Bucharest: Playteam Sarafree race report

Scuderia Playteam Sarafree takes historic win in Bucharest Scuderia Playteam Sarafree had good reason to celebrate on Saturday as despite the bad weather in Bucharest, Alessandro Pier Guidi scored his first pole of the season. His team mate...

Scuderia Playteam Sarafree takes historic win in Bucharest

Scuderia Playteam Sarafree had good reason to celebrate on Saturday as despite the bad weather in Bucharest, Alessandro Pier Guidi scored his first pole of the season. His team mate Andrea Bertolini also started on the front row in second position for the third round of the 2007 FIA GT Championship in Romania. Bertolini drove a clean race in difficult conditions to take the win, the first win in the history of the very young Scuderia Playteam SaraFree in the 2007 season.

Ahead of the start of the race, the drivers were anxiously watching the changeable weather conditions. A few minutes before the start the track was still dry. But the skies opened at the start of the race and rain fell throughout. Both drivers had a good start and kept out of trouble in the early stages which caused a number of yellow flags and on lap ten a safety car period when Loris Kessell and Robert Lechner collided. Alessandro Pier Guidi meanwhile had recorded the fastest lap on lap 8.

The first drivers change occurred under the safety car at Scuderia Playteam: Giambattista Giannocarro changed position with Alessandro Pier Guidi and Andrea Piccini also took over from Andrea Bertolini. The safety car came back in on lap 18 and the race was back on. The track at that point was drying in places but getting even more water-logged in others.

Giambattista Giannocaro's race came to an end after a suspension problem causing a small contact with the concrete wall on lap 33. Meanwhile Andrea Bertolini-Andrea Piccini avoided any mistake and took an historic first win on the Romanian street circuit.

Andrea Bertolini said: "It was a great race. I am really pleased to have made the tenth podium of my career in a race where no one knew what to expect with a large car and tight chicanes. After a good start, I drove the first stint without making any mistakes. The track was really wet and when the safety car came out I handed over the car to Andrea Piccini. I took over again on lap 45. I maintained the lead and while the rain was not quite as hard, there was still a lot of standing water on the track. The Pirelli tires were reacting well. The quality of the tires count a lot for our team. One point at least from our points today go to Pirelli tires. I kept pushing and we got a great result for the team ahead of the Monza race. "

Andrea Piccini added: "Ten points and a podium feel fantastic after such a difficult and wet race and I cannot be more pleased about this first win of our team this season and my sixth win which is also the 13th podium in my career because this was really not an easy race. When I took over from Andrea Bertolini under the safety car that had come out on lap 10, the conditions were not easy and it was really wet.

The pace car came back to the stands at lap 18 and the conditions changed a bit and got slightly better. The track started to be drier in certain parts and alternatively still wet on certain others. I took the lead on lap 37 when Karl Wendlinger came in the pits. In the next 10 laps, I was driving regularly despite the wet conditions and the traffic. I had a good lead and was lapping consistently until I pitted next time to hand the car back to Andrea Bertolini and everything went well despite bad rain again in the last minutes of the race. I think the win is equally shared between the team, the team work, the Maserati engine and our Pirelli tires. They made a great job. On to the next race at home in Monza where we're definitely going again for the podium."

Alessandro Pier Guidi had a clean start from pole in the Maserati MC12 nr 12: "I managed to immediately get the gap bigger with Bertolini. Then I was cruising and I was ahead of the race as the safety car came out for the first time. I recorded the fastest lap on lap 8 in 1.27.784. I was still leading when I came in for the first change of drivers during the safety car period. What a pity we could not capitalise on our pole and finish the race."

Giambattista Giannoccaro concluded: "Conditions were really hairy out there when I drove, with a lot of water everywhere. As the pace car came back in and the race was restarted I was running seventh. On lap 30, I touched slightly with Andrew Kirkaldy's GT2 in my way. We were lucky not to go off. But I stopped in the following lap to check the car and on lap 33 the suspension was damaged and I touched the wall and stopped on the track. It's a real shame because we had left from pole and the car had such a good potential."

-credit: www.playteam.com

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Series Blancpain Sprint