Spa-Francorchamps, 30 July 2006- Precisely a year after the
magnificent triumph of the Vitaphone Racing Maserati MC12, Pirelli
has once again won the most important GT category race of the
season, the 24 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps. The same car that won a
year ago repeated its success in 2006 at the end of one of the most
closely fought and gruelling Belgian marathons. The Italian
two-seater crewed by Bertolini-Van de Poele-Bartels fought a
strenuous battle with the Aston Martin of
Piccini-Lemeret-Faessler-Deletraz, which was in the lead until a
few laps from the end.

At the heart of the outstanding victory of the Maserati-Pirelli duo
at Spa this year was, without doubt, the superlative performance of
Eric Van de Poele, who drove a classic race finale, together with
the excellent strategy of engineer Giorgio Ascanelli of Maserati
Corse and the extremely high performance of the car’s P Zero Racing
tires. Equally worthy of note was the 1-2 achieved in the GT2
category by the Ferrari 430 GTCs of AF Corse, driven by
Salo-Scheider-Aguas and Melo-Ortelli-Bobbi, who dominated the scene
on their P Zero Racings produced by the Milan tyre manufacturer:
the Ferraris also came sixth and seventh overall.

In reality the 58th 24 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps, concluded today
among the Ardennes Mountains, did not begin too well for Pirelli,
who lost its second Maserati MC12 driven by Davies-Biagi-Vosse in
the early stages due to a technical problem, when the car was
fighting for the lead. But Davies did set the fastest lap of the
race on the second of the event’s 564 laps, another confirmation of
the efficiency of the Maserati on its P Zero Racings. Aston
Martin-Pirelli number 23 was severely delayed in the early stages
with brake problems. The crew then put everything it had into
climbing back up the field from 16th to 4th place. Eric Van de
Poele, who played such a decisive role in the Pirelli-Maserati
victory at Spa, was obviously extremely happy with the result he
had helped to achieve. He said, “Much of this success was due to
the perfect race tactics worked out by engineer Giorgio Ascanelli
of Maserati Corse. The contribution of the P Zero Racing tires was
equally decisive and they enabled us to make the difference during
the exciting closing stages of an endurance race driven at the
speeds of Formula One”.

As tired and enthusiastic as Van de Poele was Pierluigi De
Cancellis, Circuit Manager of Pirelli Competizioni. The Milanese
engineer underlined the excellent endurance of the P Zero Racings
on the Maseratis and Aston Martins in the case of both the variants
of the medium tread compound, which were decidedly effective and
constant in their yield. He said, “We are also very pleased with
the performance of the Ferrari 430 GTCs, which dominated the GT2
class on their medium compound P Zero Racings. The results obtained
in both GT1 and GT2 are confirmation of the excellent qualitative
standards of Pirelli tires”.

24 Hours of Spa (B) – Final results of the 2006 FIA-GT
Championship fourth round:

1. Bertolini-Bartels (Maserati MC12), 589 laps in 24h
01’39”542
4. Babini-Pescatori-Kox-Enge (Aston Martin DBR9), +10 laps
6. Salo-Aguas-Scheider (Ferrari 430 GTC), +27 laps (1.
GT2).

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