Back in 2008
Back in 2008: 24 Hour of Spa, a Maserati one-two!
The Bertolini/Bartels/Van de Poele/Sarrazin crew cruised to victory in the 24 Hour of Spa to cross the line ahead of their team mates Ramos/Negraõ/Pier Guidi/Lemeret. The two MC12s fielded by the German outfit took command just as the six hour mark came up, the first of the three stages where championship points are awarded. Before that, the race had not been an easy one but the Maserati pace left the sensation that a night time attack was on the cards. The light but troublesome rain would have disrupted these plans as the weather prevented the drivers from mounting wets but made the cars hard to control on slicks.
But courtesy of a spot on strategy of a splash&go for Bertolini, and a refuel and tyre change for Negraõ, the Bertolini/Bartels crew, ably assisted by Stephane Sarrazin and Eric Van de Poele, managed to take the lead and extend their advantage in the Drivers standings. The MC12 crew also benefited from the retirement of Wendlinger/Sharp/Muller/Lichtner and the problems suffered by Deletraz/Hezemans/Gollin/Fassler.
This part of the race was significant and, thanks to the skill of its drivers, the number 1 MC12 built a big lead over the pack, tracked all the way by its twin car with which it had a close duel. From the ninth to the eighteenth hour, the two cars swapped the lead. All the while, the JMB Racing MC12 climbed to fourth thanks to Aucott/Ferte/Daoudi steady drive.
The tense struggle between the two leading Maseratis would have continued to excite the public had the number 2 MC12 not been forced into an unexpected pit stop. Up until that point, the duel had been a close one.