Sports Car Challenge - Rounds 12 & 13, Monza
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
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
– Round 12
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
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.
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.
– 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.