Saturday, October 25, 2014

Italian GT: Thomas Schöffler, Marco Mapelli headed to Italian Gran Turismo Monza decider alone on top of the points standings

Audi Sport Italia Press Release

  • #6 R8 LMS ultra duo puts in gritty, solid drive in next-to-last round  
  • Jinxed Dindo Capello, Emanuele Zonzini seek Top3 finish tomorrow
Monza, Italy – Today, Audi standard-bearers Marco Mapelli and Thomas Schoeffler had only eyes for a 458 Italia in the next-to-last Italian Gran Turismo round. It was neither the #9 Ferrari (Alessandro Balzan-Nicola Benucci) that led early on nor the #36 Ferrari that ultimately took Alex Frassineti and Stefano Costantini to the chequered flag as winners. Rather, they had chalked up as their target the #27 Ferrari, whose drivers Raffaele Gianmaria and Lorenzo Case before Monza were sharing the series lead level on points with them at 111 points each. Mapelli laid down a solid backstop for Audi success today grabbing a front row spot seat next to Balzan, but ahead of archrival Giammaria. At the ultra-quick historic venue the Monza-based Italian drove flawlessly to keep at bay the Scuderia Baldini star until the mandatory pit-stop, leaving the steering to Schoeffler as race runnerup. The Singen-based young gun resumed the race fourth--due to a 15-second time penalty triggered by  their successful outings at Imola a fortnight ago--but importantly ahead of Giammaria team mate Case'. Lap by lap Schoeffler pulled away from the Ferrari, which on the final lap was also overtaken by Tomas Enge's Camaro, as Schoeffler secured the fourth position.

The German-Italian couple will therefore go to Sunday decider leading their rivals by three points, albeit they're level on points if two results are discarded as the sporting regulations mandate. Should they finish level on points, the crown will be tilted toward the Audi pair, who have posted two victories against one. Gameplans will be made easier tomorrow for Schoeffler, who starts from row three, whilst Casé and Benucci Ferraris will be forced to seek a rally from row five. It may well be the case that the Audi duo with more chances to climb the podium steps tomorrow will be Dindo Capello and Emanuele Zonzini. The 3-time Le Mans winner will start from row two after having posted the fastest GT3 lap ever for an R8 LMS ultra at Monza, in a session that saw pole sitting Mirko Bortolotti's Lambo sign off the best GT3 lap ever. Today the #5 Audi wound up in P8: Zonzini on lap six was drawn into a tussle by a rival and he and Capello were forced to limp to the finish with a stricken car.

Race one: 
1. Frassineti-Costantini (Ferrari)
27 laps, 50:39.267s
2. Pezzucchi (Porsche)
3. Balzan-Benucci (Ferrari)
5. Sini-Enge (Chevrolet)

3. Giammaria-Case' 116 pts.
4. Benucci 110 pts.
5. Balzan 95 pts.
6. Ferrara 82 pts.

Photo credit: Audi Sport Italia