Zhuhai: Playteam Sarafree race report

Scuderia Playteam Sarafree victim of a fuel shortage on both cars Alessandro Pier Guidi on the Maserati MC12 nr 12, and Andrea Bertolini (Team Playteam Sarafree)'s race was stopped by an unfortunate miscalculation of the fuel load. The two...

Scuderia Playteam Sarafree victim of a fuel shortage on both cars

Alessandro Pier Guidi on the Maserati MC12 nr 12, and Andrea Bertolini (Team Playteam Sarafree)'s race was stopped by an unfortunate miscalculation of the fuel load. The two drivers stopped in the same lap, on lap 29, before their pitstop, putting an end to a promising race. An unexpected disappointment as the team has scored one of the last laps of the race and the Pirelli tires were performing very well all along the week-end.

At the start of the two hours-long race, Alessandro Pier Guidi started from 8th as Andrea Bertolini started from 4th. However, he lost some time as his car spun after a contact on the first corner of the first lap of the Zhuhai race.

Alessandro Pier Guidi had a clean start: "Starting from 8th on the grid, I gained three positions at the start of the race and found immediately a good pace that brought me to the fifth place" said Alessandro Pier Guidi . Then I was cruising and after 2 laps I was holding fourth. On lap 29, I was right behind the leader Thomas Biagi in second place.

But it all went sour when I felt the car slowing down. It was obviously a problem with the fuel and I had to park the car on the side of the track on the grass on that lap.

Andrea Bertolini started from fourth place. " After a contact, the car spun in the first corner of the race, but I managed bringing the car back in the race and I had a very fast pace, catching up the other competitors.

On lap 11, I scored the fastest lap of the race with 1,.33.049. "I felt something was not right on the car and I decided to bring it back to the box. I had no idea that the fuel could have been miscalculated as the machine was very reliable and as fast and performing as expected.

I am very disappointed as I had managed to bring my Maserati MC12 to the pits. I was stopped at the entrance of the pitlane by the marshals and never reached the garage although Andrea Piccini was already waiting in his overall to take over at the end of my lap".

Obviously a lost occasion at the start of a promising race for the Zhuhai FIA GT opening race

A quick glance at the pre-race morning warm-up

Team Playteam Sarafree used the longest time possible in the warm-up session in order to make up for yesterday's wet weather as the drivers had had virtually no feeling on driving in dry conditions. The team has good reasons to be satisfied about this first qualifying session of the season as the gap to the pole car the Maserati MC12 GT1 Bartels/Biagi was only 0.212s.

The Maserati MC12 nr 12, Giambattista Giannoccaro (ITA) and Pier Alessandro Pier Guidi (ITA) clocked a third fastest time on lap 4 in the warm-up. The drivers completed 13 laps and Alessandro Pier Guidi remained at the wheel for 6 laps.

Giambattista Giannoccaro and Alessandro Pier

Alessandro Pier Guidi commented: "We changed the car a lot since yesterday after our last meeting yesterday where Alessandro had suggested a more aggressive set-up that suits us better. The car is more nervous. But it is really where we want it to be as it is more adapted to our driving style.

These results brought satisfaction in the Playteam Sarafree pits as the strategy had been to use the dry morning warm up session as their live test session to make up for yesterday on the dry track. We had lots of traffic and a red flag to go through.

The Maserati MC12 nr 11, Andrea Bertolini (I) - Andrea Piccini (ITA) ranked 7th and Andrea Piccini clocked their fastest time in 1.33.235 ( 8th laps). "I was a bit more lucky because the track was cleaner when I did the fast lap on slicks. It is a promising fast time."

Andrea Bertolini was not too happy after the warm-up: "Not much I could achieve during the warm-up, with so much dust and so much sand and dirt on the track. A real festival!" Andrea Bertolini will start the race.

-credit: sps

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