Car Challenge Report – Varano, May 13-14
The 2006 Sports
Car Challenge saw its first weekend of racing action on May 13/14
at the Autodromo Riccardo Paletti, at Varano de’ Melegari
in Italy. In the land of wine and Parmesan cheese, with the Dallara
racecar factory and the Barilla pasta factory located nearby, you
could call this the quintessential Italian racing circuit. At only
2.4 kilometers in length, it is nevertheless a demanding track for
drivers and cars alike. The cars, especially, took a beating this
With a few competitors
deciding to give this first round a miss, among them Briton Mike
Roberts who took part in a race in Britain instead, the field was
down to thirteen cars for the qualifying session on Saturday, May
13. Czech newcomer Michal Pavlik experienced technical trouble with
his Picchio which could not be remedied despite factory assistance,
and Mobi Racing’s Klaus Wolfert also retired his MRP before
the first race, with a blown engine.
It was nevertheless
a Varano “debutante” who made the pace throughout the
event; Britain’s Tony Sinclair, in his Jade 2, won both races
with a strong performance that also saw him clinch pole position
twice, and turn the fastest sportscar lap of the day.
In race 1, Sinclair
left the field in his wake as he led every single one of the 25
second quickest qualifyer Wolfgang Payr in the Cosworth V8-powered
PRC had his work cut out fending off Gerd Beisel and Sabrina Hungerbühler.
Beisel was back in his accustomed PRC-BMW, with the ex-Daytona Norma
M2000 not quite ready in time, while the Swiss lady driver made
her comeback in the series after a year’s absence, driving
a Krisam Rennsport prepared Osella-BMW for Scuderia München.
It was Hungerbühler’s premiere at Varano as well, but
she was a podium contender in Division 1 throughout the event.
had trouble getting his tyres up to working temperature, and was
fighting an uncooperative racecar; twice he slid wide, and that
was enough for Beisel, then Hungerbühler, to slip by. Beisel
then spent ther best part of the race defending his second place
against the hard-charging Hungerbühler. Try as she might, she
did not find a way past the German veteran of SCC competition.
2, Hungerbühler’s compatriot Pius Truffer made the pace
in the 2.5l PRC-BMW. Mobi Racing had already lost one car but the
other, Honda-engined, MRP was second- fastest in class; Gerd Beisel’s
team mate at RWT, Gerhard Münch, drove the brand new Norma
M20, also with a Honda CN engine, and was instantly competitive.
Truffer’s race was cut short by brake trouble, and Hallau
took over at the head of Division 2, chased by Münch in the
Norma, and Karl-Heinz Matzinger in the PRC. It was the first sportscar
race for experienced touring car driver Matzinger and his team Hoffmann
Racing, and they were doing exceptionally well, as Matzinger profited
from Münch’s mid-race spin and took second place in class.
also brought along a Mygale Formula Ford for two young drivers making
their transition from karting to circuit racing; Denny Görsdorf
and Daniel Haas shared the car for this weekend, both running clean
races and staying out of trouble.
1. Tony Sinclair/GB, Jade-Nissan (1. Div.1), 25 laps in 28:25,669min.
2. Gerd Beisel/D, PRC-BMW (2. Div.1), -11,115sec.
3. Sabrina Hungerbühler/CH, Osella-BMW (3. Div.1), -11,775sec.
4. Wolfgang Payr/A, PRC-Cosworth (4. Div.1), -57,361sec.
5. Georg Hallau/D, MRP-Honda (1. Div.2), -1 laps
6. Karl-Heinz Matzinger/A, PRC-Opel (2. Div.2)
7. Gerhard Münch/D, Norma M20-Honda (3. Div.2)
8. Denny Görsdorf/D, Mygale Formel Ford (1. Div.3), -2 laps
9. Adi Gärtner/CH, Martini-Alfa (5. Div.1), -3 laps
10. Henry Uhlig/D, PRC-Opel, (4. Div.2), -4 laps
11. Johann Pauer/A, PRC-Opel (5. Div.2),-5 laps
N/C: Pius Truffer/CH, PRC-BMW
Payr had a
minor “off“ in qualifying for race 2, damage was only
superficial and he lined up in second position on the grid for the
Sunday race. Both Saturday winners were overtaken at the start,
but it did not take them long to restore the old order. Sinclair
was back in the overall lead after half a lap, and charged off into
the distancen putting a comfortable 16 second gap between himself
and the opposition. Meanwhile, Payr again had Hungerbühler
and Beisel breathing down his neck, and by lap 6 he had been demoted
to fourth place. But then trouble started for Gerd Beisel, only
five of the available six cylinders in his car’s BMW engine
still working properly.
Hungerbühler (right) soon had her revenge for race 1; her car
had been found under the weight limit on Saturday, and she was put
“on probation” for the Sunday; there were no asterisks
to her second place this time around. Beisel had a late-race scare
when he narrowly avoided a spinning Division 2 car; Payr soon got
past him as well, and with this, the Division 1 podium was complete.
quickly re-took the lead in Division 2 from Gerhard Münch,
and again took a convincing class win, in fifth place overall. Münch
was the runner-up this time, with Matzinger getting his second podium
finish in his second sportscar race.
Sinclair/GB, Jade-Nissan (1. Div.1), 20 laps in 22:59,164
2. Sabrina Hungerbühler/CH, Osella-BMW (2. Div.1), -17,071sec.
3. Wolfgang Payr/A, PRC-Cosworth (3. Div.1), -47,609sec.
4. Gerd Beisel/D, PRC-BM (3. Div.1), -55,311sec.
5. Geord Hallau/D, MRP-Honda (1. Div.2), - 1 laps
6. Gerhard Münch/D, Norma M20-Honda (2. Div.2)
7. Karl-Heinz Matzinger/A, PRC-Opel (3. Div.2)
8. Adi Gärtner/CH, Martini-Alfa (4. Div.1)
9. Daniel Haas, Mygale Formel Ford, -2 laps
Johann Pauer/A, PRC-Opel
Henry Uhlig/D, PRC-Opel
two classes, five chassis manufacturers (PRC, Jade, Osella, MRP,
Norma) and four engine makes (BMW, Cosworth, Honda, Opel) were represented
on the podium. The Sports Car Challenge continues to be all about
variety. From Italy, the series now moves on to Dijon in France
for two races on June 10/11.