Second place for Ramos/Montanari at Monza
Thanks to Ramos/Montanari's second place and the fourth spot taken by Bartels/Biagi, the Vitaphone Racing Team holds on to the number one position in the Teams' championship while the Emilian driver moves to the head of the Drivers' standings. The race was a hard fought one and it was only decided 19 minutes from the end when Wendlinger/Sharp made their driver switch without changing tyres.
At that point, the gap to Biagi/Bartels' MC12 was less than 10 seconds. Biagi, in trying to close up on the leaders, forced the pace. However, he locked his brakes and slipped two places. His team mate, Christian Montanari took full advantage. Montanari had, a few moments earlier, sped past Hezemans' Corvette C6R at the first chicane. The driver from San Marino also set the fastest lap in the race (1’45”610) on lap 15. The result would have been even better if a problem with the starter motor had not cost a few tenths at the last pit stop where he replaced a tough Miguel Ramos. Ramos had previously gone head to head in a splendid duel with Sharp.
The Playteam Sarafree MC12s had a difficult time of it. At the end of the warm up session, the engine on Bertolini/Piccini's car was substituted as a precaution when the telemetry picked up some anomalies in the distribution, something noted by Bertolini during his stint. The engine swap meant a loss of ten grid positions. Pier Guidi's car made a solid start and was in fifth for long stretches before pitting on lap 21 to change a punctured tyre. His team mate, Giannoccaro, ran off the track when he clashed with a Corvette, leaving the pair with a zero points haul. Andrea Piccini, made a great comeback from the rear of the field but had to make his pit stop early when he lost tyre pressure while holding sixth. After the stop, Andrea Bertolini pulled put all the stops to climb to ninth before handing over to his partner forty minutes from the finish. So, in the end the chequered flag was taken by Wendlinger/Sharp. Behind them was the Ramos/Montanari duo (+ 5”6) in what was their second consecutive podium finish, and Hezemans/Deletraz (+ 8”5).
Bartels/Biagi crossed the line in fourth (+ 15”1), with Bertolini/Piccini eighth and Giannoccaro/Pier Guidi in ninth. Not all the teams will be abandoning Monza as a three day Pirelli test season begins tomorrow. This aim of the tests is to settle on the right tyre compound for the upcoming races, starting at Oschersleben on 8 July.
In the Citation Cup, second place went to Macari/Aucott and fourth to Kutemann/Waaijenberg.