Zimmer in frame as Bellarosa rules Imola
Sunday dawned at the Imola circuit and temperatures once again soared. Overnight withdrawals of the Tatuus factory car and the Luchini as well as the fire-destroyed Tiga saw a reduced grid but the race would see no less fierce a battle for the points.
With regulations amended by the SPEED EuroSeries organisers and event stewards to prohibit refuelling during the race on safety grounds, cars were evenly matched with regards to weight, albeit with the #45 Wolf of Bellarosa carrying 20kg success ballast. As the Honda CRX pace car pulled in at the rolling start, the grid thundered away to turn 1 with young French ace, Zimmer, pressuring Bellarosa and Darren Burke in the Team Excool Juno – sporting the 2011 front splitter in a bid to cure the chronic vibration – close behind.
The Italian lead those three around the first lap, opening up a second advantage. In fourth, Maurizio Pittori in the #27 Line Race car was heading a fierce battle with 6 cars split by just 3 seconds. It was a scrap that would last much of the first half of the race.
Come the mandatory stops for the single drivers, and Bellarosa did not repeat the mistake of the previous day. He rejoined the race 49 seconds behind Darren Burke in the Juno with Zimmer close behind. Burke was yet to hand over to driving partner, Duncan Williams and put his remaining 20 minutes in the car to good use, maintaining the gap to Bellarosa before pitting just as the 60 minute maximum driver stint period ran out. That left Bellarosa out front with Zimmer pushing hard and Gandon putting steady quick laps in fourth in the Norma. The remaining Tatuus of Bi & Bi Racing was in fifth.
Drive through penalties for lead sporting driver Guglielmo Belotti and fellow Wolf racer, Tony Mastroberardino, received for infringements at the pit stop which saw the cars push started, were issued. Belotti retired with an engine problem subsequently whilst Mastroberardino – quickest through the speed trap in the race – raced on. Belotti was joined shortly afterwards in the garages by the Tatuus and the Juno of Niki Leutwiler and Fredi Briedl which was suffering from a failing gearbox. The sister TFL Juno of Reader/Findlay was sadly soon to follow with a broken drive shaft – a first for a Juno chassis.
On track, as the #28 Line Race car chased the leader, Federicho Vecchi had taken over the other from Pittori and was setting about some quick laps. Indeed, he recorded the fastest lap of the race on lap 39 but retired shortly afterwards with brake problems.
There were no such issues for Bellarosa though. As the 90 minutes counted down he was some 10 seconds ahead of Zimmer and with the Line Race car slowing on the last lap, finished 14 seconds in front with Williams a lap down on Zimmer in third. The SPYD Racing Norma of Philippes Mace and Yschard took the Classic Class honours with Duncan Williams collecting the Sporting Driver award.
The result sees Bellarosa extend his lead going into rounds 7 & 8 at Donington on July 14/15 as part of the European Le Mans Series event.
Full results sheets, points tables and images available on www.speedeuroseries.com