Italian GTs – Final Round – Vallelunga
The last pair of Italian GT races of the season, the last ones on
the old configuration at the Vallelunga track near Rome: during
the winter the new track extension will be completed in order to
cope with F1 tests.
As already reported,
only the GT Class remained to be decided, the N-GT title going to
Chiesa / Kessel in their Ferrari 360 GTC, and GT3 honurs went to
Sada / Sala (911 GT3 Cup).
In qualifying Zonca and
Lancellotti took no prisoners in the Lister Storm and took pole
for both races, while their major rivals (18 pts down in the standings,
172 versus 154) Perazzini / Matteuzzi took second on the grid for
On the second row for
the first race were Scassellati / Sangiuolo and Mastracci / Bonaldi
(both Vipers) while in race 2’s second row featured Cioci
/ Spinelli (welcome back after the huge shunt at Misano) and Mastracci
/ Bonaldi…. no Saleen present (as we suspected).
The JMB 550 didn’t
set a qualifying time after a shunt in free practice. In N-GT pole
went to Chiesa and Kessel in both sessions, while the GT3 poles
both went to the Maserati Light of Corradi / Cipolli.
Heavy rain was expected….
but didn’t arrive.
The 2004 Italian Championship
has provided ample proof that nothing in this series is predictable
– and so it proved again.
18 cars took the green flag for the first race, in pleasant midday
is not yet over,” said Stefano Zonca before the start –
and he was right. The big problem was likely to be tyre wear, Vallelunga
being notoriously hard on rubber.
At the green flag down,
Zonca lost the sprint to Matteuzzi, the two rivals followed by Cioci,
Mastracci then Riccitelli (first in N-GT) and Scassellati. Lap by
lap Matteuzzi was gradually easing away from a careful Zonca, who
was secure in second ahead of Mastracci, who had passed Cioci.
Behind the leading cars
a big group N-GT cars were having a good scrap – Groppi led
Merzario, Francescon and LaMazza, the ‘ever young’ Arturo
having a good old go at passing the Autorlando Porsche.
On lap 8, Cioci parked
one Viper just before the Roma Curve and Scassellati parked another
in an escape road. In the meantime Chiesa and Lancieri (Pigoli’s
partner this weekend) werehaving a door to door battle, with the
Porsche having the upper hand…for now.
Casè (550) was
suddenly up to fourth overall, from the back of the grid, while
Berton passed Pigoli for second in N-GT, Chiesa now out front.
After 24 minutes, Merzario
stopped his black 360 GTC on the main straight, on fire, but the
fifty something year old hopped out and helped the marshals to extinguish
the flames. A Safety Car was dispatched, just before the pit window
opened, but as it was withdrawn, the black Lister was in the pitlane
for the driver change: perhaps a mistake for the Lister team?
At 35 minutes, just before
the pit window closed, the incident that could decided the championship
occurred: the Lister was stuck in the pit with starter problems,
and despite the best efforts from the Italian and the English mechanics
there wass no way to get back into the race, so 0 pts for the black
machine, and what should have been a relative cruise to the finish
became a nightmare:… and the ghosts from last year were now
more than a threat for Zonca.
The race for the overall
win is almost over? Well not quite, because after the demon stint
of Casè his partner Toto Wolff was chopping away seconds
from the #1 Viper of Perazzini, while in N-GT Quester was leading
by.almost.nothing from Kessel and Berton. At 40 minutes, a spin
from Perazzini left Bonaldi in the black Viper in the lead and Wolff
almost all over the #1 Viper. But at the Tornantino, Perazzini touched
Bonaldi several times, only to spun out him in the next curve -
a very bad move which was punished by a stop and go for the current
So with some help from
the other drivers, Wolff (550) was in the lead followed by Perazzini
with Bonaldi in the Vipers – and with cars, drivers and tyres
struggling in the hot conditions, that’s the way it stayed..
With so much happening
we lost the move from Kessel to Quester and the retirement of Pigoli
in the EbiMotors 996 and the Maserati Light of Corradi / Cipolli
Nothing change until the end, with cars and drivers struggling with
the very hot conditions. So Casè / Wolff win in front of
Bonaldi / Mastracci and Matteuzzi / Perazzini third.
Winning N-GT, and fourth
overall, were Kessel / Chiesa, followed by Berton / Francescon,
who passed Riccitelli / Quester during the final laps of the race.
