San Marino Report

First Round at the San Marino Grand Prix in Imola ------------------------------------------------- Run-Away Victory for Frenchman Stephane Ortelli Frenchman Stephane Ortelli (PZ Rhein Oberberg) took a green light to chequered flag victory at...

First Round at the San Marino Grand Prix in Imola -------------------------------------------------

Run-Away Victory for Frenchman Stephane Ortelli

Frenchman Stephane Ortelli (PZ Rhein Oberberg) took a green light to chequered flag victory at this year's season-opening round of the Porsche Pirelli SuperCup here at the San Marino Grand Prix in Imola. Said 28-year-old Ortelli: "It was a game of roulette. I didn't have any experience with the new Porsche GT3 Cup and had not even practiced a start. So I went out flat at the beginning to build up some distance to the rest of the field. Then my tyres started to give out at half-way. When Ralf suddenly appeared in my rear-vision mirror I had to give gas. It was a hard fight".Ortelli, who this year joins the Porsche works team to contest Le Mans, came under pressure from team mate Ralf Kelleners from Germany. Kelleners' second place made the weekend perfect for their PZ Rhein Oberberg team. "I concentrated on preserving my tyres." said Kelleners, "and that turned out to be a wise decision."

Local hero Rinaldo "Dindo" Capello performed brilliantly in front of estatic home crowds. The 1996 Italian Touring Car Champion, piloting one of the VIP Carreras, felt immediately at home in Porsche's brawny 360 hp GT3 Cup. "It was a hard race. I lost a place at the start to Kelleners and then in the third lap I made a gear change error. Bruno Corradi caught me and made a clung to my tail for most of the race until he flew off the track."

Reigning champion Patrick Huisman from the Netherlands brought his PCA- Manthey Racing Porsche home in fourth, followed by two Italians from the Ebimotors-Porsche Italia team, Mateo Maria Galimberti in fifth and Maurizio Monforte in sixth. Newcomer Johnny Mowlem, the first ever regular competitor from Britain in the history of the Porsche Pirelli SuperCup, got off to an excellent start. From tenth on the grid the 29- year-old worked his way to a planned eighth before being taken out in the last corner by a rival competitor.

Race results (top 10):

Pos     Driver/Nat              Team                            Time
--------------------------------------------------------------------
 1      Stephane Ortelli/F      PZ Rhein Oberberg          25:50.351
 2      Ralf Kelleners/D        PZ Rhein Oberberg            + 0.960
 3      Dindo Capello/I         Porsche Pirelli VIP Carrera   12.513
 4      Patrick Huisman/NL      PCA-Manthey Racing            13.628
 5      Mateo Galimberti/I      Ebimotors-Porsche Italia      16.237
 6      Maurizio Monforte/I     Ebimotors-Porsche Italia      23.315
 7      Jurgen von Gartzen/D    Oberbayern Motorsport         27.328
 8      Frank Schmickler/D      Tolimit Motorsport            33.979
 9      Jacques Laffite/F       Kadach Tuning                 36.439
10      Patrick Simon/D         Porsche Zentrum Koblenz       40.666

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About this article
Series General
Drivers Ralf Kelleners , Stéphane Ortelli , Patrick Huisman , Jacques Laffite , Johnny Mowlem , Jurgen von Gartzen , Bruno Corradi , Dindo Capello , Patrick Simon , Frank Schmickler