Vitaphone take Spa 24 Hours 1-2
|By Steven English||Sunday, August 3rd 2008, 16:06 GMT|
The Vitaphone Maserati team took a dominant 1-2 finish in this weekend's 24 Hours of Spa.
The No.1 car of Andrea Bertolini, Michael Bartels, Stephane Sarrazin, and Eric van der Poele took the victory, two laps clear of Xandi Negrao, Miguel Ramos, Alessandro Pier Guidi, and Stephane Lemeret in the sister car.
Neither of the team's MC12s hit the front until yesterday evening, with the race being dominated by the No.6 Phoenix Racing Corvette in the early stages. But the No.1 car made its way through the top six as darkness fell last night.
Five hours into the race there was a six-way battle for the lead with both Maseratis, both Corvettes, and the Gigawave and Jetalliance Aston Martins all on the same lap.
But the Vitaphone team assumed a 1-2 at the front as their rivals hit trouble, and were able to control the race through the night and for the remainder of Sunday.
Karl Wendlinger crashed the Jetalliance Aston out of the race at Les Combes and also collected the No.6 Corvette in the incident. The Phoenix car continued, but lost seven laps to repairs in the pits.
The No.5 Corvette was also crashed, and then had to be abandoned when it caught fire as Alex Margaritis attempted to limp back to the pits.
The Gigawave Aston dropped three laps to the leaders late on Saturday night and was never able to regain any of the tine, despite matching the Maseratis for pace for much of the race, and eventually finished third.
The two other expected frontrunners were eliminated early on with Steve Zacchia destroying the pole-sitting Saleen at Eau Rouge in the morning warm-up, and the Selleslagh Corvette retiring after brake problems caused a shunt at La Source and the team ran out of spare bodywork parts after the car's third crash of the weekend.
The BMS Scuderia Ferrari maintained its GT2 lead for the rest of Sunday to clinch the class victory for Matteo Malucelli, Paolo Ruberti, Joel Camathias, and Davide Rigon.
The class lead had swapped between several cars in the early stages of the race, until the BMS Ferrari established itself up front. It was never far ahead of the No.61 Prospeed Porsche, of Emmanuel Collard, Richard Westbrook, and Marc Lieb, but was able to extend its advantage to three laps this afternoon.
The AF Corse Ferrari of Gianmaria Bruni, Mika Salo, Toni Vilander, and Jaime Melo completed the GT2 podium.
Results to follow