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This excellent series is otherwise known as the Italian Formula Junior Championship – it caters for 1 litre F3s although these must run on proper Dunlop CR65s – in the event, the FJs seem to have the upper hand.
There was a small but interesting entry – 12 cars in all – some familiar to regular Lurani hands – others new – your scribe was there with Aussie Peter Strauss – we were made incredibly welcome – the hospitality and welcome matched the very best.
The series is masterminded by Tommaso Gelmini – well known as a useful pedler of a Branca – Tommaso puts a great deal of effort into the series – the rounds are all held at iconic circuits – Monza, Imola, Mugello, Red Bull Ring etc some combining with Lurani rounds.
The Vallelunga Circuit is about 30 Kms north of Rome – the eternal city – it has a long and distinguished history (F2, F3000 etc) yet has excellent and modern facilities – Peter assures me that the track is interesting, challenging and safe – note – well it would seem that way after Cadwell wouldn’t it?
There is an excellent Hotel at the entrance to the circuit – this was the venue for a most excellent FJ meal on Saturday night – a splendid affair – masterminded by Tommaso.
No real surprises – Pierre Tonetti was fastest by a considerable margin (his brother was absent racing Quads!) followed by Gelmini & Ferrari in Brancas, Swiss Angelo Delea in an F3 Brabham BT16 and Peter Strauss in his familiar Brabham BT6 – next up was Enrico Buratti in the Tim Schenken Chevron B9 and Francesco Liberatore in a nice Dolphin FJ. Husband and wife team of Francesco and Julia Baldanza had a Brabham BT6 and OSCA FJ respectively. While Guido Di Egidio is familiar to Lurani regulars with his yellow Stanguellini
Race 1
As expected Tonetti took the lead from the start and pulled away by over 2 seconds per lap, Bruno Ferrari held a comfortable second but 3rd place saw a real dust up between Strauss, Gelmini and the F3 BT16 of Delea – on each lap it seemed that the Aussie would be overwhelmed, Gelmini getting alongside on several occasions – but the Aussie battler hung on – at half distance leader Tonetti came by with a silent engine – a broken throttle cable – this allowed Ferrari a comfortable win and Strauss held on for a most exciting second place from Delea who passed Gelmini on the last lap. All other cars finished intact less the Dolphin which made a number of stops to investigate engine maladies.

Race 2
No mistake for Pierre Tonetti – he galloped off to an effortless win – this time Strauss and Ferrari tangled and Strauss was out undamaged on the spot – Gelmini held a distant 2nd place with Ferrari keeping station 2 seconds adrift. Delea finished 4th and a much revived Dolphin 5th. Non finishers were Strauss, Angel Seneci in a beautiful de Sanctis and Julia Baldanza in her OSCA.

So what about this Series
Its great – a wonderful atmosphere, we are made incredibly welcome , its well organised – most efficient and great circuits – It will run again next year – check out details on the FJHRA website.

by Bob Birrell