Mugello Classic 2 Litre Cup delivers nose to tail thriller

Mugello Classic 2 Litre Cup delivers nose to tail thriller

FOR FIRST ROUND AT MUGELLO CLASSIC

The sixth season of 2 Litre Cup opened triumphantly with an absolute humdinger of a race in perfect conditions at the home of the Tuscan Grand Prix, l’Autodromo del Mugello, in the hills about Florence this last weekend.


The paddock gathered on Thursday and Friday for scrutineering and driver briefings with the new format of just two days’ activity proving popular amongst the assembled cast, as was the reconfirmation of the rule freeze for the next three seasons, and the limited number of just five new, unbuffed tyres.


Practice was held in rather English conditions – damp but drying with the Tuthill-prepared 911 of Elite-graded drivers Seb Perez and George Gamble coming out on top, an impressive 2 seconds faster.


Qualifying was closer with the Jordan car of Gentleman driver James Thorpe and former Carrera Cup GB Champion Phil Quaife putting it on pole for Jordan Racing Team. More impressive still, the grid times are set on the average of each driver’s fastest lap so Thorpe really earned the position. Perez & Gamble were second with Tuthill’s Bon Grimes 4th overall and top Gentleman class driver, a superb 1.4 seconds from pole.


Sunday’s race started on time at lunchtime, with Gamble starting alongside Quaife. The two British pro drivers put on an exemplary display, trading fastest lap times as they ran nose to tail for the first 40 minutes, never more than a few car lengths apart at the most. 


The Gentleman driver battle was equally absorbing with ScottSport’s new driver Christian Coll, Grimes and 2022 Champion Lukas Bucher trading places, cleanly and frequently. Also starring at this point was former ADAC GT racer Jürg Aeberhard, driving from last on the grid up to lead by the midpoint, impressive stuff indeed.


The pit stops would see the order rearrange a little with Thorpe emerging ahead of Perez after a shorter pit stop as Gentleman driver. Perez was not having it and chased his fellow Briton down relentlessly, closing in and in until he eventually passed him around the outside under braking into Turn 1.


Grimes had enjoyed a quicker middle section of the race – the classic ‘overcut’ – and started the second half of the race just three seconds in the lead of the Gentleman class from Coll. Bon got his head down and increased the gap to seven seconds at the flag, a really fine performance to start his 2023 campaign.


Alas, Thorpe’s afternoon was cut short with just two laps to go after his engine died and he had to park in the pits. Perez’ hard work was rewarded as he stroked his beautiful Morris Minor blue 911 to the flag, the perfect start to his 2023 campaign.


Bucher’s brilliant opening stint did the trick with his ace team mate David Verzijlbergen putting in the perfect second half to take second overall ahead of Grimes, Coll, ever-improving Californian David Danglard and popular Italians Frédéric and Guido Di Egidio.


Back in the paddock, the mood was upbeat as happy competitors bathed in the Spring sunshine and talked through their various excitements.  With six new cars and more coming for Round 2 at Spa-Francorchamps next month, the series is in good health.


Special mention must go to this weekend’s winner of Spirit of the Weekend – Jan Hunger, who finished his first race ever with us this weekend. After a baptism of fire in testing in 2022, it was the greatest pleasure to see Jan enjoying a strong run from the lights to when he was called in to hand over to friend and well-known collector and publisher Christian Gläsel. “I did not want it to stop, I could have driven for hours,” said a beaming Jan in the paddock afterwards.


Here’s to many more, similarly happy weekends of 2 Litre Cup. A substantial and most genuine Thank You to all of our competitors, fans, organisers, marshalls and the hard-working teams – see you in Spa!

Results:

01   Seb PEREZ / George GAMBLE [77]
02   Lukas BUCHER/David VERZIJLBERGEN [411]
03   Bonamy GRIMES [116]
‍04   Christian COLL [53]
05   David DANGLARD  [15]
06   Frédéric DI EGIDIO/Guido DI EGIDIO [35]
07   Rémi TERRAIL/Jürg AEBERHARD [22]
08   Guy ZISER/Oli WEBB [777]
09   Christian TRABER/Nicolas TRABER [29]
10   Charles RUPP/François JAKUBOWSKI [23]
11   Sevgeny KIREEV/Ramzan ORUSBAEV [11]​​​​​​​
12   Philippe de CRAENE [55]​​​​​​​
13   Stephen EDWARDS/Matt NEAL [27]​​​​​​​
14   Syd COOMBES [40]​​​​​​​
15   James THORPE/Phil QUAIFE [99]​​​​​​​
16   Stan NOVAKOVIC [168]
17   Tarek MAHMOUD/Galal MAHMOUD [59]
18   Uwe KOLB/Patrick KOLB [82]
19   Christian GLÄSEL/Jan HUNGER [75]
20   Jussi ITAVUORI/Risto VIRTANEN [650]

Not classified:
Frank STRICKER [919]
Max MORITZ/Vincent KOLB [269]
Jürgen RUDOLPH/Heiko HAMMEL [757]

Spa
Friday & Saturday 12-13 May

Dijon
Friday & Saturday 2-3 June

Paul Ricard
Friday & Saturday 1-2 September

Estoril
Saturday & Sunday 7-8 October

There is also a Porsche only support race at the Le Mans Classic meeting in 2023, for which many series regulars have an entry.


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