Aston wins the battle, Maserati takes title
The Hexis Aston Martin No.9 of Fred Makowiecki and Yann Clairay recorded a stunning victory in the Qualifying Race at San Luis.
The result also settled the drivers and teams championships in favour of Michael Bartels and Andrea Bertolini in the Vitaphone Maserati No.1. The pair finished 12th, two places behind their nearest title challengers - Tomas Enge and Darren Turner in the Young Driver Aston Martin No.7.
Second in the race was the Matech Competition Ford GT No.5 of Thomas Mutsch and Richard Westbrook after a gripping four-way battle once the pit stops were completed. Bas Leinders and and Maxime Martin in the Marc VDS Ford GT No.40 were third.
Pole-sitter Stefan Mucke and Jose Maria Lopez in the Young Driver Aston No.8 got caught up in a chaotic start and was forced to retire with extensive damage on the opening lap.
There was an anxious moment for the Vitaphone Maserati No.1 as the car was tagged by the Reiter Lamborghini No.24 of Christopher Haase and Peter Kox on the second lap.
The incident put Haase out of the race and forced Bartels to rejoin in position 18. Team-mate Bertolini eventually brought the Maserati home to 11th and both titles.
The battle for the second and third positions in both championships carries over until this afternoon's Championship Race. It starts at 15:00 pm local.
San Luis Qualifying Race: What the drivers say ...
Frederic Makowiecki, Hexis Aston Martin No.9
"After a good Qualifying yesterday it feels good to get the win. It's important for Hexis and Aston Martin to take this result and collect the points as we are still fighting for the team and manufacturers championship. We pushed quite hard for it and we will do the same for the Championship Race this afternoon.
"It's really easy to make a mistake on this track. I tried to keep a good line and keep a good gap to the Ford and bring the car home safe."
Yann Clairay, Hexis Aston Martin No.9
"At the start, I braked and got pushed out but it was OK because we won the race. There was some damage but it is fine. We made a good job with the pit stops and now we want to go for the win in race two."
Thomas Mutsch, Matech Competition Ford GT No.5
"We were not expecting to be here in P2 after our Qualifying yesterday. I had a good start and stayed out of all the trouble on the first corner. The set-up was good and the pace of the car meant I could run with the pack at the front. The safety didn't help us.
"We messed up a little bit in the pit stop. It was very slippery in front of our box and I went a couple of metres too far and Richard (Westbrook) came out in P4 and did a great job. Everything is possible in the last race today so we are hoping for some good points."
Richard Westbrook, Matech Competition Ford GT No.5
"It's a massive boost for our team. For once no one hit Thomas and he had a clear run and did a great job. It was a shame we came out in fourth after the pit stop. I thought it was a Ford one-two at the front. I was surprised at the end when they said 'good job P2.' It was a bit disappointing but we are just relieved to get the result."
Bas Leinders, Marc VDS Ford GT No.40
"We are very happy with the result. I made a mistake in the Qualifying yesterday which meant we didn't get into Q3. It was a shame because I think we could have got into the top three in Qualifying. I made a good start and then Maxime did a great job, he set the fastest lap of the race so that promises something for this afternoon."
Maxime Martin, Marc VDS Ford GT No.40
"It is very difficult to overtake here. We just tried to not make any mistakes. Finishing on the podium is fantastic for the whole team."
Peter Kox, Reiter Lamborghini No.24
"Something broke on the car and Christopher (Haase) was a passenger. You could see that he get off line but there was not much he could do. It's a shame but the Championship Race is left so we will see what we can do."
Michael Krumm, Sumo Power Nissan GT-R No.23
"I was very careful at the start which paid off. Most of my stint was done behind the safety car and, with the Nissan feeling good, I was very pleased to be running in fourth when I made the pit stop."
Peter Dumbreck, Sumo Power Nissan GT-R No.23
"The lads did a great job in the pit stop and I came out in third place. I then started fighting for second but, as soon as I got off line to try to overtake, I picked up sand on the tyres an dI just went backwards and lost three places. It then took a lap to clean the tyres off, by which time I was out of the chase and all I could do was consolidate sixth."
Warren Hughes, Sumo Power Nissan GT-R No.22
"I had a good start then it all started kicking off ahead of me, so I just moved to the outside of the track and kept out of trouble. The was the best it's been all weekend so I was able to pass a few cars and I was pleased to have gone from 18th on the grid to eighth by the time I came into the pits. Unfortunately the dust on the ground meant I missed the mark a bit and the stop took longer than it should, so we dropped some places."
Jamie Campbell-Walter, Sumo Power Nissan GT-R No. 22
"The work the lads did on the car yesterday evening made a real difference. In some places, especially the first sector, it was a lot quicker and I was able to make up a place to finish 13th."
-source: gt1 world