Italian GTs – Mugello – May 15 / 16 - Race 2
Lister Double Top

After all the action from race one, the second one couldn’t match it, could it? Probably not, but the weather was still very warm and sunny as the surviving 20 cars took the start, at mid-afternoon.

It was a very clean one for the 550, which had the upper hand on the Lister, while behind a very angry Berton, after the contact in the first race with Drudi, installed himself in third spot overall – this 360 GTC having come direct from Michelotto. What did we say about the Mugello track? “The GTs will be miles away in front of the N-GTs”: well not really, thanks to the hot conditions making the track quite slippery and the ever thirsty GTs having to be in an economy run, both fuel and tyres.

After five minutes, the 550 of Guagliardo was easing away from the Zonca Lister, which was being pressed very hard by Berton, then the two DR Vipers,the RSR of Pigoli then the two white Racing Box Vipers split an N-GT car, the 360 Modena of Kessel. Behind all of them we had Groppi then Piccini.

Eight minutes and we had the best move of the race, very similar to the Herbert one at the exit of the Ascari in the LMES round. Galimberti (Pigoli’s partner, my mistake wasn’t Mastronardi) was front but chased down by Perazzini and Bonaldi: they chose the right and left side of the Porsche and “ate the RSR” before the braking point for the first curve, what a move!. One lap later Sabatini too passed the RSR of Galimberti, and in the meantime Perazzini and Bonaldi blasted through the Correntaio downhill esses and shared some “rude stuff” between them, some carbon pieces flying away in all directions. GT racing Italian style!

At 15 minutes, the dramas began: the current points leader, Perazzini had a puncture on the main straight, destroying the right rear bodywork. Unfortunately he had to do an entire lap like this, the suggestion being that the “rude stuff” between Perazzini and Bonaldi some laps before was the original cause.

In the meantime the second “demon” in this race, Sangiulo, was charging back through the field very quickly, so things calming down now? Absolutely not! Sabatini entered the pits with flames (not dramatically like the Coronel Lister in Germany) licking from under the bonnet of his Viper.. a very rare engine failure for this v10.

End of the dramas? Of course not, and we are only 20 minutes into the race! At the Casanova Savelli Monti made a very bad mistake, punting off in a big way the RSR of Piccini, totally the fault of the 360 driver and race over for probably the fastest pair in N-GT…and 30 seconds later, the 550 of Guagliardo slowed dramatically and parked out on the track!!! What a real mess of event!

22 minutes and the RS of the new team creaed by Mr. Poli (who owned, and sold, the yellow Corvette raced last year) is out, stuck in the gravel, driver error from Mastronardi.
In the GT3 class (here is called GT2, but in reality it is with GT3 spec cars) we had a very good battle between Sada and Piacentini, almost door to door.

During the pit-stops there was nearly a collision between the Spanish Corvette and the Perazzini Viper taking its second stop, (this one the scheduled driver change).
After the pit-stops, we had the Lister and the Viper of Mastracci (Bonaldi’s teammate) at the front. In N-GT, Francescon was leading from Chiesa from Drudi, who was enduring a lot of pressure from Moccia. 32 minutes and the RSR of Galimberti / Pigoli is out, clutch failure, but at the same time there was a wheel to wheel battle along the main straight between Sala (GT3 cup) and Raimondi (Maserati) – reminding me of the Senna-Mansell confrontation at Barcelona in ’91.

Francescon was now second overall and first in N-GT, at 11 seconds behind the Lister, then a “Viper battle” between Scassellati, Bonaldi and Cioci - then Drudi and Chiesa, who had passed Groppi. One minute later a stop-and-go was applied to Scassellati (unknown reason).

The order settled down in the last part of the race, with the Lister staying out in front, with Mastracci and Sangiuolo passing the 360 of Francescon, but almost 30 seconds down to the black beauty (the Sorm). Behind the 360 were two other Vipers, those of Scassellati (exiting from a stop and go) just in front of Cioci, then Chiesa and Drudi and Groppi…and the order stayed the same until the final minutes when, thanks to a misunderstanding, a big one, with the Maserati of Raimondi, Drudi was out at the SanDonato curve.

In the GT3 class, there was a late drama with a lost wheel from Corradi / Cipolli, leaving Sada / Sala to the win, then Strano / Piacentini (Maserati) and a slow but reliable 355 (Emiliani / Ferrari).

So at the end it was a day full of action, some clean, some dirty, some spins, some crashes, some other dramas - but a pair of wins for the Italian Lister. What conclusions can we draw from this pair of races? The JMB 550 (the Italtecnica one) is still very far from being sufficiently reliable, the N-GT cars are very much nearer to the big GT guys than in the FIA Series and in GT3 now the Maserati is the car to have to win the title. In other news, the DR Saleen will be definitely on the grid on July 18, for the Salzburgring round.

Next stop in a “crazy” calendar (we are now at the halfway point already) is 30 May at Pergusa: expects a smaller grid, and plenty of problems for the big GTs to get the end of the race without running out of fuel.
Gabriele Tosi


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