Maserati 1-2-3 in Magny Cours

Maserati have had the most successful weekend of their recent racing history by annexing the podium with the top three finishes in the FIA GT championship race at Magny Cours

Maserati 1-2-3 in Magny Cours

The Andrea Bertolini/Karl Wendlinger pairing headed home their stable mates, leading home Bartels and Scheider by just 4.7 seconds after three hours of racing, with Babini/Biagi a further half a minute behind.

Bertolini took the lead at the start, passing poleman Bouchut literally metres after the line at the rolling start. Babini found a way through Scheider five laps later into third, and so it remained for the opening stint of the race.

On lap 15 Bouchut was able to put his Ferrari back in front of Bertolini courtesy of traffic, with Babini following the Frenchman through and up into second, but the good work was undone just two laps later when Bouchut ran off and through the gravel trying to pass Ian Khan's Porsche, picking up a puncture and putting his car back a lap.

A safety car period on the hour to clear debris was the next time the lead changed - Bertolini and Schneider were in to switch drivers under yellow, but as the safety car came in so did Peters in the fourth Maserati, followed a lap later by Babini, with both men losing out in the process.

Bartels led from Wendlinger after the stops shook out, with the pair running nose to tail and neither man giving an inch but equally neither willing to risk a move that could put them both out.

Rusinov was back in the pits forty minutes later with a fuel problem, well out of schedule and losing him a lap from the lead while his stable mates sailed on unhindered.

Other than by each other - Wendlinger tried to overtake at last, with contact between the pair unsettling both, but Bartels managed to hold on until the pitstops on lap 70, when both cars came in together.

After driver changes, along with tyres and fuel, Bertolini came out ahead after Scheider was slightly delayed, and he managed to build up a lead through not having to spend the laps looking in his mirrors.

And so it was to remain: Bertolini had a worrying moment on lap 97 when he tripped through the gravel at Chateau d'Eau but kept the lead for a solid win, while four laps back the race long squabble between the Gruppe M Porsches was resolved with Collard and Sugden coming out on top.

FIA GT Championship, Magny Cours - Race Result:

 Pos Cl Drivers Make Time 1. 1 Bertolini/Wendlinger Maserati MC12 3:01:20.442 2. 1 Bartels/Scheider Maserati MC12 3:01:25.143 + 4.701 3. 1 Babini/Biagi Maserati MC12 3:01:56.481 + 36.039 4. 1 Longin/Kumpen/Hezemans Corvette C5R 3:02:47.900 + 87.458 5. 1 Lamy/Gardel Ferrari 550 3:01:27.980 + 2 Laps 6. 1 Bryner/Calderari/Zacchia Ferrari 550 3:02:22.024 + 2 Laps 7. 1 Peter/Buncombe/Rusinov Maserati MC12 3:01:53.525 + 3 Laps 8. 1 Bouchut/Fomenko/Vasiliev Ferrari 550 3:02:06.607 + 4 Laps 9. 2 Collard/Sugden Porsche 996 3:02:19.112 + 4 Laps 10. 2 Lieb/Rockenfeller Porsche 996 3:01:33.455 + 5 Laps 11. 1 Deletraz/Piccini Ferrari 575 3:01:36.585 + 5 Laps 12. 2 Kinch/Kirkaldy Ferrari 360 3:01:27.032 + 6 Laps 13. 2 Mullen/Niarcos Ferrari 360 3:02:05.497 + 6 Laps 14. 2 Jordan/Caine Porsche 996 3:02:43.441 + 7 Laps 15. 2 Tomlinson/Kane TVR T400R 3:02:43.950 + 7 Laps 16. 1 Almeras/Berville/Casoni Saleen S7 R 2:58:40.791 + 8 Laps 17. 1 Becker/Konrad Saleen S7 R 3:02:04.653 + 8 Laps 18. 2 Hughes/Pearce TVR T400R 3:02:34.693 + 8 Laps 19. 2 Jones/Jones Porsche 996 3:02:42.774 + 8 Laps 20. 2 Ried/Ried Porsche 996 3:02:39.470 + 9 Laps 21. 2 Vonka/Casadei Porsche 996 3:03:11.126 + 12 Laps 22. 1 Ruberti/Camathias Saleen S7 R 3:02:23.221 + 15 Laps 23. 2 Griffin/Hooker Vauxhall Monaro 3:03:14.499 + 18 Laps 24. 1 Kox/Simon Lamborghini 2:29:53.006 + 21 Laps Not Classified 2 Balfe/Derbyshire Mosler MT900R 2:25:47.934 D.N.F. 2 Bentwood/McKever/Wilson Nissan 350Z 1:17:51.115 D.N.F. 1 Lechner/Alzen Saleen S7 R 51:47.067 D.N.F. 2 Khan/Smith Porsche 996 28:16.230 D.N.F. 1 Stanco/Janus Saleen S7 R 7:09.966 D.N.F. 1 Keen/Halliday Lister Storm 13:34.012 D.N.F. Fastest Laps 1 Bertolini/Wendlinger Maserati MC12 1:38.826 2 Collard/Sugden Porsche 996 1:44.126 2 Balfe/Derbyshire Mosler MT900R 1:44.920 
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