Vallelunga Gold Cup Report, November 19
So would it be a victory for the pole-sitting D’Ambrosio / Chiminelli Courage C65, or the Lamy / Cioci / Perazzini Maserati, the de Simone / Hernandez / Valentini GT2 Ferrari 430 – or perhaps one of the Normas, or even the Promec?

It was one of the Normas from the start, in damp and foggy conditions – chased by the Promec, but as the track dried, so the LMP 900 prototype pitted, and immediately was in trouble with an air gun that didn’t work.

With another Norma colliding with the Ferrari 430 of Scionti / Sperati / Frigerio, and resulting in a safety car period, the leader at the end of the hour was the Norma of Ghiotto / Casoni / Uboldi – from the three favourites, led by the GT2 Ferrari. The Maserati was a lap down in fourth, but about to come into its own. The delayed Promec was down in seventh.

Things got worse for Caffi and partners, as the Promec was in the pits for a very long stop in the second hour. The Maserati steamed into the lead – and was never headed. The tiny Norma held onto second place, from the de Simone etc. Ferrari 430, with the Courage fifth after two hours. One of the Ferrari 360s had a refuelling fire at a pit stop.

And so it proceeded – with the Maserati building an advantage, bit by bit, over the GPC Ferrari 430, which edged a lap clear of the Norma when the latter slowed approaching half way. Four hours into the race and the Maserati led by four laps. The impressive Norma, the early leader, had been delayed, dropping out of the top ten for now – but up into third came another one, driven by Armetta / Giammaria / Gatto.

Best placed Porsche was the Baso / Sada / Tenchini / Fratti GT3-RSR, in fourth – nine laps behind the MC12, but poised to make more progress up the order. Also charging back was the Uboldi etc. Norma, sixth after five hours – and then third in the final result.

de Simone and friends had been in a solid second, laps behind the Maserati but laps ahead of the GT3-RSR (just ahead on the track, above) – until, 10 minutes before the end, the rear left tyre of the 430 exploded, hurling de Simone off the track and out of the race.

That left Sada / Fratti / Tenchini / Basso in second place in the Autorlando Porsche, a great result for this team. But there was no holding the Maserati – 11 laps clear after six hours.

Frank Ghiotto, Enea Casoni and David Uboldi fought back from outside the top ten all the way up to third, on the same lap as the Porsche, and a lap clear of the Courage C65.

Giovanni Caligaris and Mauro Casadei finished ninth in their Porsche 993 GT2 (above), after delays with wheels cracking, while Joe Macari, Rob Wilson and Ben Aucott were seventh in a Ferrari 360. Cup class winners were De Castro / Premoli / Barbaro in a Porsche, sixth overall. The Porsche 996 of Proietti / Comandini / Cappella was in the top 10 in the fifth hour, but broke a driveshaft and lost over half an hour for repairs.

An interesting, mixed event to end the European season. The most expensive car won, but those Normas were impressive, particularly the third placed car.

1. Lamy / Cioci / Perazzini Maserati #12, 215 laps 6:01'29.524
2. Sada / Fratti / Tenchini / Basso Porsche GT3-RSR #21 (1st GT2) +11 laps
3. Ghiotto / Casoni / Uboldi Norma #7 (1st CN4) +11 laps
4. D’Ambrosio / Chiminelli Courage C65 #3 (1st LMP675) +12 laps
5. Scionti / Sperati / Frigerio Ferrari F430 #15 +14 laps
6. De Castro / Premoli / Barbaro Porsche GT3-RS #16 (1st Cup) +14 laps
7. Macari / Aucott / Wilson Ferrari 360 #24 +14 laps
8. Ceccato / Frezza / Sabatini Viper GT2 #15 +15 laps
9. Caligaris / Casadei Porsche 993 GT2 #29 +15 laps
10. D'Alatri / Grimoldi / Petrini Ferrari F430 #38 (1st Cup) +27 laps


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