Italian Prototype Championship – Magione – May 2
For the only time this year the two major Italian Championships were together at the same track and we could compare the sportscars to the GTs.

The pole for the CIP race was almost three seconds faster than the GT pole, even though the prototypes run Avons and the GTs use superior Pirellis. An impressive 32 cars on the entry list and on a short track like Magione this meant that the first 20 cars in the qualifying are automatically in the race, the rest having to run a qualifying race on Saturday afternoon – to provide a 26 car grid for Suday.

The pole went to newcomer Davide Uboldi (ex F3) in last year’s Lucchini-BMW of the reigning champion Filippo Francioni (who will be on the grid in his new CN2 machine at the next round), followed by the Adria winner Denny Zardo and another newcomer, Daniele Maurizi in his old ’96 Lucchini Alfa Romeo.

The race turned out to be another win for Zardo, in front of Maurizi and Uboldi, so the quick newcomers had a fantastic weekend!

At the start Uboldi maintained P1 in front of Zardo, Serafini, Maurizi, Francisci and Margelli. On lap 6 Zardo managed to pass Uboldi for the lead and after that eased away from the group, but soon the safety car appeared due to a car stuck in the sand, packing the group together - but no problem for Zardo (in teamroller mode like Francioni last year) who flew away from a very clever Serafini (making up a place on Uboldi)…. Until Serafini then touched the Osella of Zardo and spun off into the sand, race over.

So an open road for Zardo because Uboldi he couldn’t keep in touch, and was anyway fending off the next group - Francisci and Merendino, followed by a very ‘hot’ Francia in his CN2 car.

It was an easy win for Zardo, front of Maurizi, Uboldi, Francisci and Merendino. There were very few retirements for technical reasons, an unusual feature in this championship.

In the CN2 category it was another win for Francia in his Osella-Honda (sixth overall), in CN3 another win for Manfrè Lucchini’s ’96-AR and in the SR2 class (struggling on the twisty track) a win for Solieri’s Lucchini-AR.

Next stop Pergusa on May 30… but expect the lowest grid of the year owing to the distance from the heartland of Italian prototype racing.
Gabriele Tosi


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