Monza: Playteam Sarafree race report

GT Championship -Two cars in top ten for Scuderia Playteam Sarafree at Monza Circuit: Monza - 5.793 m Weather: Warm-up and race - dry, and sunny - Maserati MC12 nr 11, Andrea Bertolini (Ita) - Andrea Piccini (Ita) - Maserati MC12 nr 12, ...

GT Championship -Two cars in top ten for Scuderia Playteam Sarafree at Monza

Circuit: Monza - 5.793 m
Weather: Warm-up and race - dry, and sunny

- Maserati MC12 nr 11, Andrea Bertolini (Ita) - Andrea Piccini (Ita)
- Maserati MC12 nr 12, Giambattista Giannoccaro(Ita)-Alessandro Pier Guidi(Ita)

Andrea Bertolini-Andrea Piccini who have now each scored 15 points in the FIA GT drivers classification finished the eventful race at Monza in eighth position scoring one point for Scuderia Playteam Sarafree. Giambattista Giannoccaro (Ita)-Alessandro Pier Guidi(Ita) have finished the race in ninth position. Scuderia Playteam SaraFree had some reason to be pleased at the start of the race as the second row start earned in qualifying by Giannoccaro/Pier Guidi turned into a third place for the start of the race, following a penalty against one of the competitors who had their qualifying time cancelled. However, the race was spoilt after a number of unplanned incidents.

Things started to go wrong in the morning warm-up with a change of engine after the warm-up for Bertolini/Piccini's Maserati MC12 nr 11 number pushed from 8th to 18th position for the start as according to the regulations, they had to lose ten positions on the grid: "The car was doing fine but I heard a noise in the engine. I stopped and the team immediately checked the telemetry and for safety reasons the engineers decided for a routine change of engine which was completed in a record time of 1 hour 45 minutes," said Andrea Piccini.

"The team did a fantastic lap and managed to change the engine so fast this morning. It is a hard challenge on this track, but anything can happen during such a long race," added Andrea Bertolini prior to the start of the race.

At the start of the two hour-long race, the Maserati MC12 from Alessandro Pier Guidi started from 3rd (nr 12), and stabilized in fifth place while Wendlinger, Biagi, Montanari and Hezemans were racing ahead of him. Andrea Piccini started from 18th (nr 11) and was up to 14th position after five laps and already in 12th position after 12 laps. The car's best lap was in 1.47.557 despite the 40kg weight penalty inherited from the Bucharest round.

The Monza race was eventful for both Maserati C12s. Alessandro Pier Guidi was forced to drive back slowly to the stands on lap 21 with a puncture on the rear left tyre. The team strategically used this stop to get Giambattista Giannoccaro take over the drive. After 40 laps, Giannoccaro was running with a strong pace in eleventh position the Corvette (nr 5) hit him almost causing a spin. There was a second driver change on lap 43 for the Maserati MC12 nr 12, Giambattista Giannoccaro left the wheel to Alessandro Pier Guidi for the last part of the race with 35 minutes to go.

Meanwhile, Andrea Piccini was completing running in sixth position and stopped for the driver change with Bertolini. After 40 laps, with 43 minutes of racing remaining, Bertolini was in ninth.

Alessandro Pier Guidi (Maserati MC12 nr 12) who was completing the fifth race of his career explains the Monza race: "It was a bit tough at the start as Biagi and Hazemans were pushing hard behind me. I let them go by because I thought it was not worthwhile taking risk at the start of a race in front of all my fans. Of course I am very disappointed to start third and arrive in ninth place only."

His team mate Giambattista Giannoccaro (Maserati MC12 nr 12) continues: "What an unlucky race, I thought I was going to lose the car as the Corvette nr 5 ran into my car, but luckily I kept everything under control. Overall we hit so much unforeseen traffic and overall we lost a lot of time overcoming the successive problems."

Andrea Piccini (Maserati MC12 nr 11) said: "I had a bit of a tough time with the back markers at the start of my 50th race in Monza. But at least, I know from experience that it is possible to pass on this track. I managed to get a good rhythm for the car. It is clear that we were not as quick as we wanted. But I did not expect to have the Jetalliance Aston Martin D89 from Robert Lechner touch me in the last lap. At least, I managed to bring the car home, which is positive because we score one point and we are happy to finish the race."

Andrea Bertolini (Maserati MC12 nr 11) added: "It was not such a great race on our home track. I pushed constantly. Our two Maserati were a bit unlucky during the race. The weight was a bit handicap. We have three days of work ahead of us on this Monza track to continue working and prepare the next race in Oschserleben (Germany) on July 8, 2007."

After the race on Sunday night in Monza, the entertainment will continue, with SRO organizing a two-hour free concert in the paddock, with a host of top Italian performers including Marco Masini, Irene Grandi, Simone Cristicchi, Povia, Jessica Morlacchi, Marco Baroni and Yle, Motors and Music in Monza!

-credit: playteam

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Series Blancpain Sprint