Romagnoli seals the first Trofeo winRiccardo Romagnoli claimed the first 2012 Maserati Trofeo GranTurismo MC World Series race. Starting on pole at Jarama, the Roman drove a consistent race that allowed him to build up a big enough lead to hold off Cedric Sbirrazzuoli's push towards the end.
The violent downpour that hit the circuit half an hour before the race led the officials to start the drivers behind the safety car. All the drivers had mounted wet tyres but Kuppens gambled on slicks and pulled into the pits for a new set, a move that saw the Konvex driver fall from third on the grid to the back of the field.
The safety car pulled into the pits on lap two and the race proper got underway: Romagnoli moved into a lead from Sbirrazzuoli, Venier, Simoni and Dromedari. Hernandez got off to a fantastic start to move into seventh just behind Australian Denny, who had lined up in eleventh.
With Venier having to pull out, Hernandez continued to push and got past Denny to take fifth. The wet surface was having an effect and rewarded drivers who gambled more.
Sbirrazzuoli was second, seven seconds off Romagnoli. Next came Simoni and Dromedari in a battle for third, with fifth contested between Hernandez and Denny. Things changed on lap 13 when Denny edged past the driver in the Bowers & Wilkins VIP car. Meanwhile, Dromedari was hogging Simoni’s rear view mirrors but the Swiss Team man could not faze the driver in front of him.
After a bright start, Hernandez was caught and overtaken by Sbai and Fascicolo. Kuppens’ bid to gain an edge by swapping tyres had failed as the track did not dry out and he was lapping much slower than the rest: his fastest lap was 1:58.199 compared to Sbirrazzuoli’s 1:50.853. The Monaco-based driver’s strategy was to keep his tyres in good shape for a final assault and he pulled right into Romagnoli’s slipstream over the last two laps.
However, the export Roman driver did not lose his cool and held off the AF Corse man. At the chequered flag the two were separated by just .137. Behind them, 22.3 seconds down, came Alan Simoni with Andrea Dromedari (Swiss Team) eight tenths further back. Richard Denny really held his own to come home fifth. He crossed the line just up on a pack of drivers bunched within ten seconds of each other. Sixth place went to Ismail Sbai whose series of quick laps put him in a position to attack the Australian for fifth. The Moroccan finished ahead of Giuseppe Fascicolo, Jaime Hernandez and Tiziano Cappelletti. Fabrizio Macchitella eventually crossed the line in tenth after sitting in seventh for a while. Just behind him was El Marnissi, from Morocco, who had pushed through the field following a difficult start.
Alberto Vescovi finished in twelfth after starting from the very back; he put on a solid display on his return to the Maserati Trofeo after competing in the Middle East. The Italian headed the Dane Rasmussen, German Herpell and Carlos Rodriguez, in fifteenth. Next came Daniel Waszczinski (Konvex Racing), Adrien de Leener, Anita Toth, Alberto Nicolucci and Renaud Kuppens (Konvex Racing).
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