Stefano Gai comes back to grab home winThe second Trofeo race was even more exciting than the morning event. The drivers all bunched up going into turn one and Gaetano Ardagna came out on top to move into an early lead. Tucked in behind him were Manuel Villa and Stefano Gai.
The second Trofeo race was even more exciting than the morning event. The drivers all bunched up going into turn one and Gaetano Ardagna came out on top to move into an early lead. Tucked in behind him were Manuel Villa and Stefano Gai.
Things were just as tight in the pack and, on lap three, Moncada lost control on the straight and careered into the blameless Andrina Gugger, forcing her to retire. Gugger was shaken after the impact and was taken to hospital for a check-up but the young Swiss driver was released shortly after. It was a real shame as Andrina had placed third in Race 1, in the Trofeo, and would also have been among the contenders in the afternoon.
Ardagna, from Venezuela, was still in command with Villa, Gai, Baldi and Casè tracking him. A few laps later, Villa was hit with a drive-through for cutting across the chicane while in second.
The drivers kept swapping positions with Chionna clipping Ghione, the Striscia reporter, as he tried to overtake. This incident resulted in Ghione having to retire and the AF Corse driver being slapped with a drive-through. There was also another clash, this time between Casè and Gai, with the Swiss Team representative having to pull into the pits. Casè’s car was too badly damaged for him to continue and Gai had dropped down the field, the position from where he mounted his comeback.
Baldi managed to overtake Ardagna and claim the lead on lap eight while Piancastelli was having to hold off first Cordoni’s repeated attempts to sneak past and then Villa’s. Villa had done well to get back in touch after his penalty.
Baldi was holding almost a two-second lead on lap eleven but then left the track at the first chicane, luckily for him without causing too much damage to the car. However, this allowed the two drivers nearest to him to close up. On lap thirteen, Gai outmanoeuvred Ardagna and, on the very next lap, edged ahead of Baldi to take command. The Tuscan was having none of it and tried hard to re-take first but, a few minutes from the end when attempting to overtake, he strayed wide at the Parabolica to hand victory to Gai and second spot to Ardagna.
Piancastelli took a hard-earned fourth after a duel with Villa. Next came Cordoni, Durante (who used to play billiards for the Swiss national team), Doeblin (winner of the Team classification), Segler, Chionna (second in the Team standings), De Leener, and Pawlicek (third in the Team series). Bringing up the rear was Piazzalunga and another woman driver, Toth, from Hungary, and her partner Csiszer.
Sbirrazzuoli takes the overall win
To avoid any risks, the drivers decided to run three laps tucked in behind the Safety Car to allow the track to dry out even more. As the race proper was about to get underway, Ghione spun and fell down the pack at turn one. Forced to race hard, the Striscia la Notizia reporter chased down the field and ended up tenth.
The green light paved the way for the battle to begin: Gai and Villa clashed coming out of turn one. The Ligurian driver came off worst and slipped down to fifth while the Rosso Corsa star was able to stay out front. Cedric Sbirrazzuoli tried to catch leader Gai but strayed off the track and into fourth.
Baldi managed to catch Gai, from Lombardy, on lap four to move into the lead. Cordoni was back in seventh and had just posted the fastest lap time when he spun and dropped a few places. On lap six with the fight for first place as tight as ever, Gai collided with Casè and both had to pull into the pits within a few laps of each other for repairs.
The tempo was high and the race a hard-fought one: it was now that Sbirrazzuoli caught and overtook leader Baldi. Just behind him came a combative group of Villa, Ardagna, Grassi and Andrina Gugger.
A few laps later, the Radio Monte Carlo car driven by Paolo Ciccarone was forced to pull up. Meanwhile, Ardagna and Villa continued their private battle with Sbirrazzuoli leading and Baldi chasing him hard until a back marker held him up.
The top two places may have been sewn up but things were still up for grabs further down the field. Gaetano Ardagna had got the better of an aggressive Andrina Gugger and Villa had profited from a Grassi mistake at the very last turn to snatch fifth; Cordoni also made the most of Grassi’s error. In eighth came Piancastelli followed by Doeblin (second in the Team standings), Ghione, Segler, Pawlicek (third in the Team series), De Leener, Csizser and Toth.
The quickest lap was set by Manuel Villa (1:58.429).
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