Maserati is World Champion
San Luis (Ar), 5 December 2010 - Michael Bartels and Andrea Bertolini are now officially 2010 FIA GT1 World Champions. The reigning champions, driving Vitaphone Racing Team's Maserati MC12, have just won the drivers title for the fourth time (and third consecutive time) at the conclusion of the last round in San Luis, Argentina.
The Vitaphone Racing Team also received recognition for remaining at the top of the team classification (for the sixth consecutive time). Celebration for Maserati's performance began right after this morning's Qualifying Race, when the math excluded Maserati's closest contender, Turner Enge's Aston Martin.
The last event in the 2010 season, the Championship Race, went to Makocwiecki/Clairy's no. 9, which, thanks also to points earned by their team-mates, catapulted Aston Martin ahead of Maserati in the SRO Trophy Manufacturers's classification.
The Trident cars in today's Argentinean race reached seventh place with Bartels/Bertolini (thus earning a further 6 points in the process), ninth with Heger/Mueller (2 points) and fourteenth with Bernoldi/Ramos. Pier Guidi/Verdonck's no. 33 was eliminated.
This championship had the Maserati MC12 arrive first to the finish line on three occasions during Championship Races (Paul Ricard and Algarve by Bartels/Bertolini and Interlagos by Bernoldi/Negrao) and twice in Qualifying Races (Brno and Paul Ricard by Bartels/Bertolini).
Maserati's participation in the FIA GT from 2005 to today is crowned with fourteen titles (and 19 victories): two Car Maker Cups (2005 and 2007), five Driver Championships (Bartels-Bertolini in 2006, Thomas Biagi in 2007, and Bartels-Bertolini in 2008, 2009 and 2010); six Team Championships (uninterruptedly since 2005, by the Vitaphone Racing Team); one Citation Cup in 2007 by gentleman driver Ben Aucott, JMB Racing, in addition to three absolute victories in Spa's 24 Hours (2005, 2006 and 2008).
Andrea Bertolini: "We've just accomplished an incredible thing: we've won the fourth international title! They say that the first time is never forgotten, but I have to admit that today, the latest one, is surely wonderful, really exciting. It's not easy to win the first time, and repeating the feat is even harder.
The key to this success is having a reliable car, a fast team-mate like Michael Bartels --who I consider a brother-- and a team that is as motivated as I am. We were fast even when we were loaded with ballast; we attacked at the right time and we were good at avoiding difficult situations. This is what I call determination! Everyone deserves credit for it. I'm only sorry that we couldn't get Maserati a car maker's title. I dedicate this world championship to my wife, my son and to all those who have given me a helping hand."
Michael Bartels: "This championship isn't comparable to past ones: We've won it in the new World Championship, and the contenders were top-notch teams and drivers. It wasn't easy but we did it! Right now I still cannot fathom the importance of this success.
"In the last two races we carefully controlled our advantage, trying to avoid mistakes. We were able to remain focused during the entire season, trying to accumulate the greatest amount of points possible while taking full advantage of opportunities as they arose. Perhaps we made less mistakes than our adversaries. Andrea and I know each other very well: this is an enormous advantage for us".