Enrique Bernoldi and Roberto Streit claimed a maiden FIA GT Championship victory with a dominant performance at Paul Ricard.
The Brazilian pairing dominated the two-hour race aboard their DKR-run Team Brazil Chevrolet Corvette C6.R. They ended up 15 seconds ahead of the best of the Vitaphone Maserati MC12s, driven by Alex Muller and Miguel Ramos.
Bernoldi had been forced to start from sixth on the grid despite topping qualifying after receiving a penalty for avoidable contact in free practice. He needed just nine laps to catch Muller and a further three to take a lead he was able to extend to more than four seconds by the time he handed over to his teammate.
Streit emerged with a 12-second lead after the first round of pit stops was complete and edged away from Ramos over the course of the middle stint. Bernoldi rejoined with 20 seconds in hand over the Maserati and was able to control the race to the checkered flag.
"It wasn't as easy as it looked," said Bernoldi. "Our strategy meant we changed tires at both pit stops, so we had to always push hard."
Muller and Ramos were content with second behind the Team Brazil Chevy.
"Second is like winning the race; we can't fight with the Corvette at this circuit," said Ramos.
Third place went to the SRT Chevrolet Corvette driven by James Ruffier and Bert Longin after the second Maserati, driven by Alessandro Pier Guidi and Matteo Bobbi, had to make an unscheduled pit stop for a top-up of fuel in the closing stages.
The AF Corse Ferrari team dominated the GT2 class. Gianmaria Bruni and Toni Vilander, who were driving a heavily-revised 430 GT, left the ProSpeed Porsche of championship rivals Emmanuel Collard and Richard Westbrook trailing 40 seconds in their wake at the finish.
Pos Driver Car Time/Gap 1. Enrique Bernoldi/Roberto Streit Chevrolet 2h00m27.312s 2. Miguel Ramos/Alex Muller Maserati +15.512 3. Bert Longin/James Ruffier Chevrolet +16.820 4. Xavier Maassen/Thomas Biagi Chevrolet +25.620 5. Michael Bartels/Andrea Bertolini Maserati +55.004 6. Alex Pier Guidi/Matteo Bobbi Maserati +1:08.092 7. Ange Barde/Olivier Panis Ferrari +2 laps 8. Thomas Mutsch/Henri Moser Ford +2 laps 9. Toni Vilander/Gianmaria Bruni Ferrari +2 laps10. Emmanuel Collard/Richard Westbrook Porsche +2 laps11. Alvaro Barba/Niki Cadei Ferrari +2 laps12. Luiz Perez Companc/Matias Russo Ferrari +2 laps13. Chris Niarchos/Tim Mullen Ferrari +2 laps14. Bas Leinders/Renaud Kuppens Ford +2 laps15. Luigi Lucchini/Martin Ragginger Porsche +3 laps16. Matteo Malucelli/Paolo Ruberti Ferrari +3 laps17. Andrew Kirkaldy/Robert Bell Ferrari +3 laps18. Sascha Maassen/David Ashburn Porsche +3 laps19. Darryl O'Young/Marco Holzer Porsche +4 lapsRetirements Ettore Bonaldi/Diego Romanini Ferrari 45 laps Mike Hezemans/Anthony Kumpen Chevrolet 40 laps