Bertolini pockets the last Trofeo race
Behind Baldi came Piancastelli then Villa, La Mazza, Ardagna, Macari and Frazza. In the Team series, it was too close to call between Durante (Swiss Team) and Chionna (AF Corse).
Francesco La Mazza, after doing well in Race 1, seemed intent on also playing a decisive role in Race 2. This saw him defending his position from Ardagna’s probing as Ardagna tired not to lose too much ground on Piancastelli. Ardagna eventually shrugged off the driver from Catania at the Scarperia and then turned up the heat. The same couldn’t be said of Sergio Remondino who ended up in the sand at the Bucine after clashing with Olivier Doeblin. However, the Autosprint director, appearing as a guest the weekend alongside Alberto Sabbattini, managed to get back into the race.
This incident aside, Doeblin sniffed out and made the most of the chance to overtake Segler on lap six. With Bertolini and Pier Guidi alone up front, Baldi, Piancastelli and Villa were close to each other and Ardagna, even with a damaged car, was closing in on the trio lap after lap. On lap ten, Bertolini led from Pier Guidi, Baldi, Piancastelli, Villa, Ardagna, La Mazza, Macari, Frazza, Durante, Chionna, Doeblin, Segler, Carbone, Gallina, Remondino, Foster and De Leener. By now, the pit stop window was open and Bertolini was the first to pull in.
With the pit stops being made, the standings were constantly changing. When all the stops had been made, the penalty communications started coming through: 1”674 to Bertolini, 4”128 to Durante, 6”624 to Pier Guidi, 9”903 to Gallina. The Italian was also hit with a driver through, as was David Baldi. Baldi made another mistake in crossing the white line earlier than he should have when leaving the pits. Adrien De Leener’s race ended on lap 16 when the Dutchman ended up in the gravel at Arrabbiata 1.
One lap later Bertolini retook the lead when he stole past Pier Guidi. Doeblin did the same to Chionna, giving the standings a new look on lap 19: Bertolini, Pier Guidi, Piancastelli, Ardagna, Villa, Baldi, La Mazza, Macari, Frazza, Durante, Doeblin, Segler, Carboni, Gallina, Chionna, Forster, Remondino. Manuel Villa, had taken a great second-placed finish in the 500 Abarth just a few minutes before climbing into the Trofeo. Convinced he was in second after reading the pit wall info, he didn’t take too much notice of Baldi’s attacks. But, when the Albenga driver realised that he had been in third, he tried to chase down the new Trofeo champion but couldn’t catch him. Pier Guidi found a way past Bertolini on lap 21 but the FIA GT1 champion moved back into the lead two laps later.
The last talking point came when Macari damaged a tyre on the penultimate lap to lose two positions. This was when the chequered flag came out to define the final race order, one that would be affected by the penalties accumulated by the drivers after making their pit stops. In the end, victory went to Andrea Bertolini, who came third overall. Nicolò Piancastelli finished second, followed by Alessandro Pier Guidi, Gaetano Ardagna and David Baldi. Sixth went to Villa, then came La Mazza, Frazza, Segler, Macari, Carbone, Gallina, Forster, Remondino and De Leener. In the Team series, the win went to Olivier Doeblin (Scuderia Jolly Club, ninth in the Trofeo) ahead of Davide Durante (Swiss Team) and Alessandro Chionna (AF Corse).
Pier Guidi takes Race 1
Before the green light was shown, De Leener had a problem starting his car’s engine and was given a push into the pit lane. When the cars had lined up on the grid, the race officials decided that they were not lined up properly and so ordered another formation lap before giving the off. Before that could happen, Durante pointed his car into the pit lane and retired a little later.
Gaetano Ardagna got off to a phenomenal start when the race eventually got underway, managing to overtake both Bertolini and Pier Guidi to move into seventh. Sbirrazzuoli also ran a great first lap and edged past Baldi. However, he didn’t stay long in front of the Monaco driver and was overtaken at the final curve. Bertolini and Pier Guidi soon reeled in and overtook Ardagna while a close battle was taking place between Piancastelli and Villa. As they were so intent on taking each other on, the gap between them and the leaders grew. On lap 5, Bertolini, eighth overall, held a 1”5 second advantage over Pier Guidi. Next came Ardagna, Sbirrazzuoli, Piancastelli, Villa, Baldi and Venier.
After a cautious start Adrian Newey was winding things up and beginning his private tussle with Francesco La Mazza. Ahead of them was Alberto Sabbatini who, after making a confident start, was trying to pull away even though his Trofeo had suffered some damage. By lap 11, with twenty minutes on the clock, the window opened for the drivers to make their 45” pit stops. First in was Bertolini, followed by Baldi and Sabbatini. Baldi’s race didn’t last much longer and he was soon forced to pull out with a rear axle problem. Halfway down the field Segler spun coming out of Arrabbiata 2. His car careered dangerously across the track where Doeblin did amazingly well to swerve clear of the German.
While all this was going on, race officials let Manuel Villa know that he would be slapped with a 1”197 penalty and also called Venier in for a drive through. Things were getting interesting and a number of duels were taking place along the five kilometre track. Battles between Bertolini and Pier Guidi, Piancastelli and Villa, and La Mazza and Newey kept everyone glued o the action. As ever, the tussles were tight but the drivers lap times slacked off too. Andreas Segler strayed off the track at Borgo San Lorenzo but managed to stay in the race. A crash involving Italian GT entrants meant that the safety car was called for just 5’16” from the end of the race. When it went off, only 1’20” was left to run down. Apart from Pier Guidi, who held a comfortable lead, the restart set off a free for all. Sbirrazzuoli sneaked past Bertolini but then could do nothing as Maserati’s official driver hit back to claim a spot he held until the chequered flag. The only driver caught out was Francesco La Mazza. On cold brakes, he overshot San Donato and lost his fourth place in the Trofeo. So, victory went to Alessandro Pier Guidi from Andrea Bertolini and Cedric Sbirrazzuoli.
Fourth spot (first in the Trofeo as neither Pier Guidi nor Bertolini earn championship points) was taken by Gaetano Ardagna. Next up came Piancastelli and Villa. A battling Adrian Newey secured seventh in front of Tiziano Frazza and Francesco La Mazza. The Director of Autosprint magazine, Alberto Sabbatini, finished tenth after letting things slip a little in the closing stages. Segler ended up eleventh despite two unfortunate episodes and held off Olivier Doeblin and Franco Gallina, who finished second and third, respectively, in the Team series. Occupying the final spots in the classification were Guenther Forster, Adrian De Leener and Fabio Venier.
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