Pier Guidi’s win does not spoil Baldi’s party
Right from the start it was clear that Bertolini and Pier Guidi (who were testing new brake materials) were pacy and were soon up into sixth and seventh overall. Even so, Piancastelli, Baldi, Ardagna and Villa were close behind and matching the lead pair’s times. The driver from Albenga was soon overtaken by Smurra who then chased down Gaetano Ardagna.
Just before the start of lap ten, Pier Guidi attacked and overtook Bertolini to take top spot in a carbon copy of what happened in Race 1. Nicolò Piancastelli, in third, was posting some good times and defending a healthy lead over Baldi, Ardagna and Smurra. Smurra and Ardagna were really going at it on lap ten: Smurra edged past Ardagna but had too much pace going into a curve and left a big enough gap for the Venezuelan to retake his place. Now in the lead, Pier Guidi tried to stretch out to gain an advantage before pulling in for his obligatory stop.
On lap 13 the race leader steered his car into the pits for his 45” stop, as per the regulations in these final two rounds. The driver from Tortona was followed in by Davide Durante and, a lap later, by Baldi and Smurra. Bertolini and Ardagna left their stop until lap 16. With all the stops made, race officials began to communicate the penalties the drivers had picked up during their stops: 3”321 to Bertolini for not fully respecting the stop time and 25” to Forster and Bertolini for exceeding the maximum speed in the pit lane. The penalties would be added to the final times and so took a little bit of excitement away from the battle between Pier Guidi and Bertolini.
The world FIA GT1 champion was still pushing hard. Making the most of some back marker traffic, he caught and overtook Pier Guidi but then could only watch as he lost first place again on lap 28. It was clear that the two leaders were enjoying themselves and putting on a show for the fans. At the chequered flag, the two Maseratis came in seventh and eighth overall with Bertolini first, Pier Guidi second, Piancastelli third, Baldi fourth and Ardagna fifth. Obviously, Bertolini’s penalty kicked in and he was relegated to third. With today’s second spot in the Trofeo, David Baldi is crowned the Drivers’ champion with a round to spare. Davide Durante (Swiss Team) came home sixth and was the first in the Team series, seventh went to Alessandro Chionna (AF Corse) and eighth to Massimo Arduini. Occupying the last top ten slots were Olivier Doeblin (Scuderia Jolly Club) and Andreas Segler.
AF Corse secure the Team title; Baldi closes in on the Drivers' crown
The leading two aside, the Trofeo group was compact. Only Cerati's Ferrari, from the Italian GT, split the Maseratis. Sbirrazzuoli, in the AF Corse car, tried to edge away from a Piancastelli who was overtaken by Ardagna. The Venezuelan also put Cerati behind him one lap later with a decisive move at Roma and attempted to put some space between his car and Piancastelli's.
The title contenders were, on the one hand, being careful to avoid making any mistakes and, on the other, doing their best to climb through a field in which Pier Guidi and Bertolini were guests. Baldi, sitting on a 20 point lead overall, was steering well clear of any trouble.
Up front Bertolini and Pier Guidi were both stepping on the gas but, on lap ten, Tortona's Pier Guidi found a way past Maserati's official driver. Behind them filed Sbirrazzuoli, Ardagna, Piancastelli, Baldi, Smurra, Villa, Grassi, Doeblin, Riveroll, Segler, De Giovanni and Forster.
Nicolò Piancastelli, on lap 13, was the first to pull into the pits for his obligatory stop. He was soon followed by Manuel Villa. When he came back out, Piancastelli was hobbling very slowly around the track. Smurra and Pier Guidi, who was up into fifth overall, pitted a lap later, as did Bertolini. Baldi came in on lap 15 just as the race lost one of its stars as Nicolò Piancastelli pulled into the pits and retired. Just a lap later it was the turn of Gaetano Ardagna. The Venezuelan was involved in a pit lane collision with Riveroll and Baldi. For Ardagna and Riveroll, the race was over but Baldi was able to push on as his car had taken only a slight beating.
The race order didn't change from here on but the overall classification did. Alessandro Pier Guidi (seventh overall) took the chequered flag ahead of Andrea Bertolini (eighth overall). Behind the two Maserati drivers from the Superstars Series came Cedric Sbirrazzuoli, a finish that saw AF Corse clinch the Team title. The fourth placed Trofeo driver, seeing as Bertolini and Pier Guidi do not claim any championship points, was David Baldi. Next up was Emanuele Smurra (the second placed Team driver), Manuel Villa (thirteenth overall), Matteo Grassi (Swiss Team), Olivier Doeblin (Scuderia Jolly Club) and German driver Andreas Segler, who made his first ever Trofeo Maserati podium. Massimiliano De Giovanni and Guenther Forster brought up the rear.
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