's drivers participated to a number of activities aimed at learning about life in the city. The highlight came when they...

Scuderia Playteam Sarafree locks out front row in Bucharest

Bucharest - Saturday, 19 May 2007 - Prior to the event the team's drivers participated to a number of activities aimed at learning about life in the city. The highlight came when they played a charity football game against Dinamo Bucharest players at the legendary Budapest stadium Stefan cel Mare and hosted a group of children from the "princess Marghareta Fundation" and also from the karting club at the circuit, sharing their racing secrets with the young hopefuls.

Romanian Prime Minister Calin Popescu Tariceanu even visited the team, spending some time in the Playteam Sarafree garage with the four drivers as he was shown around the secrets of the Maserati MC12.

The weather could have been better as drivers contended with rain and cool temperatures in free practice and qualifying. Despite the adverse conditions, the Playteam SaraFree drivers were confident that they had good pace and led the field from early on.

In qualifying Scuderia Playteam Sarafree secured pole and second place. The pole time was 1.14.214 courtesy of Alessandro Pier Guidi and Andrea Bertolini was second just 0.373 behind.

Alessandro Pier Guidi (Maserati MC12) commented, "I'm so happy with this pole position. It is my first pole this season, my debut in this category. I cannot find any words to tell you what I feel. The car is excellent. The team has done a fantastic job. I want to thank the team, Maserati, and the Pirelli tyres, just excellent team work. It is so fantastic and a great boost on my first time on this street circuit and I really like the racing conditions here. Of course, I suppose it will be an advantage to start from pole on such a narrow circuit where overtaking is a problem and with a rolling start, no apparent problems ahead of us!"

Andrea Bertolini (Maserati MC12) commented: "It was a very good day in the end we have three Maseratis in the top three. The traction is very good here although the car feels too big for this track and the walls are a bit bigger than I thought they would be. I had a good feeling from the start in the first chicane. Two cars on the front row is fantastic for our team. The secret is also partly that the Pirelli tires are very strong. I hope that tomorrow will be a good day and the occasion to take many points after our bad start this season. It is just so important to score points for the Championship here and we have a great opportunity."

Details of the day

In the first free practice - Alessandro Pier Guidi and Giambattista Giannoccaro completed 36 laps to set the 11th fastest time overall.

Giambattista Giannoccaro (Maserati MC12): "I started the morning's first practice and the car really felt good despite the really difficult weather conditions. In the end, a street circuit is good fun but very challenging. The track is narrow, But just wide enough to require perfect driving. It is a track where no mistakes are allowed."

Alessandro Pier Guidi (Maserati MC12): "This morning, I did not push, I needed more runs to have more confidence. The first impression I had of the circuit is really good. However I was not so lucky as the rain was really strong when I drove. Overtaking seems out of the question to me here. There is too little grip."

In the first free practice, Andrea Bertolini and Andrea Piccini completed at total of 36 laps with a fifth best time of 1.25.597 also using Pirelli tyres.

Andrea Piccini (Maserati MC12): "This morning was definitely a learning session. My first impression over the track is that it does not look bad. There are a few tights and dangerous corners. But I like it. It was not so wet when I drove. We went well for these conditions however as it is slippery and in the morning we just took it easy."

Andrea Piccini (Maserati MC12): "A bit early to say much. It was too wet and difficult to drive. But my first impression is very favourable for someone who does not know the track."

In the second free practice, Andrea Bertolini and Andrea Piccini completed a total of 25 laps with a best time of 1.16.251 and finished ahead of all the cars.

Andrea Bertolini (Maserati MC12): "It was really difficult to find a clear lap with all this traffic, but I am happy with the car. We evaluated the different sets of Pirelli tyres to use this weekend. We hope to have come to a good result for tomorrow. The balance was very good overall and we are pleased with the results."

Andrea Piccini (Maserati MC12): "Too bad that we did not do more laps during this second session because of the long red flag of the session We hope to have worked towards a good set-up for the race tomorrow. The car reacts well. We hope to have made the right decisions."

In the second free practice, Alessandro Pier Guidi and Giambattista Giannoccaro Giannoccaro finished in 2nd position in 1.16.565 and completed a total of 25 laps at the wheel of the Playteam Sarafree Maserati MC12 Pirelli.

Alessandro Pier Guidi (Maserati MC12): "The most difficult was to find a free lap with no traffic. Overall the car is well tuned and handling really nicely. We only made very few changes as we feel that we have a good set-up."

Giambattista Giannoccaro (Maserati MC12): "This time I could not drive enough laps because of the red flag that disturbed us during the second session. But we worked well in the track time we god. We fee ready for the qualifying challenge this afternoon."

-credit: www.maserati.com

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About this article
Series Blancpain Sprint
Drivers Andrea Piccini , Andrea Bertolini , Giambattista Giannoccaro , Alessandro Pier Guidi