Vitaphone Maserati drivers Andrea Bertolini and Michael Bartels won the main event at the Algarve circuit to increase their lead at the head of the FIA GT1 World Championship.
The winning Maserati took the lead during the mandatory pit stops in the middle of the one-hour championship race and Bartels hung on to claim the victory from a hard-charging Richard Westbrook in the best of the Matech Fords. The Briton reduced a nine-second deficit to just under one and a half seconds in the space of 12 laps.
Bertolini paid tribute to the Vitaphone mechanics for turning the car around so quickly at its pit stops.
"The crew did an unbelievable job," said the Italian. "50 percent of this victory is down to them."
Westbrook and teammate Thomas Mutsch came close to achieving an incredible turnaround after the latter qualified second to last. After charging to fifth in the qualifying race yesterday, Mutsch completed the opening stint in the same place and then Westbrook, who rejoined in third, passed Alex Margaritis and then "threw caution to the wind" as he chased down Bartels.
"We had to get our heads down, stay clean and really attack," said Westbrook. "If the race had been a lap or two longer, it could have been different."
Margaritis and Marc Hennerici claimed third place in their Phoenix Chevrolet Corvette ahead of Peter Dumbreck and Michael Krumm's Sumo Power Nissan. Dumbreck led the first half of the race from pole position but a malfunctioning wheel gun during the car's pit stop resulted in a 16-second delay.
Bertolini and Bartels lead the championship with three events to go on 122 points. Mutsch trails on 95 points, 15 ahead of Hennerici.
Pos Drivers Car Time/Gap
1. Bertolini/Bartels Maserati 1h00m19.722s
2. Mutsch/Westbrook Ford + 1.402s
3. Hennerici/Margaritis Corvette + 15.482s
4. Dumbreck/Krumm Nissan + 24.623s
5. Martin/Leinders Ford + 31.945s
6. Makowiecki/Clairay Aston Martin + 32.483s
7. Kox/Haase Lamborghini + 32.850s
8. Kechele/Menten Lamborghini + 34.845s
9. Heger/Müller Maserati + 41.948s
10. Turner/Enge Aston Martin + 43.495s
11. Mücke/Lamy Aston Martin + 44.434s
12. Prost/Jani Ford + 46.306s
13. Hirschi/Piccione Aston Martin + 47.565s
14. Jousse/Maassen Corvette + 54.916s
15. Palttala/Kuppens Ford + 1m10.419s
16. Cazenave/Kuismanen Corvette + 1 lap
Bouchut/Basseng Lamborghini 32 laps
Ara/Nilsson Nissan 32 laps
Mayr-Melnhof/Pier Guidi Maserati 32 laps
Wendlinger/Moser Nissan 31 laps
Pastorelli/Schwager Lamborghini 13 laps
Campbell-Walter/Hughes Nissan 1 lap
Bernoldi/Ramos Maserati 0 laps