Paul Ricard: Series qualifying race report

Maserati takes Qualifying Race honours The Vitaphone Maserati No.1 of Michael Bartels and Andrea Bertolini took victory in a hard-fought Qualifying Race at Paul Ricard. Christopher Haase and Peter Kox in the Reiter Engineering Lamborghini ...

Maserati takes Qualifying Race honours

The Vitaphone Maserati No.1 of Michael Bartels and Andrea Bertolini took victory in a hard-fought Qualifying Race at Paul Ricard.

Christopher Haase and Peter Kox in the Reiter Engineering Lamborghini No.24 were second.

The Nissan GT-R of Jamie Campbell-Walter and Warren Hughes claimed the final podium position with a pass on the Mad-Croc Corvette of Xavier Maassen and Mike Hezemans five minutes from the end.

As predicted, tyre management was the key factor in the hour-long battle.

Qualifying Race - Driver Quotes

Michael Bartels - Nr1 Vitaphone Racing Team Maserati MC12 - 1st Place

"I think first of all it was a problem with the start; it went red-green-red-green. It was not how I expected to start. I think Christopher can confirm this. This influenced the starting procedure a bit, but it was good for the race. Because it was a really fantastic battle, on the fear side, on the limit. After a few laps I decided to wait for a better chance, because I saw that his tyre degradation was a bit more than mine. Behind we had also built a gap. It was good racing, good sport for GT. But I think now we have to try from Maserati to put a request to the FIA to change the points system, to have the Sunday points on Saturday and vice-versa. Because, again, we had a lucky Saturday. (And Germany won 4-0). I think it was a good Saturday, a good pitstop, a good strategy. We came in early to stay in the lead. Andrea did a good job in the end, brought the car home. And we have a good pace for tomorrow. "

Andrea Bertolini - Nr1 Vitaphone Racing Team Maserati MC12 - 1st Place "Like Michael said, it's been another good Saturday, and we're looking forward to the main race. Anyway, Michael did a really good stint because it's not easy to overtake the Lamborghini, especially under braking. He managed, and afterwards, life was easier for me. The crew did a really unbelievable pit stop, which helped. I want to thank all the team because now the race is really close, all the time, and if you gain 3-4 seconds in the pits, your position will probably change in the race by 2 or 3 places."

Christopher Haase - nr24 Reiter Lamborghini Murcielago 670 R-SV - 2nd place

"The lights at the start were a bit strange. After the first corner, I was in first place. I managed to hold onto first place for a few laps, but it was really difficult to save the tyres with this pace. I pushed maybe a bit too much, so I lost a few places in my last three laps. But I think it was important for us to continue. And I think our pace was 2.8 to give to Peter. Our team did a really great job this weekend, a great pitstop, and I'm really delighted to get this result."

Peter Kox - nr24 Reiter Lamborghini Murcielago 670 R-SV - 2nd place

"The Reiter Engineering boys did a great job on the pitstop. Christopher did a magnificent job at the beginning, he made the race for us, and I just needed to bring the car home. So it was good, and I managed to overtake Michael at the exit in the pitlane, which I was laughing about, I liked that a lot. But on the other hand I must say, compared to the other guys alongside, we have to up our pace. We've come a long way now. We've improved on the whole area, I'm really happy for the team. "

Jamie Campbell-Walter -- nr22 Sumo Power GT Nissan GT-R -- 3rd place

"I think I was 5th in the first corner, but I managed to get past my team mate Peter Dumbreck, as he started on an old set of tyres; he was struggling for grip. Unfortunately by the time that happened, I was too far behind these guys and the Corvette, but I managed to catch them up, and I think I overtook the Lamborghini. All credit to Sumo Power, to Nismo, the team who did a fantastic job in the pitstop, it was a 30 second pit stop. I'll let Warren tell you about the rest. Then he did a fantastic job to make amends, and catch up with the Corvette and pass them around the outside with quite a good maneuver. I'm pleased to be here, it's another podium for us, and a good starting position for tomorrow."

Warren Hughes - nr22 Sumo Power GT Nissan GT-R -- 3rd place

"The car was very good. We've worked hard on the car, and haven't panicked, trying to get the ultimate car. This weekend was always going to be about tyre management with this heat. The work we've done has paid off. The car is mega consistent. It's strong. I could gage the relative pace, as I came on to the back straight, I could see that I was catching all the guys ahead as the race progressed. That makes us confident for tomorrow, I think we've got a very good race pace. Jamie did a great job. What he's referring to in the pit stop I actually knocked the master switch off as I put the ignition switch on. Then in my frustration, I stalled. I'm not sure how much I lost, but the team did a very good pit stop, so I have to apologize to them. I think certainly second would have been very feasible. But we're in a fantastic position tomorrow with a very strong race pace."

-source: gt1world

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About this article
Series Blancpain Sprint
Drivers Peter Dumbreck , Michael Bartels , Peter Kox , Jamie Campbell-Walter , Warren Hughes , Mike Hezemans , Andrea Bertolini , Xavier Maassen , Christopher Haase
Teams Nissan Motorsports , Reiter Engineering