Coppa Intereuropa Storica
June 5th 2009 - June 6th 2009
Hopes were high for a successful race meeting at Monza this year. With 20 cars expected on the grid, including the fabulous Mercedes C9 flown in from Australia, the prospects were looking very good.
The Friday programme was for two free practice sessions and then one 30 minute qualification but the heavens to open during the qualification session and totally flooded the circuit. Most drivers pull in in these conditions but there was one who had another idea. Stefano Rosina was in Kent Abrahamsson’s Ford Maxum, which Kent had very generously offered to share following problems with Stefano’s Spice in practice. But Stefano needed to do 3 laps to qualify for the race and he decided that come what may he would succeed eventually returning to the pit to be welcomed by a hearty round of applause from all present, something he clearly appreciated judging by the wide grin on his face. These Italians!
Several other cars had problems that needed fixing but probably the “Major Effort of the Meeting” award goes to the Damax team who had to carry out two Cosworth engine removal and re-installs to keep the Paul Livesey and Duncan McKay cars in the hunt
The bad news was that as a result of no shows and mechanical gremlins the grid was down to 12 cars for the 90 minute enduro. This level of support, or rather lack of it, causes many problems, not least because of the damage to the credibility of the series in the eyes of both the circuit and potential new competitors.
In the race there were a series of problems for a number of the runners but the pit crews worked valiantly to keep their charges running with varying degrees of success. The overall victors were Gareth Evans and Bob Berridge in the now very rapid Nissan R88C with the unfortunate pairing of Herve Regout and Andrew Haddon running out of gas whilst in the lead with 3 laps to go. Just like Group C racing in period! Their consolation prize was P3 and a very happy Simon Wright climbed onto the P2 spot for his first ever podium.
Race 2 on Sunday started with 10 cars. Richard Chester’s Tiga had suffered terminal engine detonation and Duncan Mckay’s Gebhardt, new to the series and just re-built, had an upright issue that rendered it hors de combat. But never mind. We were to be treated to a major confrontation up at the front for 30 minutes between Wayne Park in Rob Sherrards Porsche 962 and Bob Berridge in Paul Wight’s Aston Martin AMR1. These two were never more than a second or so apart for the entire race with the lead swapping from Bob to Wayne at about half distance. It started to look like that would be it until the pair of them came to lap Don Miles in his Jaguar XJR5 in the Ascari chicane on the last lap.
This caused a slight frisson that resulted in the gap disappearing and the two cars running side by side into Parabolica. Views vary on exactly what occurred but Bob emerged to win whilst Wayne was in the gravel on the outside of the corner, an unfortunate result after pushing his 962 to 307 KPH several times during the tussle. But this battle did do a lot to restore respect for the series in the eyes of all who were spectating.
All of those who took part in the meeting thoroughly enjoyed themselves and we are now looking forward to being a major presence at Silverstone in July.
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