Italian Prototypes – Imola & Varano
We’re catching up with the last two events of the Italian Prototype Championship here.

Imola, August 1
23 cars were on the grid for the mid-point in the CIP, at an Imola track with African temperatures – air temperature well over 35° and track over 50°.

At the end it was the second consecutive victory for Michele Serafini (Osella CN4-BMW) in front of Solieri (Tampolli SR2-Alfa) and Gabellini (Centenari CN4-Alfa). Fourth overall and first in the CN2 class was Filippo Francioni, making his debut in the series with “his new toy”, the Lucchini CN2-Honda.
At the start of the race, after another pole, Davide Uboldi took the lead, followed by Serafini and his rival for the Championship, Zardo: fourth was Ghiotto then Solieri, Francia, Baldi and Francioni (starting 18th after lots of problem in qualifying with his new car).

On lap 10 came the incident that decided the race. Uboldi had lost the lead to Zardo on lap 4, but was gradually chipping away at the time to the leader, then tried a very optimistic move at the inside of the Variante Bassa - but too late to avoid a big contact with Zardo, who didn’t expect a late lunge from his challenger. The result was a spin for Uboldi, and later a stop and go penalty for “avoidable contact”.

Zardo retired with a broken radiator. Uboldi also retired later in the race (gearbox), so Serafini took the lead in his Osella and wasn’t headed. Meanwhile, Francioni moved through the order to take a spectacular fourth, first time out.

So Serafini won from Solieri and Gabellini, with Vita fifth, then Baldi and Margelli. Francia, the leader in the CN2 points with his Osella, retired with gearbox problems.

Varano, September 5
26 cars on the grid this time at a sunny Varano circuit in the north of Italy. The twisty nature of the circuit should have favoured the little CN2 cars with the win. The SR2 machines will be more at home at Monza (for the next round on September 26) and at Misano (October 24, the last round).

Still without the drivers who shunted and were injured at Mugello in July, the pole on Saturday went to Davide Uboldi again.

At the start this time, unlike Imola, Uboldi maintained the lead in front of Ghiotto and Zardo, who had the upper hand against Francesca Pardini (making her return) then Serafini.

Gabellini was recovering fast after a spin on the first lap in the Centenari, but the big names were soon getting into trouble…on lap 7, Zardo was out with a driveshaft problem, while two laps later Francesca Pardini was eliminated too (brakes).

In the lead battle Uboldi struggled a little to hold onto first place from Ghiotto, who was inspired in this race, and this pair had now opened up quite a good gap from Serafini, Francisci, Margelli and Gabellini.

On lap 17 Margelli was out due to a broken engine, while Gabellini was now in third place passing Serafini, while after another lap Francisci was out (another engine gone). Everything seemed stable until five laps from the end when Uboldi began to struggle quite badly, then making a mistake in the Ickx chicane and finding himself stuck in the deepest sand trap, out of the race…so Ghiotto took the lead and won the race in front of Gabellini (a great comeback) and Serafini, who was in bad gearbox trouble but scored good points for the Championship. Fourth overall and first in the CN2 class was Francia from Francioni, who had pressed Francia throughout the race, only to drop back with ‘cooked’ tyres.

First SR2 home was the Lucchini of Piccone, in seventh.

Next stop is Monza, for what should be the biggest grid of the season, and an interesting battle between the CN4, SR2 and best CN2 cars, along the straights in the royal park.
Gabriele Tosi

Varano Result
1. Ghiotto Osella CN4-BMW in 33’ 31.19
2. Gabellini Centenari CN4-Alfa at 24.49
3. Serafini Osella CN4-BMW at 27.07
4. Francia Osella CN2-Honda at 36.91
5. Francioni Lucchini CN2-Honda at 59.26
6. Armetta Osella CN2-Honda at 1 lap
7. Piccone Lucchini SR2-Nissan at 1 lap
8. Semeraro Osella CN2-Honda at 2 laps
9. Amadori Sighinolfi CN4-Alfa at 2 laps
10. Tullio Lucchini SRr2-Alfa at 2 laps

Standings Overall

1. Serafini 80 pts
2. Gabellini 61 pts
3. Zardo 59 pts
4. Solieri 50 pts
5. Francia 46 pts
6. Ghiotto 41 pts
7. Uboldi 34 pts
8. Francisci 28 pts
9. Francioni 27 pts
10. Piccone 26 pts

CN2 Class
1. Francia 26 pts
2. Francioni 13 pts
3. Armetta 10 pts

SR2 Class
1. Solieri 30 pts
2. Piccone 23 pts
3. Tullio 17 pts
4. Bertola 10 pts


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