Gardel's Ferrari 550 disqualified: the Title goes to Pirelli and Maserati

Sakhir, Bahrain, 26 November 2005 - The Ferrari 550 Maranello driven by Gabriele Gardel, which did not contain the regulation minimum of three litres of fuel in its tank at the end of the race, has been excluded from the final results of the last FIA-GT event at Sakhir. The disqualification brings with it the cancellation of the points earned by Gardel, so that the drivers' championship goes to Scheider-Bartels in the Pirelli P Zero Racing-shod Maserati MC12 of the Vitaphone Racing Team.

Officials examined the cars that finished the race extremely carefully and, after more than five hours, they sanctioned the exclusion of the Team Larbre Ferrari, which opened the road to the conquest of this much-merited drivers' title by Pirelli to add to the constructors' - thanks to Ma-serati - and the team championship won with Vitaphone Racing.

A further title won in Bahrain on which Paul Hembery, director of Pirelli Competizioni, congratulated the German drivers, saying, "Even though won through disqualification, this drivers' championship rewards Maserati's great technical effort and, obviously, that of Pirelli, throughout the entire gruelling season, which has seen our tyres win on the track seven times in 11 races in the face of extremely competitive adversaries, especially in the case of the Gardel Ferrari. This victory is a testimony to the effectiveness of our cars. It also underlines the fact that we have five crews on P Zero Racing in the first six places in the Sakhir race and they drove four different cars - Maserati, Corvette, Ferrari and Saleen - which should not be underestimated".

Happiness was firmly stamped on the face of Michael Bartels who, after hours of tension, was ex-tremely pleased with the result after the disqualification of the French team's Ferrari 550. "I would obviously have preferred to win on the track, but the officials' decision did nothing other than give us a result which we earned fully on the circuit. Now we wait with confidence for the outcome of the protest made by Team Larbre, but the respect for the sporting spirit shown by the FIA technicians enable me to be optimistic and to justly celebrate winning this important title for Pirelli as much as for Maserati and Vitaphone".

Race results, Sakhir FIA-GT, 2005:
1. Bouchut-Garcia (Aston Martin DBR9), 90 laps in 3h01'36''661;
2. Peter-Davies (Maserati MC12), +26''209
3. Longin-Kumpen-Hezemans (Corvette C5R), +1'33''423;
4. Scheider-Bartels (Maserati MC12), +1 lap;
5. Cioci-Montermini (Ferrari 575 GTC), +1 lap;
6. Lechner-Ruberti (Saleen S7-R), +2 laps.

For more information and pictures on Pirelli's motorsport activities visit: www.pirellicompetizioni.com