Monday, January 26, 2015

Italian GT: 2014 title decision heading to FIA International Court of Appeal for Audi Sport Italia

By Johan Laubscher

The 2014 Italian GT Championship title still remains undecided for Audi Sport Italia and their #6 Audi R8 LMS ultra driving duo of Thomas Schöffler and Marco Mapelli.

The Italian Audi dealer team's drivers had been crowned as the 2014 Italian GT driver's champions, but a final lap incident at Monza saw them receiving a ten second post-race penalty. This dropped them to third position in the race, thus losing the title to Giammaria Raffaele and Casè Lorenzo in the #27 Ferrari 458 Italia GT3.

Audi Sport Italia immediately protested the decision of the penalty. The appeal hearing was postponed until 20 January 2015 with the National Court of Appeals in Italy. By Friday their decision was communicated and it stated that the penalty will be upheld and that the results would remain unchanged.

Following the National decision the news has emerged that Audi Sport Italia will be taking their case to the FIA International Court of Appeal. Emilio Radaelli and his Audi Sport Italia team are able to do this, because they are registered as a team from San Marino, thus making them a "foreign" team competing in the Italian GT Championship. This allows them to take their case to the FIA International Court of Appeal.

This entire process began with the final lap incident at Monza last year.

Monza was the scene for the final round of the 2014 Italian GT Championship and the title came down to the final lap of the final race.

Marco Mapelli was running second in the race and heading towards the title, but he was closely pursued by the title contending #27 Ferrari 458 Italia GT3 of Giammaria Raffaele and Casè Lorenzo.

Marco Mapelli braked very late coming into the second chicane (Seconda Variante). He managed to make the corner, but the Ferrari hit the Audi from behind during the incident and suffered damage, limping to the finish line in third.

It was originally a second place finish for Thomas Schöffler and Marco Mapelli, which was enough to crown them as the 2014 Italian GT Champions, but they were later given a ten second penalty for the final lap incident.

The ten second penalty dropped the Audi duo to third place and they lost the title to the #27 Ferrari driving crew of  Giammaria Raffaele and Casè Lorenzo.

The official Audi Sport Italia press release from the Monza finale can be seen HERE.

The final outcome of the 2014 Italian GT Championship driver's title remains to be seen and it will be decided by the FIA International Court of Appeal.

Photo credit: Audi Sport Italia