TITLE DECIDER IN ADRIA BARTELS/BERTOLINI & BOBBI/MELO CHAMPIONS ! VICTORY FOR DAVIES/BIAGI AND MULLEN/FRANCHITTI Bright sunshine, plenty of spectators and a compact, tight circuit made for an interesting event at the Adria Raceway. The ...
TITLE DECIDER IN ADRIA
BARTELS/BERTOLINI & BOBBI/MELO CHAMPIONS !
VICTORY FOR DAVIES/BIAGI AND MULLEN/FRANCHITTI
Bright sunshine, plenty of spectators and a compact, tight circuit made for an interesting event at the Adria Raceway. The penultimate round of the 2006 season was a race of attrition, mainly due to the nature of the circuit which wore heavily on the brakes and tyres. But a fine one-two for the Vitaphone Racing Team saw Thomas Biagi and Jamie Davies emerge victorious, while Michael Bartels and Andrea Bertolini, second in their Maserati MC12, secured the GT1 Drivers Championship. Scuderia Ecosse's duo of Mullen and Franchitti were victorious, crossing the line ahead of AF Corse's Salo and Aguas. Third place went to newcomers Edil Cris Racing Team, making an impressive debut in the category.
However, the nr 59 car was excluded as the car did not comply with ground clearance regulations. This means that AF Corse's Matteo Bobbi and Jaime Melo have secured the GT2 Drivers Championship. As for sole G2 competition Belgian Racing, Leinders and Kuppens claimed their best result of the season. Last but not least, Aston Martin claimed the GT1 Manufacturers Cup.
Vitaphone claimed its fifth victory of the season in Adria, with Davies and Biagi following up their Dijon win with victory in Italy. The duo, who started from 7th on the grid in their nr 2 Maserati MC12, made good progress through the field, and were closing in on the leading Zakspeed Saleen when Montermini pitted, flames emerging from the front left brake pads. Biagi continued to take the chequered flag, finishing ahead of their teammates Bertolini and Bartels.
"I am very pleased because starting from 7th place on such a small circuit is not easy. This is one of our best races," Thomas Biagi explained.
Third place went to the GLPK Carsport Corvette C6, which had to make an extra pit stop due to a puncture in the second stint. Fourth and fifth went to the two Aston Martin Racing BMS DBR9 cars, closely missing out on a podium for their home race but securing second place in the Teams Championship as well as victory for Aston Martin in the GT1 Manufacturers Cup. Zakspeed made a rapid disc and pad change, and recovered to finish 12th overall and 6th in GT1. Among the non-finishers, the nr 33 Race Alliance Aston Martin went out with technical failures after running second. The nr 38 All-Inkl.com Lamborghini Murciélago also put in an excellent start, and ran in the leading group of four cars, but retired during the second hour. The nr 5 Phoenix Aston Martin took a strong lead early on, overtaking the pole-setting Saleen, but a racing incident with the nr 23 Aston Martin Racing BMS saw it make a long pit stop, and finally retired.
MULLEN AND FRANCHITTI VICTORIOUS FOR SCUDERIA ECOSSE
Scuderia Ecosse claimed its second win in a row -- but this time it was the nr 63 Ferrari 430 GT2 which took the chequered flag, confirming Mullen in third place behind the two AF Corse driver crews in the GT2 Drivers Classification. After a number of podium finishes, Tim Mullen took his first win of the season, while Marino Franchitti, who joined the team on the Friday morning, managed his aim of adding a win to the second and third places he had already taken in the FIA GT this season.
"It's a fantastic result," Tim said." I've had many seconds and thirds this year, but it's my first win. It's been great to have Marino on board this weekend. The car was very strong and we could push the whole stint. I'm really, really pleased. " As for Marino, he dedicated his win to his uncle, who died recently.
Second across the line was AF Corse's nr 59 car of Rui Aguas and Mika Salo. Their Ferrari 430 GT2 finished four places ahead of the team's other car, Bobbi and Melo in the nr 58, which looked like keeping the title battle between the two crews going until the last race in Dubai. However, the nr 59 car was later excluded as the car did not comply with ground clearance regulations, giving Melo and Bobbi the title. Third at the end, inheriting second, was the Edil Cris Racing Team Ferrari 430 GT2, the Italo-Luxembourg team making an impressive debut to claim a podium for Paolo Ruberti and Raffaele Giammaria. The team had been in the lead of the category shortly before the end, having aimed for a one-stop strategy, but a last-minute splash and dash saw them drop back, but still claim a fine podium.
"We wanted to show what the team was capable of doing; unfortunately, the strategy didn't quite work out, but we limited the damage and globally we are happy," the team said afterwards. Sugden and Alexander inherited third after finishing fourth in the nr 55 JMB GruppeM Ferrari 430 GT2, ahead of the sole finishing Porsche, the nr 74 Ebimotors car of Busnelli and Moccia.