Misano – Italian GT Championship – July 17-18
So much happens in every race of the Italian series that the one hour duration seems to flash by in a millisecond! – writes Gabriele Tosi.

Race 1
For the penultimate meeting of the series a slightly smaller grid than usual took the start at a very hot Misano, but fortunately there was a good breeze to accompany the heat. There were 19 cars on the grid and as soon the green flag was shown the Lister in the hands of Zonca took the lead, followed by all the Vipers - Cioci, who passed Perazzini, Mastracci and a very determined Spinelli, who pushed the 360 GTC of Chiesa onto the grass, then the N-GT cars in the order Pigoli, Chiesa, Berton and a very inspired Groppi. The 575 Ferrari, starting from last place (an engine change required during qualifying), had already taken five cars on the first lap. By the end of lap two the JMB 575 was already at the tail of the top three N-GT class cars, in eighth overall.

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At the front Zonca was gradually gaining almost half a second per lap on the Vipers. Malucelli in his black JMB 575 GTC passed all the N-GT cars and was on the tail of Spinelli in the black DR Viper.

In the N-GT battle the RSR of Riccitelli and the two 360 GTCs of Chiesa and Berton were easing away from the other machines, a situation summed up by Luca Drudi: “This is a 2002 cars with some 2003 parts, we can’t do much better than this.” Drudi was having a very good battle with the Autorlando RSR of Groppi, sliding beautifully pretty much everywhere!

In N-GT the Porsche teams have explained that Pirelli, the only supplier of the series, have developed rubber specifically for the Ferrari, and the Porsches tend to “eat” the tyres so quickly that the drivers have to be very careful not to wear out the rear ones especially. Pirelli has brought four compounds of the tyres called “D” numbered from 1 (softer) until 4 (harder): both Ferrari and Porsche use D4 in the front, while in rear the Ferrari use D2 while the Porsche still a D4!!

On lap 9 Malucelli passed Mastracci and was catching Perazzini’s Viper, but not quite as fast as might be expected.

As soon the pit-stop window was open things began getting complicated.

Malucelli, suffering a slow puncture, got stuck in the gravel at the “Tramonto”, just after the main straight: the car wasn’t in a completely safe position, but not in a particularly dangerous one either.. At the 24 minute mark, Zonca dived into the pit-lane to hand the Lister to his faster partner Lancellotti, but after a five minute delay, the race director brought out the safety car to recover the 575, and picked the right leader the Viper of Cioci, followed by the two other black DR Vipers, but clearly there was some confusion, because just as the safety car went out the pits were closed.

Some cars were delayed for half a minute, while some others have were sent straight out…and up front the safety car waved the Viper to go past and picked up the Lister - which was not in the lead at that moment!!!

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Riccitelli pointed out this situation in a pit interview…Somehow, we had the pack split into two groups the one led by the Viper (now correctly in the lead) behind the safety car, the other led by the N-GT leader, and urged on by the marshal to catch up with the other group.

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Have you understood anything here? Well your reporter struggled too, despite being in a good position to see almost all of the track.

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The safety car was out for over 10 minutes, but just as the second group was closing to the first one (at almost a race speed) a very dramatic accident happened. On the main straight, the Viper of Sabatini hit the RSR of Pigoli – very hard. Pigoli also hit the wall very hard, and lost consciousness for a brief moment. Sabatini was also very shaken. Later we discovered that the Viper had hit the RSR of Pigoli at some 200 km/h while the Porsche was going at 50 Km/h. Pigoli reported an injured right foot and some bruises and pain in various parts of body.

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Sabatini was in a worse condition, with lots of pain in the lower parts of his body, and we discovered later that he was wearing a HANS device.

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Pigoli later reported that the Ferrari ahead of him braked unexpectedly, and then he was hit very hard.

Finally (with two cars destroyed and not taking part in the second race) the race went green again with only 14 minutes left. So in total the safety cars stayed out for more than 20 minutes!

But more dramas were ahead again at the Tramonto because Lancellotti passed a surprised Baso, Matteuzzi saw an opening and dived inside the other Viper but Baso closed too fast and the result was a loose rear wing for the current Championship leader, and a spin in the next corner, and a flat right rear tyre for Baso just seconds before the end.

Up front Lancellotti caught and passed Bonaldi, and the win for the Lister reflected its speed at Misano. In N-GT the championship is almost over: with the completely destroyed RSR of Pigoli / Riccitelli and the “Linos” / Berton Ferrari stuck in the sand just two minutes from the end, the title seems to be heading the way of Kessel / Chiesa (below).

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Race two report to follow on Tuesday (just 16 cars on the grid).

GT
1. Zonca-Lancellotti Lister 35 laps in 1:00’56.709
2. Bonaldi-Mastracci Viper - 31.853
3. Matteuzzi-Perazzini Viper - 1 lap
4. Baso-Cioci Viper - 4 laps

N-GT
1. Chiesa-Kessel Ferrari GTC 35 laps in 1:01’41.099
2. Monti-Drudi Ferrari 360 Modena - 16.176
3. Moccia-Groppi Porsche RSR - 17.496
4. Francucci-Merzario Ferrari GTC - 1 lap
5. Quester-Peter Porsche RSR - 1 lap
6. Roda-Halliday Porsche RSR - 1 lap

GT3
1. Giudici-Raimondi Maserati 34 laps in 1:02’17.217
2. Sada-Sala Porsche GT3 - 12.274
3. Corradi-Cipolli Macerati - 26.906.

 

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