Monza GT Open Race 1

Bamford-Griffin (AE Ferrari) Win an Incredible and Thrilling Pro-Am Race in Monza !• The British-Irish pair emerges victorious from superb duel in thelast laps with the SunRed of Fernández-Aicart• Longo-Serra (RCA Ferrari) complete unusual podium• Bad day for the front-runners but draw at the top: Montermini-Maceratesi and Lietz-Roda both with 133 points!• Cioci-Pellizzato (Corvette) dominate in GTS

Anyone who betted and got right the final result of today’s Pro-Am race must be a richman by now! The first race of the Monza GT Open offered a thrilling show and apodium difficult to predict: Briton Peter Bamford and Irishman Matt Griffin won, at thewheel of their Advanced Engineering Ferrari F430, after a thrilling final duel betweenthe young Irishman and José Manuel Pérez-Aicart, who together with Óscar Fernándezbrought the Sun Red SR 21 to a rewarding second place. Third spot were for BraziliansFrancisco Longo and Daniel Serra in the RCA-prepared Ferrari F430.

The tactical choice for early pit-stops was key today, in a race partly influenced by asafety-car period and a number of various incidents which hit the front-runners.Montermini-Maceratesi (Playteam) had their race ruined by a puncture and anagonizing tyre as a result of a race contact was also the cause of Lietz-Roda’s poorday. The Austro-Italian pair managed to save an eighth position, which means twopoints and ... a perfect draw at the top of the championship: both teams will go intotomorrow’s GT Open race with 133 points, in a fight for the title that could not betighter.

The Corvette of Cioci-Pellizzato took the laurels in the GTS category for the thirdtime, ahead of the Villois Aston of Romanini-Azzoli and the Ferrari of Giudici-Raimondi.

THE RACEMontermini keeps the advantage at the start, preceding Aguas, Pompidou, Couceiro,Chacón, Pasini, Roda, Rugolo and Frezza while Livio spins in the first chicane andPasini is pushed into the gravel. In lap 3, Frezza passes Roda who is touched at theback by Chacón and continues with body damage which will eventually bring the tyreto agony; one lap later, Pompidou passes Aguas for second. In lap 4, Montermini

explodes the left rear tyre and has to do a full lap at reduced speed before reachingthe box, losing any chance to score points.

Following the collision between Petrobelli (Konrad Porsche) and Piccolo (Villois Aston)in the Parabolica, the safety car is out (lap 9) to allow cleaning different points of thetrack from various debris. This will, of course, nullify gaps but also delay by fiveminutes the driver changes, while Aguas sends Rugolo into a spin and overtakesPompidou for the lead shortly after the restart, and also Carol is briefly in the lead. Inlap 15, Dumbreck who has taken over from Pompidou is off in the Parabolica and hitsthe tyre wall and after all driver changes, the situation is pretty unusual with theSunRed of Aicart leading ahead Griffin and a lively group composed of the two Edil Crisof Cressoni and Monfardini and the two Autorlando of Belicchi and Lietz. The fightends with the Austrian, which is striving to preserve an almost dead left rear tyre,being sent into a spin by Monfardini (who retires) while Belicchi gets a 20” penalty fornot respecting minimum pit stop time.

Nevertheless, the attention in the last laps is all for the superb duel between Aicartand Griffin, with the SunRed trying desperately to resiste to the attacks of theIrishman’s Ferrari. It’s almost a re-edition of the Villeneuve-Arnoux epic battle, withfrequent contacts and overtakes, from which Griffin will emerge as a victor afterpassing the Spaniard in the first ‘variante’ in the last lap.

In GTS, Giacomo Piccini gave a superb demonstration in his stint, before the Corvetteof Cioci-Pellizzato logically took over the lead after the pit stop, with a Villois Astonfinishing again second (Romanini-Azzoli) and Giudici-Raimondi clinching third, afterPampló went out without brakes in the Parabolica in the final laps.QUALIFYING 1

First qualifying session was dominated by the Ferrari F430, with Andrea Montermini(Playteam) setting the pole in 1.49.007, ahead of Rui Aguas (who was the first of fourAdvanced cars in the top 9), but with the Autorlando Porsche not very far, as Gianluca Rodasat up an excellent third time, within a second from the pole. In GTS, no surpirse, as AndreaPellizzato put the Corvette in pole (1.51.201) ahead of the Mik Lambo of Piccini and the RogerFerrari of Julià. The Villois Aston of Wiser-Piccolo did not take part in the session, afterbreaking the transmission yesterday.

HANDICAPS RACE 1#1 Lietz-Roda (Autorlando Porsche): 15”#2 Zonca-Belicchi (Autorlando Porsche): 10”#4 Giao-Couceiro (Playteam Ferrari): 5”#21 Monfardini-Frezza (Edil Cris Ferrari): 5”#36 Gabbiani-Bonaldi (Edil Cris Ferrari): 15”#37 Edwards-Moro (Himag Porsche): 15”#39 Petrobelli-Ricci (Konrad Porsche): 10”#55 Piccini-Garofano (Mik Lambo): 45”#57 Wiser-Piccolo (Villois Aston): 40”#58 Taddeo-Rossi (Mik Lambo): 30”#60 Julià-Pampló (Roger Ferrari): 20”#65 Pellizzato-Cioci (Twentwytwo Corvette): 45”#82 Cerruti-Ferraris (Ferrari): 20”