Spa: Pirelli 24H race report

PIRELLI CONQUERS THE 24 HOURS OF SPA FOR THE SECOND-STRAIGHT YEAR SPA-FRANCORCHAMPS, July 30, 2006 Precisely a year after the magnificent triumph of the Vitaphone Racing Maserati MC12, Pirelli has once again won the most important GT category...

PIRELLI CONQUERS THE 24 HOURS OF SPA FOR THE SECOND-STRAIGHT YEAR

SPA-FRANCORCHAMPS, July 30, 2006 Precisely a year after the magnificent triumph of the Vitaphone Racing Maserati MC12, Pirelli has once again won the most important GT category race of the FIA-GT season, the 24 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps. The same car that won a year ago repeated its success in 2006 at the end of one of the most closely fought and gruelling Belgian marathons. The Italian two-seater crewed by Bertolini-Van de Poele- Bartels fought a strenuous battle with the Aston Martin of Piccini-Lemeret-Faessler-Deletraz, which was in the lead until a few laps from the end.

At the heart of the outstanding victory was, without doubt, the superlative performance of Eric Van de Poele, who drove a classic race finale, together with the excellent strategy of engineer Giorgio Ascanelli of Maserati Corse and the high performance of the car's P Zero Racing tires. Equally worthy of note was the 1-2 achieved in the GT2 category by the Ferrari 430 GTCs of AF Corse, driven by Salo-Scheider-Aguas and Melo-Ortelli-Bobbi, who dominated the scene on their P Zero Racing tires; the Ferraris also came sixth and seventh overall.

In reality, the 58th running of 24 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps did not begin too well for Pirelli, who lost the second Maserati MC12 driven by Davies-Biagi-Vosse in the early stages due to a technical problem, when the car was fighting for the lead. But Davies did set the fastest lap of the race on the second of the event's 564 laps, another confirmation of the efficiency of the Maserati on its P Zero Racing tires. The Pirelli-shod #23 Aston Martin was also severely delayed in the early stages with brake problems. The crew then put everything it had into climbing back up the field from 16th to 4th place.

Eric Van de Poele, who played such a decisive role in the Pirelli-Maserati victory at Spa, was obviously extremely happy with the result he had helped to achieve. He said, "Much of this success was due to the perfect race tactics worked out by engineer Giorgio Ascanelli of Maserati Corse. The contribution of the P Zero Racing tires was equally decisive and they enabled us to make the difference during the exciting closing stages of an endurance race driven at the speeds of Formula One".

Pierluigi De Cancellis, Circuit Manager of Pirelli Competizioni, was as tired and enthusiastic as Van de Poele. The Milanese engineer underlined the excellent endurance of the P Zero Racing tires on the Maseratis and Aston Martins adding "We are also very pleased with the performance of the Ferrari 430 GTCs, which dominated the GT2 class on their medium compound P Zero Racing tires. The results obtained in both GT1 and GT2 are confirmation of the excellent qualitative standards of Pirelli tires".

-www.pirelli.com

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Series Blancpain Sprint
Teams AF Corse