Maserati Dominate GT Monza Qualifying

Having only confirmed their entry to the 2005 FIA GT Championship last month, Maserati began the season in style, dominating both qualifying sessions in Monza, ahead of the first round of the season

Maserati Dominate GT Monza Qualifying

The day also saw Austrian Philippe Peter claim his first GT pole position, after opting to run his first qualifying fast lap in the opening minutes of the morning session - a decision that proved wise, as soon after rain began to fall, and only became stronger in the afternoon session. Peter's fastest time from the morning became, therefore, the overall fastest lap of both sessions.

"It's my first pole position in the FIA GT and I am pretty happy," Peter said. "The programme for the car came together very late. Maserati has given us a car which has been great from the beginning. There was no shake-down for the car before we got here, so it's quite a surprise."

Peter will share his number 16 MC12 with Briton Chris Buncombe and Russian Roman Rusinov. And, alongside the JMB trio on pole starts another MC12 - the Vitaphone duo of Michael Bartels, of Germany, and Timo Scheider, of Austria.

"I am very happy with second position," Bartels commented. "We are on the right way, and in these conditions anything can happen. I think it is quite a good base for the race tomorrow."

But not all went smoothly for Maserati today. The second car of JMB Racing, shared by Andrea Bertolini and Karl Wendlinger, suffered malfunction in the traction control system in the morning, but it did not stop Bertolini from setting the fourth fastest time, which places him and Wendlinger, on the second row.

More problems hampered the pairing of Fabio Babini and Thomas Biagi, in the second Vitaphone Maserati, as they suffered from electric problems in morning practice. Neverthesss, the pair were quickest in the second qualifying session, and ended sixth fastest overall.

In the GT2 class, Tim Sugden claimed pole position in the Porsche 996 GT3 RSR that he shares with Frenchman Emmanuel Collard.

"It is still very early days, but getting pole is great," Sugden said. "Obviously, in a three-hour race it doesn't really matter where we are, but we are very happy."

Perhaps the most surprising result of the day came from Balfe Motorsport, who make their first appearence in the FIA GT. The Molser MT400, entered by Balfe, managed to qualify in third in the GT2 class, right behind the Gruppe M Porsche.

"We're incredibly pleased to be in this position in only our first qualifying performance," said Shaun Balfe later. "We are definitely making progress. We realised at the test day how much hard work we have to put in, so third place is a nice reward. My goal is to see the end of the race after the three hours, but I think the weather will be very difficult."

 Pos GT Drivers Car Best Time* Laps** 1. 1 Peter/Buncombe/Rusinov Maserati MC12 GT1 1:45.699 28 2. 1 Bartels/Scheider Maserati MC12 GT1 1:45.807 20 3. 1 Bouchut/Fomenko/Vasiliev Ferrari 550 Maranello 1:45.881 23 4. 1 Bertolini/Wendlinger Maserati MC12 GT1 1:46.041 24 5. 1 Lamy/Gardel Ferrari 550 Maranello 1:46.372 22 6. 1 Babini/Biagi Maserati MC12 GT1 1:46.467 29 7. 1 Kox/Simon Lamborghini Murcielago 1:46.905 26 8. 1 Longin/Kumpen/Hezemans Corvette C5R 1:47.800 28 9. 1 Melo/Belloc Ferrari 575 Maranello 1:48.022 20 10. 1 Ruberti/Camathias Saleen S7 R 1:48.307 22 11. 1 Lechner Jr/Lechner/Konrad Saleen S7 R 1:48.416 23 12. 1 Bryner/Calderari/Zacchia Ferrari 550 Maranello 1:48.570 22 13. 1 Deletraz/Piccini Ferrari 575 Maranello 1:49.143 30 14. 1 Verdon-Roe/Becker Saleen S7 R 1:50.356 17 15. 1 Keen/Halliday Lister Storm GT 1:50.815 29 16. 2 Collard/Sugden Porsche 996 GT3 RSR 1:51.412 19 17. 2 Lieb/Rockenfeller Porsche 996 GT3 RSR 1:51.731 14 18. 2 Balfe/Derbyshire Mosler MT900R 1:53.775 18 19. 1 Stanco/Janus Saleen S7 R 1:53.788 26 20. 2 Moccia/Busnelli Porsche 996 GT3 RSR 1:53.882 29 21. 2 Kaufmann/Jurasz Porsche 996 GT3 RS 1:54.141 28 22. 1 Pickering/Haupt Saleen S7 R 1:54.466 18 23. 2 MacHanek/Studenic Porsche 996 GT3 RSR 1:54.553 20 24. 2 Racz/Venc Porsche 996 GT3 RS 1:56.307 16 25. 2 Castro/Premoli/Barbaro Porsche 996 GT3 RSR 1:57.056 32 26. 2 Ried/Ried Porsche 996 GT3 RS 1:58.618 13 27. 2 Panzavuota/Taylor/Hauraney Porsche 996 GT3 RSR 1:59.179 12 28. 2 Vonka/Amaduzzi Porsche 996 GT3 RS 2:01.214 11 * Best qualifying time from both qualifying sessions ** Combined total laps run in first and second qualifying sessions 
ALMS and ACO: 'A Strong Marriage'
Previous article