In GT3 it was again a Maserati victory for Giudici / Raimondi.
With this result the
GT standings read Zonca / Lancellotti 172 pts, Perazzini / Matteuzzi
169 pts and Casè 163 pts. Everything to play for.
1. Casè / Wolff 550 45 laps in 1:00.45.192
2. Matteuzzi / Perazzini Viper at 8.372
3. Mastracci / Bonaldi Viper at 21.944
4. Kessel / Chiesa 360 GTC at 35.917
5. Berton / Francescon 360 GTC at 59.790
6. Riccitelli / Quester 996 RSR at 1:05.925
10 Giudici / Raimondi Maserati at 2 laps
The unpredictable happened again: for the second consecutive year,
Stefano Zonca, this year racing with Angelo Lancellotti lost the
Championship not only in the last race, but in the last laps of
Zonca / Lancellotti with
172 pts needed to finish in front of Matteuzzi / Perazzini, or third
as long as the #1 Viper didn’t win the race.
At the start, 16 cars
took the green flag, and this time Lancellotti had the upper hand
from the two white Vipers. Cioci was not only alongside his teammate
Perazzini but passed him in the Cimini 1 Curve. In N-GT Monti passed
Lancieri, then it was LaMazza and Berton.
Soon Perazzini recovered
the gap to team-mate Cioci and thanks to some braking problems on
the #3 Viper passed him at the Tornantino. Meanwhile at the front
Lancellotti was ‘a man on fire’, disappearing at almost
a second per lap.
at the back of the grid again in the 550 was recovering fast and
was soon into the top six.
The Lister tactic was
clear as Angelo explained before the start: “I’m going
pedal to the metal until 37 minutes, to leave as big a gap as I
can for Stefano.”
Within 10 minutes Lancellotti
was almost 10 seconds ahead of Cioci, who was still under big pressure
from Perazzini, then Bonaldi, Casè and the first in N-GT
Monti…while Kessel was recovering fast from a spin and passed
Quester with a little touch…and punched the air in anger when
Groppi closed the door in the Tornantino.
Quester was the first
to hand over his car, to Riccitelli, then the title contender Perazzini
left the wheel to Matteuzzi. Perazzini had been trying to conserve
the Viper for Gabriele Matteuzzi.
At the 30 minute mark
Lancellotti was still lapping quickly, but not quite as fast as
at the beginning. Just before the 37 minutes elapsed, Lancellotti
dived into the pits, Zonca jumpe in…and stalled the car. The
V12 refired straight away, and Zonca blasted away with a lot of
that he had pushed as hard as he could – but with the slight
delay, Zonca had a 15 second advantage over Matteuzzi. Will it be
enough, with 12 laps remaining?
In N-GT Berton was absolutely
flying away to the win, while behind him Pigoli and Chiesa were
having their usually good (and rude) scrap for the position…
with Riccitelli joining the pair some laps later, and passing Chiesa.
Zonca seemed to have
the upper hand, losing less than a second per lap, but the big Viper
was inching closer… until with just 15 minutes to go, the
Lister was struggling to pass a Maserati Light and the 360 of Drudi,
and behind him Matteuzzi was getting very close.
It was the power steering
playing up on the Lister, and Zonca, ever the gentleman, waved Matteuzzi
by on the back straight. Zonca hung on to second place, but it wasn’t
Baso and Mastracci fought
for third place, a battle won by Mastracci.
In N-GT Berton / Linossi
finished in front of Monti / Drudi and Riccitelli / Quester. Cipolli
/ Corradi won in the GT3 class.
at the last moment we managed to win. It’s awesome I’m
very happy, honour to the losers, but we did it!”
Zonca was almost in tears…how can we blame him?
Race 2 Result
1. Matteuzzi / Perazzini Viper in 1’00:04.954 47 laps
2. Zonca / Lancellotti Lister at 2.560
3. Mastracci / Bonaldi Viper at 11.138
4. Cioci / Spinelli Viper at 12.566
5. Berton / Linossi 360 GTC at 41.931
6. Casè / Wolff 550 at 54.959
7. Monti / Drudi 360 Modena at 1 lap
12 Cipolli / Corradi Maserati at 3 laps
1. 1. Matteuzzi / Perazzini 189 pts
2. 2. Zonca / Lancellotti 187 pts
3. 3. Casè 169 pts
4. 4. Mastracci 159 pts