For the Veneto-based driver this was the first victory of the season in Maserati’s single-make series after what has been a bright start. This morning’s race was not as eventful as yesterday’s with the drivers very close to each other in terms of performance.
It was another warm start for the drivers with Ragazzi taking an early lead from Kuppens, Romagnoli and Sernagiotto. Things were tight but Sernagiotto did well to leapfrog Romagnoli to take third.
The excitement levels were rising in the middle of the pack as the twenty-five drivers negotiated the tricky Imola circuit. One of the duels going on was between El Marnissi and Waszczinski and when the Moroccan attacked the Konvex Racing driver at Tosa, they clashed. The contact caused the Belgian to lose control of his car and he went into a spin.
The incident spiced things up on the track as oncoming drivers only just missed crashing into them. Luckily, nothing happened.
Up front, the top five were within 5 seconds of each other with sixth-place Pigoli not far behind. Sernagiotto was doing his best to harass Kuppens but the Belgian once again kept his cool and defended his spot.
In the meantime, on lap six, race officials hauled Tadlaoui in for a drive-through for overtaking when the yellow flag was out.
The tempo in the lead group was by now very high, almost hitting qualifying levels. Ragazzi was still leading but his advantage had been cut and the top four were now within 1”3.
Lap 11 was the one where the race order really changed with all the action taking place between Piratella and Acque Minerali. Sernagiotto, making the most of the back markers, pulled alongside Kuppens as he was accelerating out of Tosa. The two cars nudged each other, only lightly, and the Italian this time managed to sneak ahead of his rival. Romagnoli also tried his luck on the provisional series leader and went for it at Acque Minerali. The move didn’t pay off because Kuppens closed the door on the Italian and because Romagnoli spun out of the running. Kuppens managed to keep going but the two up front had stretched into a bigger lead. However, the Belgian’s luck turned when a back marker spun at the Variante Alta, forcing the two leaders off the track to avoid a crash. This allowed Kuppens to close in.
In the middle of the pack, Chionna (AF Corse) overtook Sabbatini, the Autosprint director in the Bowers & Wilkins VIP Car, to claim tenth. Attention soon switched to the leaders again as Sernagiotto challenged Ragazzi for the win but his bid for victory was ruined by the laboured lapping of Thomas Herpell on lap twelve.
As far as changes to the race order go, that was it until the chequered flag. So, Riccardo Ragazzi sealed the win from Giorgio Sernagiotto and Renaud Kuppens (Konvex Racing). Fourth went to Max Pigoli on his Trofeo debut for Swiss Team. Next came Venier and Garelli, who performed convincingly on his home track. Davide Durante took seventh with a healthy gap over El Marnissi and Richard Denny. Alessandro Chionna (AF Corse) made tenth his own, ahead of Alessandro Sabbatini and Ismail Sbai. Andreas Segler and Guenther Forster, from Austria, were the last of the entrants to complete the full lap quota; the lapped drivers were Herpell, Rasmussen, Pierre Marie De Leener, Nicolucci, Pawlicek and Csiszer.