Ferrari Edges Maserati Pair at Monza

Pedro Lamy and Gabriele Gardel have taken a tight victory for Ferrari in the opening round of the FIA GT Championship, winning by less than a second at Monza

Ferrari Edges Maserati Pair at Monza

The Ferrari 550 Maranello pair finished just 0.921 seconds ahead of Michael Bartels and Timo Scheider in the Maserati MC12, who were themselves just half a second ahead of teammates Fabio Babini and Thomas Biagi.

Phillipe Peter led the pack from pole, ending the first lap 1.5 seconds ahead of Bartels, while Mike Rockenfeller claimed the GT2 lead from Tim Sugden. Peter controlled the lead of the race comfortably while Bartels, Christophe Bouchut, Babini and Andrea Bertolini had a fierce battle behind for second.

The first pitstops started on lap 26 when the Peter came with Maserati running in the first four positions. After the stops shook out Peter easily held onto the lead, ahead of a fast stopping Lamy and Bouchut, with the GT2 running order unchanged.

On lap 38 an unfortunate Bouchut slowed dramatically, eventually stopping on track with front suspension damage, changing the top three order to Maserati-Ferrari-Corvette, with the order unchanged as the second round of pitstops started on lap 47 when Peter handed over to co-driver Buncombe.

With all of the stops completed Buncombe reclaimed the lead on lap 61 from Bartels in the sister Maserati and Anthony Kumpen in the fast rising Corvette, while further back Emmanuel Collard had reclaimed the GT2 lead from Rockenfeller.

Six laps later Bartels claimed the lead as Buncombe pitted again while Melo's Ferrari was spun at the first chicane in a collision with Babini's Maserati before returning to the pits and retirement, prompting the stewards to announce an investigation into the incident.

With just fifty minutes remaining Bartels led by just three seconds from the Corvette of Kumpen, who was himself three seconds ahead of Babini, with Lamy a further 0.4 seconds behind in the Ferrari.

By lap 73 the leaders were nose to tail, with just 0.3 seconds between the Maserati and Corvette. Babini was brought into the pits three laps later for a drive through penalty, with the new leading trio separated by just over one second on track.

On lap 78 the Corvette suffered a heartbreaking engine problem, with smoke steaming out of the car as Kumpen limped back to the pits and retirement. Lamy moved up onto Bartels rear, and the pair ran side by side and swapped paint for a few laps before the Ferrari finally nosed ahead on lap 82.

Lamy pushed the lead out for a few laps, pulling as far out as three seconds ahead before Bartels pushed back. On the last lap there was little between the pair, while all of the laps scrapping between the pair allowed Babini to close up once again.

However, the ex-Formula One driver had enough in his pocket and claimed a hugely entertaining season opener for Larbre Competition ahead of the fast charging Maserati pair, while Rockenfeller claimed the GT2 win by two seconds over Collard.

2005 FIA GT Championship, Monza - Race Classification
Pos Cl Drivers Car Time Laps Gap 1. GT1 Lamy/Gardel Ferrari 550 Maranello 2:40:30.881 87 2. GT1 Bartels/Scheider Maserati MC12 GT1 2:40:31.802 87 + 0.921 3. GT1 Babini/Biagi Maserati MC12 GT1 2:40:32.337 87 + 1.456 4. GT1 Peter/Buncombe/Rusinov Maserati MC12 GT1 2:40:41.479 86 + 1 lap 5. GT1 Bertolini/Wendlinger Maserati MC12 GT1 2:40:35.993 84 + 3 laps 6. GT1 Bryner/Calderari/Zacchia Ferrari 550 Maranello 2:40:53.555 84 + 3 laps 7. GT2 Lieb/Rockenfeller Porsche 996 GT3 RSR 2:41:41.849 84 + 3 laps 8. GT2 Collard/Sugden Porsche 996 GT3 RSR 2:41:43.931 84 + 3 laps 9. GT1 Keen/Halliday Lister Storm GT 2:41:56.659 83 + 4 laps 10. GT1 Ruberti/Camathias Saleen S7 R 2:40:50.335 82 + 5 laps 11. GT2 Moccia/Busnelli Porsche 996 GT3 RSR 2:41:16.977 82 + 5 laps 12. GT1 Stanco/Janus Saleen S7 R 2:42:43.097 80 + 7 laps 13. GT2 Racz/Venc Porsche 996 GT3 RS 2:41:19.868 79 + 8 laps 14. GT1 Longin/Kumpen/Hezemans Corvette C5R 2:24:23.492 78 + 9 laps 15. GT1 Pickering/Haupt Saleen S7 R 2:39:49.725 78 + 9 laps 16. GT2 Kaufmann/Jurasz Porsche 996 GT3 RS 2:41:53.149 77 +10 laps 17. GT1 Verdon-Roe/Becker Saleen S7 R 2:13:38.543 70 +17 laps 18. GT2 Ried/Ried Porsche 996 GT3 RS 2:41:11.687 68 +19 laps 19. GT1 Melo/Belloc Ferrari 575 Maranello 2:07:35.315 67 +20 laps Not Classified G2 Balfe/Derbyshire Mosler MT900R 2:42:24.389 59 N.C.F. GT2 Castro/Premoli/Barbaro Porsche 996 GT3 RSR 1:50:01.392 53 D.N.F. GT2 Vonka/Amaduzzi Porsche 996 GT3 RS 1:24:05.449 40 D.N.F. GT1 Bouchut/Fomenko/Vasiliev Ferrari 550 Maranello 1:08:21.930 37 D.N.F. GT1 Deletraz/Piccini Ferrari 575 Maranello 1:21:18.166 37 D.N.F. GT1 Lechner/Konrad Saleen S7 R 1:00:19.876 32 D.N.F. GT1 Kox/Simon Lamborghini Murcielago 57:19.811 28 D.N.F. GT2 MacHanek/Studenic Porsche 996 GT3 RSR 47:13.605 24 D.N.F. GT2 Panzavuota/Taylor/Hauraney Porsche 996 GT3 RSR 46:37.814 23 D.N.F. Fastest Lap GT1 Babini/Biagi Maserati MC12 GT1 1:46.077 6 GT2 Collard/Sugden Porsche 996 GT3 RSR 1:51.541 58 G2 Balfe/Derbyshire Mosler MT900R 1:55.142 9
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