Italian Prototype Championship – Monza, September 26
There were 28 cars on entry list for the Monza round of the CIP, moved from it usual date in June to late September – writes Gabriele Tosi.

The weather was beautifully sunny on both Saturday and Sunday, the first day of the meeting seeing pole taken again by the Osella of Denny Zardo (below) - very determined after two DNFs at the last meeting.

Second spot went to his rival Davide Uboldi, followed by Championship leader Michele Serafini (Osella). Fourth was Francesca Pardini, then Francia (first in CN2) and Margelli. It was a poor qualifying session for the little Lucchini CN2 of Filippo Francioni, struggling with top speed and an engine that was “very sick”.

25 cars took the green flag and it was a reasonably clean first corner, with just some bumping in the middle of the pack. The field was led by Zardo, Uboldi, Serafini, Pardini, Ghiotto and Margelli. Francioni was some way back, and after just five laps he retired to his pit with continuing engine trouble.

Margelli was out even sooner, with suspension failure on lap 4. In the lead pack, just five seconds covering first to fourth, Serafini (below), gradually gaining pace race by race, passed Uboldi for the second spot.

The lead trio (Zardo, Serafini and Uboldi - all with a BMW engines) then eased away from the pack. Pardini was still fourth, but pressed very hard by Ghiotto and the pair duly tangled arriving at the first chicane: Francesca Pardini spun and continued, but soon parked with gearbox failure, while Ghiotto continued.

In the SR2 class, the Picchio of Vitacolonna seemed have a turbo engine (certainly a very flat rear wing - below), and was easily leading the class, in fifth place overall…but on lap 9 a suspected brake failure ended the Picchio dream.

So Ghiotto was almost alone in fourth in his Osella, and behind him the CN2 pack was led by Francia’s Osella Honda (below), which went on to win the class (from Pezzola’s similar car) and clinch the title with two races still to go.

At the chequered flag Zardo won quite comfortably, three seconds ahead of Serafini (very much in the Championship lead) and a third place for Uboldi meant the end of his championship chances.

The next (and penultimate) round of the CIP is at Vallelunga on October 10, where Serafini may be crowned the Champion, or Zardo could close the gap.

1. Zardo Osella-BMW CN4 16 laps in 29’37.412
2. Serafini Osella-BMW CN4 at 3.046
3. Uboldi Lucchini-BMW CN4 at 4.895
4. Ghiotto Osella-BMW CN4 at 16.936
5. Francia Osella-honda CN2 at 19.055
6. Pezzolla Osella-Honda CN2 at 20.467
7. Solieri Tampolli-Alfa SR2 at 38.080
8. Tullio Lucchini-Alfa SR2 at 45.869
9. Gabellini Centenari-Alfa CN4 at 45.883
10. Francisci Tiga-BMW CN4 at 53.263

Standings Overall
1. Serafini 98 pts
2. Zardo 83 pts
3. Gabellini 64 pts
4. Solieri 62 pts
5. Francia 58 pts
6. Ghiotto 52 pts
7. Uboldi 48 pts

CN2 Class
1. Francia (champion) 32 pts
2. Francioni 13 pts
3. Pezzolla 11 pts

SR2 Class
1. Solieri 39 pts
2. Piccone 27 pts
3. Tullio 23 pts

CN4 Class
1. Serafini 34 pts
2. Zardo 30 pts
3. Gabellini 22 pts
4. Uboldi 16 pts

For 2005 and beyond, rumours suggest the CIP regulations could change, and not necessarily for the better. What we have now is a grid with over 25 cars…but many of the cars are five or more years old. The real new cars are the Osella and Lucchini CN2 and the Tampolli CNn4 of Randaccio.

In 2000 the Championship was almost dead, with less than eight cars on the grid. In just one year, after Sergio Peroni took control of the organisation, the grid grew to 20-25 cars. Then the ACI-CSAI resumed control of F3, Touring Cars and the CIP – and the big shunt at the Mugello round, with three drivers injured, highlighted the problem of the older cars.

Much will depend on what happens this winter, with ‘the paddock’ hoping that Sergio Peroni can wrest control of the CIP again.


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