Series race report

Maserati wins Championship Race The Vitaphone Maserati No.1 of Andrea Bertolini and Michael Bartels won the Championship Race after a nail-biting finish in Portimao. The Maserati held off the challenge of Richard Westbrook and Thomas Mutsch in...

Maserati wins Championship Race

The Vitaphone Maserati No.1 of Andrea Bertolini and Michael Bartels won the Championship Race after a nail-biting finish in Portimao.

The Maserati held off the challenge of Richard Westbrook and Thomas Mutsch in the Matech Competition Ford GT No.5.

Westbrook produced a stunning drive to close a gap of over nine seconds to the Maserati with Bartels at the wheel after the driver change.

At the finish Bartels was able to hold Westbrook at bay by just 1.4 seconds in a gripping climax to the one-hour race.

Third place went to the Phoenix Crovette No.13 of Marc Hennerici and Alex Margaritas.

The pole-sitters, Michael Krumm and Peter Dumbreck in the Sumo Power Nissan GT-R No.23 finished fourth.

Portimao Championship Race: What the drivers say ...

Andrea Bertolini, Vitaphone Maserati No.1

"It was difficult for us at the start but today I got a good start, and this for us was the maximum that we could do. After that I tried to stay close to him (Peter Dumbreck) but that was not easy, I was losing the downforce at the front, if I was too close then I would destroy my front tyre.

"The crew did a really unbelievable pit, because I jumped out of the car and Michael starts and I thought what happened here. It was really quick. If we are here and we won this race, it has a lot to do with our crew."

Michael Bartels, Vitaphone Maserati No.1

"First of all I think that today's victory is a big part due to the pit crew. I was nearly not finished with my belts when they dropped the car so I could just tighten them a little bit. It was really very strong pit work.

"When you are leading by 8, 9, 10 seconds, it's a more difficult race than when you are fully under presure because you can lose concentration and you can think things that you should not think.

"But I was aware of course that the Ford was coming from behind making big steps with a really strong performance and I think that two laps more and he would be on my back."

Thomas Mutsch, Matech Competition Ford GT No.5

"As we were starting yesterday from 22nd place after the Qualifying when we had some issues with our car but the performance overall has been amazing during the race, and over the last few rounds.

"We need to work on our performance in Qualifying but the race speed is really good and also how long the tyres last that we've found compared to our competitors. And of course Richard (Westbrook) did an amazing stint and was catching up lap by lap."

Richard Westbrook, Matech Competition Ford GT No.5

"It's a long way to come from 22nd on the grid and that's really not where we should have qualified. Thomas had a failure on suspension in Qualifying. We showed in practice that both our races were really strong.

"We had to get our heads down and stay clean and really attack. In my stint I didn't really know what was going on to start with, I didn't plug my radio in an I didn't seem to find the time to do it.

"So I just thought we'll just throw caution to the wind. Then I could see Michael (Bartels), I didn't know how long to go, but if the race was a little bit longer then it could have been different. Well done to these guys, they did a perfect job."

Marc Hennerici, Phoenix Corvette No.13

"After Spa it was a little bit hard for us as we lost third place to a mistake, I dropped down in the championship from third to seventh now we are back to third and I'm on the podium.

"It was a strong performance from Phoenix which got me back in this position. I saw that the Aston Martin was struggling and I knew that I could gain some points. It's my rookie season and I'm really happy about it."

Alexander Margaritis, Phoenix Corvette No.13

"I'm very happy when you consider that both of the drivers, both Marc and me were the first time in Portimao and with 20 kilos of extra weight, and the circuit not being the best for the Corvette. We found a good set-up from yesterday to today, we found something overnight. I'm very happy to be second time on the podium."

Bas Leinders, Marc VDS Ford GT No.40

"Although we were having clutch problems this is a very good result. Me and my team-mate (Maxime Martin) managed to recover 16 places from our position on the grid. He did a very good start and took something like 10 places. We took two places in the pit stop and then I overtook another four, so we did a very good race.

"Yesterday we were in the front row and had that problem with the air box which broke during the FIA tests. But it is our fault, we should have made it stronger. Next time we will do and probably win the race."

Jamie Campbell-Walter, Sumo Power Nissan GT-R No.22

"I am really upset with what's been happening in the last few races. Some drivers think these races are to be won in the first lap. This time I was hit by a car when there was no chance he could overtake me. I could not simply vanish from where I was and still he came on and hit me.

"These are very expensive cars and mine shows the signs of what happened today. This is not a touring car championship and the FIA must make a stand and penalize those drivers who behave like that. Yesterday I overtook some 10 cars during my stint and did not touch one single of them."

Pedro Lamy, Young Driver AMR Aston Martin No.8

"Midway through my stint, my tyres were gone and the car was very difficult to handle. I did a spin by the end of the race but managed to return and from there it was just a matter of taking the car through in one piece.

"It's been some years now since I've raced in GTs and I find this new format of the FIA GT1 World Championship very competitive, with many cars almost at the same level. That makes the races much more interesting."

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

"I was fully focused at the start on getting away well and then building up a gap so I could bring the car home for Michael (Krumm). I had the legs on Andrea Bertolini today and enjoyed the run. I thought to myself that all I had to do was get to the pit-stop, have a clean stop and then watch Michael pop up in the lead.

"I'm happy from my side that I did all I could and you could say that every cloud has a silver lining: we won't have a car full of success ballast for Navarra."

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

"I tried everything I could to recover after the pit stop and managed to pass a couple of cars along the way. Yesterday everything was perfect for us. GT1 racing is so close that one little thing is all it takes to lose the victory: the devil is in the detail as they say.

"I'm glad we won yesterday and it was good to see how much the team has improved through the season, which was demonstrated by their quick recovery in the pit stop. To finish fourth after all that is a good result."

-source: gt1world

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About this article
Series Blancpain Sprint
Drivers Michael Krumm , Pedro Lamy , Peter Dumbreck , Michael Bartels , Jamie Campbell-Walter , Andrea Bertolini , Marc Hennerici , Bas Leinders , Maxime Martin , Richard Westbrook , Thomas Mutsch
Teams Nissan Motorsport , Marc VDS Racing