Italian GTs – Mugello – May 15 / 16 - Race 1
To The Lister, Just

In qualifying, just as at Magione, it was one pole each for the Lister and Ferrari 550, while the most interesting news is that both of the black DR Vipers were sent to the back of the grid owing to a technical infringement (weight of the wing?) – joined there by the 550 as well as the RSR of Moccia / Groppi. In N-GT, it was one pole for Chiesa / Kessel and the other for the fast improving 360 GTC of Francescon-Berton.

In the glorious Tuscany hills, in splendid sunshine, the first race started with 21 cars on the grid, and Lancellotti had a lightning start in front of Scassellati and the two, white Racing Box Vipers of Matteuzzi and Baso, then fifth overall, Riccitelli passed Chiesa then Francescon and Drudi. Back at the back, the DR Vipers were charging very fast, and on only lap 3, Spinelli was already behind Chiesa, and passed the 360 on the main straight.

In the lead battle Scassellati tried several times to pass Lancellotti without success.

At the 15 minute mark, the RSR of Galimberti entered in the pits (vibrations on the front of the car, failed to solve the problem). At laps 8 there were dramas in the Casanova Savelli curve: Drudi and Francescon tangled, and both were stuck in the gravel and out of the race, despite trying everything to exit through the sand.

On lap 10 the two black Vipers were circulating together with Bonaldi able to pass Spinelli. Behind them, the 550 of Casè was a little way back.

Things then calmed down until the pit-stops. In the GT3 class it appeared that the development work on the Maserati Light (special thanks to Bertolini) has paid off, the car passing the GT3 Cup version, both in times and on the track. The interesting thing is that the rear wing of the Maserati Light is absolutely the same as the 360 GTC.

When the pit stops began, both the first and second placed cars in N-GT stopped at the same moment, Piccini (RSR) and Kessel (360) exiting nose to tail. At 37 minutes the Spanish Corvette was parked, a transmission problem eliminating it.

There weren’t many changes in order during the pit stops, other than Sangiulo (Scassellati’s teammate) losing some time trying to restart the very hot Viper - but the problems for the yellow and black GTS-R weren’t over: just after 40 minutes Sangiulo ended up in the gravel and wasn’t able to restart, and at the same time Bonaldi had a quick gravel excursion but was able to regain the track. Dramas over? Not quite: after 42 minutes Kessel, who had been gaining on Piccini, tried an unsuccessful move at the exit of the first curve, Piccini holding the line and after a tiny touch Kessel had a spin and ended the race in the gravel – so the N-GT lead battle was over.

In the big boys classes Guagliardo was able to pass both the DR Vipers and was just behind Cioci in the white Viper.

With 15 minutes (of the 60) to go, Zonca in the Lister was miles in front of Perazzini (the Championship leader) then Cioci and Guagliardo. Ten minutes from the end, the poor race from the Abi Motors RSR of Pigoli and newcomer Mastronardi was ended early when the latter dived into the gravel, after a rear wheel locked: but that wasn’t all. Bonaldi also ended his race in the gravel in the downhill esses, while on the last lap Guagliardo was on the tail of Perazzini, the man from Sicily trying everything, looking left and right at almost every curve, through the downhill then the uphill.

Then the Lister was slowing dramatically through the last curves! The 550 and the Viper were nose to tail with the black car, and in the very last curve before the straight Zonca chose the inside line, Perazzini instead of passing outside tried the inside as well and Perazzini locked the rear brakes and went into the gravel ….only to be followed by Guagliardo spinning off, probably due to the mess in front of him!

So Zonca won the race after all What a race, what a final lap, and that’s not all: the other white Viper of Cioci had a puncture on the last lap, so the order was Zonca, Guagliardo, and Sabatini, while in N-GT after the exit of the Chiesa / Kessel 360 it was an easy win for Riccitelli / Piccini, second to Moccia / Groppi (starting from the back of the grid) then after three pit-stops and two spins a very well earned third place for Pigoli / Mastronardi.

In GT3 it was Maseratis that swept to a 1-2, with Piacentini / Sperati ahead of Giudici / Raimondi, third for the Porsche of Sada / Sala.

Zonca: “I made a mistake, I slowed down too much, then I saw two rockets behind me and I said, boy you have to be fast to react and go pedal to the metal! Thankfully I manage to make it and win a very difficult race.”

Guagliardo: “My teammate did a fantastic charge back through the field, and I only completed the job, I’m very satisfied to be honest, even though we could have won the race.”

Piccini: "Kessel foolishly tried to overtake me but hit my Porsche instead. He got the short end of the stick after that and was eventually disqualified."
Gabriele Tosi

 

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