Sports Car Challenge - Rounds 12 & 13, Monza
October 4-5
Lucky Win For Pedrazza & URD, And....

The first of two races at the Autodromo Nazionale di Monza brought the fourth win of the season for Austrian Emanuel Pedrazza, driving a URD-BMW. It happened at the expense of Marcel Steiner, who dominated the proceedings with a strong performance throughout the race - until his Martini Mk.77 let him down on the last lap. Steiner’s direct rival for the championship, Germany’s Alexander Seibold, benefited from his Swiss competitor’s mishap and clinched not only second place in the race but also the points lead in the "big division“. The victory rostrum was completed by Swiss lady driver Sabrina Hungerbühler with her best overall result to date, driving a BMW-powered Osella for Krisam Motorsport.

The winner of round eleven, German PRC driver Gerd Beisel, was on pole position in a field of over thirty cars for this joint race of the Sports Car Challenge and the Interserie (yes it still exists). He got as far as the first chicane where he collided with an Interserie competitor and had to let the whole field go by before he could rejoin the race.

dailysportscar.comThis handed Emanuel Pedrazza the lead (right); his URD closely followed by the red white and blue Martini of Steiner, and Seibold’s PRC. The latter two are direct rivals for the title.

Fourth place was closely contested between PRC works driver Pierre-André Meroz, and veteran Italian sportscar racer Ranieri Randaccio with the unique Tampolli LMP675. Meroz eventually retired from the race when his gearbox lost all forward gears but one; Randaccio later also dropped out with a drivetrain malfunction, possibly due to the Nicholson 3.3l V8 engine’s greater power (450bhp compared to around 380bhp for the URD). This handed fourth place to Hungerbühler. Meanwhile at the head of the field, Steiner had shadowed Pedrazza for a couple of laps, and overtook him on lap five. He then led comfortably until on the very last lap, a drive shaft broke. Understandably, the luckless Steiner was gutted. This handed Pedrazza the race win, a mere six seconds in front of Seibold.

The ten car Lights category saw a breathtaking dice between Wolfgang Payr, who has already secured the title in this class, and fellow Austrian, Argo driver Wolfgang Dietmann who was a secure second in the Lights points standings. Dietmann led throughout the first half of the race; but Payr led when it mattered, and, in sixth overall, not only scored the class win but also took the lead in the overall points battle. Third in class behind Dietmann went to another Austrian, hillclimb specialist and international man of mystery, "Tessitore“ a.k.a. Erich Weber who took his second podium result in as many circuit races.

Result – Round 12
1: Emanuel Pedrazza (A), URD-BMW, 9 laps in 17:32.513
2: Alexander Seibold (D), PRC-BMW, -5.432s
3: Sabrina Hungerbühler (CH), Osella-BMW, -17.137s
4: Burkhard „Burli“ Stricker (CH), PRC-BMW, -1:04,457
5: Josef Pfyl (CH), Martini-BMW, -1:16.640
6: Wolfgang Payr (A), PRC-Opel (1.Lights) -1:24.637

Round 13 was also Emanuel Pedrazza’s last outing in the URD. For the final race of 2003, the son of racecar constructor Walter Pedrazza will wheel out the extra-special 2.5l V6 Opel ITC-engined PRC. But here, he scored his fifth win of the season with the trusty URD of Mercedes DTM designer Ernst Ungar. This time, the former series winner was largely unchallenged.

From the start, Alexander Seibold and Sabrina Hungerbühler fought it out for second place; Hungerbühler eventually managed to go one better than in the race before (below), and finish in second. The young Swiss lady’s first overall win seems to be only a matter of time.

Half way through the race, she defended this second place against Gerd Beisel, who had worked his way up from nowhere, only to go flying off the track again. And on the penultimate lap... - how often have we had to use the phrase "the unfortunate Marcel Steiner was again let down by his car“ this year? This time, after a chase through the field – this was again a joint SCC and Interserie race - brought him from twelfth on the grid to within striking distance of Hungerbühler in second place, but "the unfortunate Marcel Steiner was once again let down by his car“ when the brakes failed on the Martini, and his race ended in the gravel in the Variante Ascari.

Alexander Seibold’s third place once again gave him a 1.5 points lead over Steiner, and the race for the title in the big division, as well as for the overall crown, is still wide open.

The Lights class was again won by Payr (above), a mere 2.6 seconds in front of his old adversary Dietmann. Erich "Tessitore“ Weber only just managed to hang on to third from the hard-charging Ivan Haberkorn. Ranieri Randaccio brought his Tampolli LMP675 over the line this time, but finished outside the points scoring positions. The Sports Car Challenge may be seeing more of him next year.

Result – Round 13
1: Emanuel Pedrazza (A), URD-BMW, 9 laps in 16:49.766
2: Sabrina Hungerbühler (CH), Osella-BMW, -8.234s
3: Alexander Seibold (D), PRC-BMW, -12.156s
4: Burkhard „Burli“ Stricker (CH), PRC-BMW, -43.692s
5: Pierre-Andre-Meroz (CH), PRC-BMW -47.851s
6: Josef Pfyl (CH), Martini-BMW, -54.780s.


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