Maserati and Pirelli assault on the FIA-GT drivers' title in Bahrain

Sakhir, 24 November 2005 - With three MC12s in the first four places, Maserati and Pirelli prepared well for the finale of the FIA-GT Championship, to take place tomorrow at the Sakhir circuit on the outskirts of Manama, Bahrain. In fact, with the Modena manufacturer's six pilots battling for the drivers' title, the second fastest time of the current leaders, Berto-lini-Wendlinger, is certainly encouraging in elation to the start of the decisive three-hour race. Behind the Aston Martin of Garcia-Bouchut, the P Zero Racing-fitted MC12s of Berto-lini-Wendlinger, Peter-Davies and Babini-Biagi displayed notable competitiveness, helped by the Maseratis' perceptible 20 kg reduction in ballast for this last race of the season. Gabriele Gardel, the only Ferrari competitor, qualified fifth and will start next to the fourth Maserati MC12 of Scheider-Bartels. Andrea Bertolini, who will start from the front row of the grid tomorrow, observed, "The re-duced amount of ballast certainly had a decisive influence on the driveability and perform-ance of the MC12. I have not been able to obtain such a good result in qualifying since last summer at Spa, and the lower weight enable us to exploit the Pirelli tyres, which performed well on such a difficult circuit. I am, without doubt, confident about tomorrow, in part be-cause we took advantage of testing to find an ideal race set-up for our Maserati". Jamie Davies was obviously pleased with his third fastest time despite the "rust" - he had not raced since the 1000 Km of the Nurburgring in early September - and will drive the sec-ond JMB Racing MC12 with Philipp Peter. He said, "I am sure I can go for a good placing, which will be useful in watching the backs of my team mates, who are fighting it out for the drivers' title. It certainly will not be a simple task, especially because I do not know the track, but with only 10 kg of ballast I am aiming for a good result, which will enable me to pay back Pirelli and Maserati for offering me the opportunity of racing here at Sakhir". Pierluigi De Cancellis, Circuit Manager of Pirelli Competizioni, underlined the optimum re-sults of the Maseratis on their P Zero Racing and explained, "It is certain that, with eight cars on Pirelli in the first ten places, I am optimistic about tomorrow's race, for which we have brought compounds and structures that have been well tried and tested in previous races. Reducing the Maseratis' ballast proved to be an immediate advantage, as the times of Babini and Bertolini confirm, despite still having to carry an extra 80 and 70 kg respectively. I also consider the sixth fastest time of Scheider encouraging, especially as he was burdened with more than a 100 kg of lead bolted onto his Maserati number 9". Qualifying in Sakhir, 11th FIA-GT race 2005: 1. Bouchut-Garcia (Aston Martin DBR9) in 1'.54"184; 2. Bertolini-Wendlinger (Maserati MC12) +0"112; 3. Davies-Peter (Maserati MC12) +0"381; 4. Babini-Biagi (Maserati MC12) +0"685; 5. Lamy-Gardel (Ferrari 550 Maranello) +1''168; For more information and pictures on Pirelli's motorsport activities visit: www.pirellicompetizioni.com