CHALLENGE FORMULA STORICHE
VALLELUNGA 28/29 APRIL 12
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
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.
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