Brno: Series qualifying report

Bartels-Bertolini top standings after Brno win Maserati pair Michael Bartels and Andrea Bertolini continued their dominance of the GT1 field in Brno with a comfortable victory in the Qualifying Race. Having topped the time sheets throughout ...

Bartels-Bertolini top standings after Brno win

Maserati pair Michael Bartels and Andrea Bertolini continued their dominance of the GT1 field in Brno with a comfortable victory in the Qualifying Race.

Having topped the time sheets throughout Qualifying to secure pole position, Bartells made good his escape at the start before handing over to Bertolini to complete the lights to flag win. The margin at the end was nearly 5 seconds.

The current FIA GT champions picked up 8 points to climb to the top of the drivers' standings. In the team's rankings, their victory elevates Maserati to top place in the battle of the brands.

Their were six different makes in the first six over the line. Second car home was the Young Driver Aston Martin of Tomas Enge and Darren Turner which pocketed them 6 points.

Third was the Nissan GT-R of Michael Krumm and Peter Dumbreck who claimed four points for their efforts. Lamborghini, Corvette and Ford GT filled the next three places.

After intermittent rain for most of the day, the race was run under bright skies and 15C. Heavy clouds hovered overhead for most of the race but the rain stayed away.

Brno Qualifying Race: What the drivers say ...

Michael Bartels, Vitaphone Maserati No.1

"A start is never so easy. But I like the situation at the start. It's something you can prepare yourself for, you know when to be on full power. I knew it would not be easy to defend our position from the Nissan and the Aston, because they have a bit more speed up to 200.

I was hoping to defend my position which worked; I had the lead in the first corner. I think I also had some luck that a fight had already started behind me between the cars and I could build up a quick lead.

After two or three laps, I was watching the tyres closely, not to drive too hard, keep them in good shape and consistent. It was also an advantage that I wasn't involved in any fights and kept the line; there was a lot of dirt and rubber offside.

I managed to keep my tyres clean which was important to get consistent lap times for so long. There was a very dark cloud I could see, with rain, but I wasn't sure in which direction it was moving, so I thought I'd stay out as long as possible not to come in twice, in case it started to rain.

We were trying to extend the turn as long as possible, which worked in the end. We had a very good pitstop and the crew did a good job. It was a good Saturday race, a qualifying race, with a great job by Michelin for the tyres, and the team and to Andrea my teammate. The points are good and come free from ballast, so we take them with pleasure."

Andrea Bertolini, Vitaphone Maserati No.1

"Everything was under control because we had 5 or 6 seconds, I tried to push but we had the same lap times. I looked at my board and the gap was still the same. I think, like Michael said, we did a really good job for the ballast. I think this is the best track for our car, as in the past, because the balance was good.

Now it's important we score points tomorrow, today's only Saturday. Every track has a different strong car, we'll see about the next one. The cars are really different, and every car is better on one track than another. It's important that we have a good start tomorrow and don't compromise the race. We'll see. We've scored 8 points and it's important."

Darren Turner, Young Driver AMR Aston Martin No.7

"I had a good run on the second Maserati on the inside, but all the action was on the outside, where Peter (Dumbreck) made up some places. But I was happy to tuck in there and just have a solid run before handing it over for the pitstops. It was a very close race.

To-ing and fro-ing across the circuit. There were places he was quicker and places where I was quicker. But generally we had a very consistent lap time against each other and it's one of those sorts of things. We have no points, to throw it away in a stupid do or die move at the moment would be foolish.

The main thing was to come back in a good place. We were right behind them as we came into the pitstop. Our guys do a fantastic job in the pits every time, they're really fast and it enabled Tomas to leap-frog in the pits."

Tomas Enge, Young Driver AMR Aston Martin No.7

"I actually love this point of the race after the pitstop where I have to get the tyres up to the right temperature and push the first lap because at that point I could make some ground to the cars on the track.

I think we had another great pitstop. I was trying to close up to Andrea, but we know there was no chance on this track. Their car is really great and they're doing a great job as well, as a team, as drivers. We are trying to get there, but so far we're happy to start from P2 and the first row for tomorrow's race. We hope to score great points tomorrow as we did today, and try to move forward in the championship standings."

Peter Dumbreck, Sumo Power GT Nissan GT-R No.23

"Our sister car did a great job last time in Silverstone. They got a win in the end after all the dramas. We've so far got no points. Finally we're on the board. We're in the same sort of situation as the Aston. I didn't want to do anything too silly, and I didn't quite have Michael's pace either, and I had a very similar pace to Darren and I just made sure I made no mistakes.

The difference is we ran two laps longer before the pitstop and we had a problem with the airjack. That was probably 10 or 11 seconds, which was why we fell from second to third. So overall, a good race. I made a good start as well.

I managed to out-drag the Maserati on the outside and for a split second thought about going for the lead. But I knew Michael would be there, so I thought nah and backed off behind him."

Michael Krumm, Sumo Power GT Nissan GT-R No.23

"I didn't really realize that the pitstop took long. We were busy getting the belts on and off. I realized something was wrong when I pitted out and there was no one around me. It was either good news or bad news.

Either that I was so far ahead that no one was close, or bad news, that the top two had gone already. Unfortunately it was the latter. I had a really eventless race because I tried to catch the car in front and it was difficult because it was too far away, about 11 seconds.

The car ran really well and I had a good run, but there was no one around me. I'm really pleased we finished this race. The target is to finish in the points tomorrow. We're going to try and stay out of trouble this time. I really like this track. The last time I was here was in 1988, in Formula Ford, 22 years ago. It's been a while.

It's really nice. I think it's a fantastic layout and really fun here. The way the curves are laid out. Other tracks should try similar things; it's clear where you can go and where you can't go, unlike Silverstone, where some people run over the line and others don't. It's really fun to drive, almost like a small Nurburgring."

-source: gt1world

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About this article
Series Blancpain Sprint
Drivers Tomas Enge , Michael Krumm , Darren Turner , Peter Dumbreck , Michael Bartels , Andrea Bertolini
Teams Nissan Motorsport