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Maserati Maintains World Championship Lead - (Global)
July 7th, 2008
Maserati has maintained its lead in both the FIA GT World Championship for drivers’ and teams’ after the weekend’s (6 July 2008) German round in Oschersleben despite race victory being snatched away from the Maserati drivers by the safety car.
“The chance for us to win ended abruptly with the appearance of the safety car,” explained Andrea Bertolini. “To be honest, our performance was very good and consistent, we are the team to beat and we deserve our top-ranking place in the championship. We still haven't won in 2008 due to the heavy balance compensations penalizing our vehicle".
A sensational recovery for Miguel Ramos and Alexander Negraõ, who, thanks to a an excellent pit stop strategy and bold driving, just missed the podium after having started out from twelfth place due to a penalty owed from Adria.
"Toward the end of the race the podium was really within reach,” said Miguel Ramos. “But unfortunately I was held back first by Bouchut, who kept up at the normal pace for three laps despite his having to go back in to serve a drive through, and then by a back marker that slowed me down in the final stages. It's a shame, even if today's results are still excellent.”
The race was full of dramatic surprises. At the start Bartels quickly overtook the Lopez's Ferrari, while Ramos went to the pit lane to allow Negraõ a long middle stint which turned out to be a winning tactic.
At the 33rd lap, Bartels handed the car over to Bertolini, who drove the MC12 within an inch of victory after masterfully overtaking Lichtner-Hoyer and Deletraz.
Unfortunately the safety car entered the track at the 60th lap, which ruined the plans of Bertolini-Bartels, enabling their opponents to carry out the last pit stop in safety car mode, when MC12 no. 1 had passed the pit lane way. The race ended with Bartels's attempt at snatching the podium by overtaking Fassler: this impetuous move made the German slide into fifth place, enabling Ramos to attack Fassler, but by then there were only a few curves left to do before the race ended.
“I tried to overtake Fassler in the final laps because we deserved the podium and I felt that the car could manage it and the tyres were still good,” said Bartels. “The move was unsuccessful and I apologize to the team. We are nevertheless at the top in the championship and we confidently look forward to the decisive race at Spa Francorchamps.”
The third MC12 with gentlemen drivers Ben Aucott and Alain Ferte (JMB Racing) at the wheel got a good ninth place.
Now the teams will travel to Belgium for testing in preparation for Spa Francorchamps' 24-hour race, the championship's highlight race scheduled for 2 and 3 August.