EFRA GP SERIES ROUND 1
RME CASSINO 24/26 MARCH 2017
The beautiful location of RME Cassino hosted the opening round of a newly created Onroad GP Series presented by the European Federation; the new race format mixed some requests gathered from drivers at the last Euro’s in Sweden like 4 minutes heats and re-usable handout tires combined with more institutional rules like 5 rounds qualification and christmas tree finals.
The amazing facility and the nice weather allowed the participants to maximum enjoy their track time: on Thursday “old style” free practice and from Friday the official start with controlled practice before the first qualifying round. While the timetable changed couple of times everything ran smoothly for the whole weekend.
Infinity official team were represented by Francesco, Carmine, Lamberto and new signings Dario and Alberto. Car seems to perform really well on Cassino track and after control practice we have four drivers seeds in the fastest heat; unfortunately Francesco cannot show his speed as he suffered different little troubles for the entire weekend. In Q1, Dario had the best pace but was 7g underweight and a long discussion about his new PF bodyshell homologation denied him the first TQ. Lamberto seems quick enough and consistent in 4th position and Picco manage to stay close in the Top 5. In Saturday morning’s Q2, after bodyshell matters had been cleared up, Balestri sets 2nd time 0,019sec behind Kurzbuch with Collari 3rd. In Q3 Dario had to stop on the track while leading the round allowing Simon to gain overall TQ with Lamberto provisional 2nd. With only one good result (2nd) Dario needed two good positions to bump up into a semis spot: to clear the doubts on his speed he TQ’ed 4th and 5th round showing great confidence with his materials, track and “loose” conditions. Lamberto closed 4th overall getting a place for the “superpole challenge” with Pirani and Ielasi. Alberto 6th and Carmine 14th also getting directly into the semis. Francesco 21st need to pass through the Quarter finals. It’s super pole time: 3 minutes warmup and 6 rocket laps alone on the track to try earn the last direct spot for the Amain: once again Balestri impressed the audience managing the best lap at second attempt! Will be an exciting final for sure…
Semis were tough for Tironi who was hit a couple of times in opening corners damaging the pipe and Raiola that calls the delay for tech problems that apparently was solved but few minutes later had to pit for a long time. On the other side Collari and Picco cruises in 1-2 position for the entire 20-minutes with Alberto getting the win due to a better fuel strategy; in the Amain we had 2nd, 3rd and 5th position at the start… Not bad!
The start of the main event sees Dario charging on Simon in the early stage with Lamberto in a comfortable 3rd position. Unfortunately on lap 35 Balestri hit the wall entering the main straight as he starts pushing hard having set the fastest lap of the race. Less than 10 laps later Collari blew his glow plug loosing 6 laps in the pits; in this moment Alberto was 3rd trying to close on Daniele 2nd. With both having the same pace and a quite similar fuel/tire strategy the race seems “frozen” to the end and only a possible issue could mix the cards; an issue that happens to Kurzbuch 4min to the end. This allowing the 2 Italians to fight for the final win. Daniele managed to maintain 2 seconds lead for the finals minutes forcing Alberto claim a strong second place on his Infinity debut. Well done Alberto!