Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Italian GT: Bevy of Monza bad breaks make Audi Sport Italian drivers miss Top 3 finishes

Audi Sport Italia Press Release

Round three of the Italian Gran Turismo at historic Monza circuit propelled Marco Mapelli and Andrea Amici to a third straight fitfth place in a meeting with a crowded field of 40 cars--mostly GT3s-- a nice comeback effort from a P13 starting position.

Amici kicked-off the weekend in P10 but he recovered a couple of places over the unfolding of the race. When team mate Mapelli took over a gritty run allowed the homeboy--Mapelli lives nearby in Monza--to take advantage of a run-in between Joel Camathias' Porsche and Matteo Beretta's Ferrari, then fending off in the final laps the latter charge to the Audi that rounded out the Top5. Meanwhile Emanuele Zonzini, who started from row five, ran out of trouble after a near-miss in a chaotic start to leave then Dindo Capello fought hard to keep at a safe distance the attempts of Vallelunga winning Ferrari (driven by Gattuso-Casé) to snatch the eight place from 3-time Le Mans winner until the chequered flag.

Sunday's race was very anticipated by Audi drivers as Mapelli was sitting on the front row next to the Lamborghini of Mirko Bortolotti and Alberto Viberti who sweeped the Monza races, as second row was Dindo Capello starting spot. However, chaos at the green light and jumped starts that weren't disciplined had Mapelli in P5 and Capello in P6 at the end of the opening lap. Capello's smooth drive kept at bay Beretta's Ferrari until the pit stop, but the business-as-usual procedure this time out risked to trigger havoc as race engineer Riccardo Villa was bruised as the R8 LMS ultra No6 bumped into him. As Villa was sent to the medical centre for a quick check up and soon dismissed, poor Zonzini resumed the race a bit shaken as well as having had to stay in the pit lane a tenth of un-scheduled seconds beyond the mandatory time. Nonetheless, he was able to drive effectively home in P6--yet the best finish for the jinxed Capello-Zonzini this year. Woes were in store also for their team mates, as Mapelli, after driving as high as third on lap 11 after a spectacular outside move on Niccolò Schirò's Ferrari relinquished back the spot one lap later and handed the driving duties to Amici in P4. The Rome-based young gun had just warmed up for a Top3 chase that a transmission problem left him stuck at the first chicane with former Audi driver Alex Frassineti's Ferrari left with no room to avoid the Audi: the crash outcome forced both unlucky drivers to retire, with Audi Sport Italia's first 2015 Top3 finish still a tantalizing target.

Amici and Mapelli still rank as Audi Sport Italia best crew in the drivers' tables in P6, albeit 35 points adrift of the Lamborghini leading pair.

Photo credit: Audi Sport Italia