ALMS and ACO: 'A Strong Marriage'

Next article

Ferrari Edges Maserati Pair at Monza

Ferrari Edges Maserati Pair at Monza
How to get the best out of amateur racers Plus

How to get the best out of amateur racers

Pro-Am GT racing is booming. But how should drivers approach working with an amateur? Autosport sought out a panel of experts to explain the pitfalls amateur drivers should avoid and how professionals can help them to achieve their goals

Apr 3, 2022
The remarkable career of a 'classy' champion who rejected politics Plus

The remarkable career of a 'classy' champion who rejected politics

Over two decades as a factory driver with Audi and BMW, Martin Tomczyk earned the respect of team-mates and rivals as a hard but fair racer. After calling time on his racing career, the 2011 DTM champion sat down with Autosport to look back

Mar 5, 2022
The ex-IndyCar racer in "uncharted territory" of British GT team ownership Plus

The ex-IndyCar racer in "uncharted territory" of British GT team ownership

This weekend’s British GT finale will be a tense title showdown for some but, for those not in the championship fight, it’s a chance to end a challenging year on a high. In the latter camp is Paddock Motorsport's team owner Martin Plowman, whose 2021 season has been a rollercoaster ride of non-stop learning

Oct 15, 2021
The unpopular BMW stalwart built for the big occasion Plus

The unpopular BMW stalwart built for the big occasion

It has won most of the big prizes in endurance racing across its six years in service, but the BMW M6 GT3's key weaknesses meant only a devoted few teams persisted with running it. As it prepares to bow out at season's end, the teams and drivers involved in its story share the secrets of an unpopular winner

Oct 7, 2021
The unwanted GT car that changed sportscar racing forever Plus

The unwanted GT car that changed sportscar racing forever

Had FIA GT boss Stephane Ratel had his way, the Maserati MC12 would never have been allowed to set foot in his series. It duly proved the class of the field that most had expected, but the Balance of Performance that its superiority spawned would keep GT1 battles tight and bring long-term benefits that sportscar racing enjoys today

Sep 21, 2021
Why Britain's greatest sportscar was eclipsed on the world stage Plus

Why Britain's greatest sportscar was eclipsed on the world stage

The E-Type may be the most famous of all road-going Jaguars, but that didn't always translate into success on the track. After winning on its competition debut in 1961, motorsport success seemed an inevitability, but things didn’t turn out to be quite that straightforward

Aug 6, 2021
Why the Jaguar E-type remains special at 60 Plus

Why the Jaguar E-type remains special at 60

It’s 60 years since the Jaguar E-type arrived and caused a sensation. As our resident racer Ben Anderson discovered when he got behind the wheel of two special racing versions at Brands Hatch, the thrill of driving them hasn't diminished over time

Jul 31, 2021
The rise of a GT squad responsible for a unique 24-hour racing feat Plus

The rise of a GT squad responsible for a unique 24-hour racing feat

It's a significant achievement to win one 24-hour race in a year, let alone two, and with different manufacturers, but that's exactly what ROWE Racing did in 2020 at the Nurburgring and Spa. This weekend's German classic offers the DTM newcomer a chance of another unique double to add to its growing collection of accolades

Jun 3, 2021