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Vitaphone wins title, Hexis wins race

Andrea Bertolini and Michael Bartels celebrate the GT1 titleVitaphone Maserati drivers Andrea Bertolini and Michael Bartels wrapped up the inaugural FIA GT1 World Championship after the qualification race at San Luis, which was won by Hexis Aston Martin's Yann Clairay and Frederic Makowiecki.

Bertolini and Bartels finished outside the points in 12th position in Argentina after dropping back following contact with Christopher Haase's Reiter Lamborghini, but their only rivals for the championship, Darren Turner and Tomas Enge from Young Driver Aston Martin, also failed to add to their score as they could only come through to 10th from their disappointing 17th on the grid.

That means the Vitaphone pair remain 28 points in the lead with only 25 available from this afternoon's championship race.

The winning Hexis car jumped into the lead with Clairay at the start and survived a first-corner hit from pole starter Stefan Mucke (Young Driver Aston).

Clairay led until mandatory pitstops in the middle of the one-hour race and then a quick turn-around by the French Hexis squad got Makowiecki out with a lead of nearly eight seconds.

Makowiecki said: "It was important for Hexis to take some points to try to take second place in the teams' championship. It was difficult because it is so easy to make a mistake here. I tried to keep a good rhythm and to maintain the gap."

Richard Westbrook and Thomas Mutsch came through to a distant second in their Matech Ford, despite lining up only 10th on the grid. Mutsch benefited from the first-corner incident to move up to third by the end of lap two and then Westbrook had to fight his way past two cars after the team lost vital seconds in the pits.

Maxime Martin and Bas Leinders finished third, less than half a second behind the Matech car, in their Marc VDS Ford. Fourth place went to the second Hexis Aston driven by Jonathan Hirschi and Clivio Piccione, which had spun amid the first corner mayhem, then briefly got back up to second thanks to a rapid pitstop, before being pushed again in the fraught battle for the podium places.

Pos  Drivers                 Car              Time/Gap
 1.  Makowiecki/Clairay      Aston Martin   57m35.613s
 2.  Westbrook/Mutsch        Ford            + 13.029s
 3.  Martin/Leinders         Ford            + 13.477s
 4.  Piccione/Hirschi        Aston Martin    + 22.205s
 5.  Kechele/Jimenez         Lamborghini     + 26.195s
 6.  Dumbreck/Krumm          Nissan          + 28.206s
 7.  Wendlinger/Moser        Nissan          + 29.587s
 8.  Pier Guidi/Verdonck     Maserati        + 31.065s
 9.  Pastorelli/Schwager     Lamborghini     + 34.182s
10.  Turner/Enge             Aston Martin    + 35.849s
11.  Muller/Heger            Maserati        + 42.835s
12.  Bertolini/Bartels       Maserati        + 43.383s
13.  Campbell-Walter/Hughes  Nissan          + 45.326s
14.  Risatti/Basseng         Lamborghini     + 49.560s
15.  Palttala/Bobbi          Ford            + 50.247s
16.  Bernoldi/Ramos          Maserati        + 52.989s
17.  Jani/Armindo            Ford          + 2m06.747s


     Hennerici/Margaritis    Corvette      19 laps
     Kox/Haase               Lamborghini   1 lap
     Mucke/Lopez             Aston Martin  0 laps
     Ara/Nilsson             Nissan        0 laps
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