Italian Update
Gabriele Tosi brings us up to date with Italian GT and prototype news – and Monza.

By the way, sincere apologies for any further access problems - which have been compounded by a British Telecommunications (or lack of) PLC broadband failure in the UK - for 14 ******* hours - and counting. BT are, alas, as poor as ever they were.

1 Italian GTs In Trouble
Italian GTs are in trouble: as dsc readers will know, the first race of the year at Imola attracted only 13 cars, exactly half the entry of the first race of 2005. The problems seem to be, in no particular order – a lack of sponsorship, too many series spread around Europe, the new GT3 Championship, but also some other problems, such as the slump of the GT3 class, where last year the Maserati Lights were regulars at every meeting (four or five per race). Even the ever present Autorlando didn’t enter its 911 GT3, while the two Gallardos are, well, almost as road cars. Your reporter had the oppurtunity to see the cars at Monza, and they still have leather around the cockpit!

I also spoke to Luca Cappellari and Andrea Chiesa, and their comments were almost exactly the same. “We are few, very few, and there’s not much fun racing with 10 or so cars: we are only four in GT1, we have fast, beautiful cars, but…”

Chiesa added “On Thursday (last week) the ACI-CSAI organised a meeting with us, because for the next round at Misano (May 15) there could be only 10 cars on the grid…we need to find more cars.”

2 Prototypes Still Looking Good
The CIP (Italian Sportscar Championship) started at Adria last weekend with 20 cars on the grid, not bad for a “transition year”. In fact next year a new crash test system is being intorduced, and new cars can and will enter the series, but almost half of the current field won’t be able to race …but we’re in Italy, so there will probably be a compromise…

The four-time champion Filippo Francioni and his Lucchini-CN4-BMW easily won at Adria, leading from pole position with his young, fast team-mate Luca Di Daio finishing second, in an identical car, but with an Alfa Romeo engine. The third Lucchini, BMW-powered, of Davide Uboldi ran in third place, but developed a gearbox problem and finished further down the order. Third overall and first of the CN2 cars was Franco Ghiotto, who started in the mod-field, but overtook Francia, Uboldi and the ever present Francisci.

The race should have marked the debut of the new Picchio Light in the hands of the lady driver Marika Diana… but the car caught fire and was completely burnt out in the second free practice.

Rumours suggest that Filippo Francioni could switch to an all new Lucchini CN2 Honda after the next round at Imola.

3 Monza Is Safe… For F1
Last week it became apparent that the local political situation in the Monza area has definitely concluded with the ruling that the Grand Prix is safe, and “for 37 days over a year…the track activities can exceed the 110/115 decibel level”.

The calendar has been decimated this year, but perhaps the “37 days ruling” will allow more events in 2007.


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