Amici - A Man for all seasons
With bolts of lightening and teeming rain, race two was started under the Safety Car as the conditions at the hot and humid Spa circuit quickly changed in the minutes prior to the start. After two laps, the race proper got underway as the Safety Car left the track, with Andrea Amici, Adrian Zaugg and Leonardo Geraci edging away from the rest of the field in the first few racing laps.
The form followed much the same initial course as race one, with the two leading cars opening up a gap, albeit this time it was Amici in front, with Zaugg making the chase. Visibility in the spray was forcing drivers to keep gaps, but Zaugg, keen to employ his race strategy of taking a decent time advantage to the pit window, was urgently trying to find away past Amici for the lead.
Behind the leading pack, a man on the march in the wet conditions was another Imperiale driver, Andrea Palma, who was clearly relishing the blend of the weather and the demands of the 7km Spa circuit. Having started the race in 9th, within a handful of laps had found his way into fifth place with a series of audacious overtaking moves.
Leonardo Geraci held station in third, but all eyes were on Richard Chlad, who after a confident job in race one, was holding fourth place in spite of the conditions. Immediately behind was the ever-present Cédric Leimer and Fabian Hamprecht.
With a shortened first stint as a result of the Safety Car, Zaugg eventually found his way past Amici on lap 5 to take the race lead, but one lap later, the pit window opened. Consistent with the different strategies they employed in yesterday’s race, Amici elected to box early, while Zaugg pressed on, eager to build a cushion to pass on to his team-mate.
As the race approached the halfway stage, a brightening horizon suggested drier conditions might prevail, especially with warm ambient temperatures that would allow the track to dry quickly. In the event, however, it was a brief interlude as more rain arrived and remained falling until the end of the race.
By the time the pit window had closed, Zaugg’s team-mate Federico De Nora emerged in the lead, but only by a small margin of around 3 seconds. Amici immediately set about closing down the advantage and by lap 10, the Italian was once again at the head of the field. De Nora progressively slipped into the grasp of Geraci, Chlad and Leimer in the challenging conditions.
Behind the leaders, Composit Motorsport’s Alberto Viberti was also having a storming race in the wet, having advanced six positions to 6th overall as the clock counted down the final ten minutes of race.
The focus turned to the midfield just behind Viberti, with a closely bunched tussle between Palma’s team-mate, Roberto Tanca, series leading amateur driver, Laurent Jenny and Fabian Hamprecht.
As the flag fell, Viberti held a comfortable lead amongst this group to finish 5th, followed by Fabian Hamprecht who had also managed to pass De Nora for 6th, and Laurent Jenny finished in 8th. The #27 car of Palma/Tanca was unable to sustain its early form and succumbed to Fran Bugliotti, who took 9th place.
However, the racing was not concluded as in the final stages of the race Cédric Leimer had been pressing Richard Chlad hard for the final podium place. On the last corner of the last lap, Leimer spun as a mark of his strenuous efforts to overcome the young Czech driver. Amici took a double race win at Spa, followed by Leonardo Geraci and Richard Chlad was third and winner in the Amateur category, with Leimer in fourth place.
Cédric Leimer, with 92 points, takes an 11 point advantage into the final pair of races in Germany, with a further 30 points available in the two races at the Nürburgring in September. Andrea Amici has 81 points, and Leonardo Geraci’s second place today means that he is tieing with Adrian Zaugg/Federica De Nora on 74 points. All three crews retain title potential.
In the Amateur championship, Laurent Jenny retains a healthy 24 point lead over Bonaldi Motorsport’s Mirko Zanardini and AutoVitesse Garage R. Affolter lead both teams’ points tables, although they only hold a solitary one point lead in the PRO-AM team series.
The final round of the 2013 Lamborghini Blancpain Super Trofeo European season takes place at the Nürburgring on the 21st & 22nd of September.
P1 Andrea Amici #54, Autocarrozzeria Imperiale
“It was a great race today, it all started well and I managed to stay ahead of Adrian, but he got the better of me just before the pit window, but I pitted very early and came out at the front. In the second stint, Geraci was on my heels all the way to the flag, which was a little unnerving, but I managed to stay ahead, thank God. The result has taken me to 2nd in the championship , just 11 points behind."
P2 Leonardo Geraci #69, Touring Auto 2000 SRL
“The weekend didn’t start so well with qualifying, but the race this morning was very good. Amici and I were very close, especially in the second half of the race and I really enjoy battling with him on a great track like Spa. So hopefully we can progress another stage and move to a win at the Nürburgring.”
P3 Richard Chlad #99, Gravity Charouz Team (1st Amateur)
“Today was even better than yesterday, it feels amazing. It's my first time in Spa, but I really enjoyed driving in the wet, I actually find it more relaxing than racing in the dry as with the rain you get that extra possibility of moving to the front. I can see why this track is legendary because after you have driven here, you will never see other tracks in the same way again.”
P5 Alberto Viberti #47, Composit Motorsport (2nd Amateur)
“It is my first podium and my first race driving on my own and I'm thrilled. Race 1 didn't go so well for us so it is great to end the weekend on such a good note. It was very emotional to race here on this track, but it took some time to get to know the circuit for the first time and find the finesse it demanded, but ultimately it was fantastic.”