Sunday, October 26, 2014

Italian GT: Fourteen rounds later, the final word on who the Italian kings are isn't out yet...

Audi Sport Italia Press Release

• Marco Mapelli, Thomas Schoeffler's Audi is Monza race two runner-up, but penalty puts Italian Gran Turismo drivers title in jeopardy
• Dindo Capello and Emanuele Zonzini in seventh place in season finale after early drive-through

Monza, Italy – Regardless of who was shooting for the final season race win, Monza today was set to be a standoff between the Audi duo Marco Mapelli, Thomas Schoeffler and Scuderia Baldini Ferrari's Raffaele Giammaria paired with Lorenzo Case. Level on points before the decider, there was no need for brainstorming or tweaking a strategy: the pair that would finish in front of the rivals was sure to claim the crown. The #27 458 Italia only succeeded to do so in seven out of twenty-seven laps, in a race ultimately clinched by Tomas Enge, Francesco Sini's Camaro. Homeboy Mapelli's R8 LMS Ultra crossed the finish line as runner-up but Giammaria --who came home third-- and the #6 Audi had tussled in the final seconds of a nailbiting round. Mapelli had pushed to the limit his car throughout, but late in the race he struggled to fend off the archrival. Interestingly the #27 Ferrari didn't even need to overtake Mapelli, the latter having to add a 1.524s time penalty to his race time for having jumped the gun when he resumed the race after the pit-stop. But at the Roggia Esses Giammaria hit Mapelli's rear end and lost ground, allowing the Monza-based driver and Schoeffler to finish second and win the championship. However after the dust settled the Stewards heeded Giammaria's call over Mapelli's alleged blocking and docked him 10 seconds, which made him slip to third place, losing the title in the process. Audi Sport Italia immediately filed an appeal to the provision, whose outcome will not be known shortly. As it is, the Italian Audi outfit hadn't complained when Mapelli's team mate Schoeffler had his effort hindered by another Ferrari driver, Gigi Ferrara, who blatantly blocked the German during his initial stint. Apparently it was a day meant to see Audis and Ferraris rolling the dice, as another Ferrari contender (although a long shot, laying well behind both Mapelli and Giammaria in the table) got into a tussle with Dindo Capello, who served a drive-through penalty before relinquishing the driving duties to Emanuele Zonzini, who wound up in P7.

Race two:
1. Enge-Sini (Chevrolet) 27 laps 50:49.735s
2.* Case'-Giammaria (Ferrari)
4. Carboni-Beretta (Porsche)
5. Ferrara-Magli (Ferrari)

1.*Giammaria-Case' 131 points
5. Benucci 113 pts.
6. Balzan 98 pts.
7. Ferrara 89 pts.

Photo credit: Audi Sport Italia