Valencia: Race report

A close and interesting race around the tight and technical Valencia circuit saw BMS Scuderia Italia claim another one-two of the season, with Fabrizio Gollin and Luca Cappellari extending their Championship lead with their third consecutive win.

A close and interesting race around the tight and technical Valencia circuit saw BMS Scuderia Italia claim another one-two of the season, with Fabrizio Gollin and Luca Cappellari extending their Championship lead with their third consecutive win. Matteo Bobbi and Gabriele Gardel were second, with Reiter Engineering giving Lamborghini its first international podium, the Murcielago finishing a fine third with Peter Kox and Oliver Gavin. In N-GT, Sascha Maassen and Lucas Luhr were imperial, leading throughout to win for Freisinger Motorsport, while Christian Pescatori and Fabrizio De Simone finished second to join third-placed Collard and Ortelli in the lead of the N-GT Drivers Championship.

The circuit configuration, ensured some very close fighting throughout the three hours of the race, with five different types of car in the top six : the two Ferrari 550 Maranello cars were followed by a Lamborghini Murcielago, Ferrari 575 M Maranello, a Lister Storm and a Saleen S7.

Sunday was cool and windy, but although grey clouds gathered over the circuit, it remained dry throughout the race.


Once again, BMS Scuderia Italia proved its speed, reliability and excellent team-work, following its Monza one-two by claiming an identical result around the twisting Valencia circuit, extremely different from the scene of the first race of the season. Fabrizio Gollin and Luca Cappellari moved into the lead after the second set of pit-stops, having opted to change only two tyres on their Ferrari 550 Maranello. They completed 112 laps in the maximum time of three hours, meaning a total distance of 448.56 km. They were followed by their team-mates Matteo Bobbi and Gabriele Gardel, who finished a rather distant 23.8 seconds behind. Scoring full marks for the second race in a row, reigning Champions BMS Scuderia Italia now have 36 points in the Teams Championship -- a 25 point lead over GPC Giesse Squadra Corse, who failed to finish today. Gollin and Cappellari have a four-point lead over their nearest rivals. "This year we've had two wins in the first two races, so we can't complain! " Gollin said : "We're very happy; the championship is looking good so far." Cappellari agreed : "We were somewhat lucky today, but luck is always important in motor racing. I have to say that the car is fantastic to drive with the power steering -- very comfortable!"


After failing to finish in Monza, the Freisinger Motorsport Porsche 996 GT3-RS of Sascha Maassen and Lucas Luhr dominated the N-GT category today, starting from pole, rising as high as fourth overall, finishing seventh at the chequered flag and claiming the fastest lap in the process. They were followed across the finish line by the nr 62 GPC Giesse Ferrari 360 Modena, which inherited second place after a mistake from Emmanuel Collard saw the nr 50 Porsche spin into the gravel, recovering nicely to take third and retain the joint lead of the Drivers Classification. "The car worked very well today," Maassen said. "The tyres were consistent, and the pit stops worked out fine as well. I had some rather interesting fights during the race." Luhr drove the middle stint. "I just tried to hold the position and increase the gap a little bit more. After the miserable weekend in Monza, I really started to enjoy the championship this weekend."


After a winter of testing and development, the nr 29 Reiter Engineering Lamborghini Murcielago was a much different car from that seen at Monza in 2003. However, the team surpassed its own expectations with a fine third place for Oliver Gavin and Peter Kox , that could easily have been a win if not for a long second pit stop. With its longest run yet, the car behaving impeccably throughout the three hour race, and came in third place, 1 minute and 1 second behind the leading Ferrari 550 Maranello. "I'm very pleased! To come in third in their first race here is an amazing result for Lamborghini. It's good to drive with Ollie, who's a really good driver and has done a great job here," Peter Kox said.


After a difficult time in Monza, JMB brought its three cars home in the points. The nr 17 Ferrari 575 M Maranello finished fourth, after some close fighting on the track, with the nr 18 car 8th overall and 7th in GT, while the nr 19 JMB car of Gosse, Garbagnati and Daoudi finished 8th in GT to take the final point. "The goal for us for this race was to finish, and we got that. We learned a lot this weekend, I think, and I hope we can use that experience for the next races. It was a good weekend for us. I think we will be well prepared for Magny-Cours, and we should be able to use everything we have learnt here for our team's home race. We will aim to improve each time," Karl Wendlinger explained. However, GPC Giesse Squadra Corse had a more difficult weekend, with neither the nr 11 nor the nr 13 finishing the race. The team's N-GT car finished second in the category, however, to put the drivers Christian Pescatori and Fabrizio De Simone in the joint lead in the N-GT classification.


Saleens lead at the start
The Saleen cars made a good start, and began to pull away, with Uwe Alzen in the Vitaphone Saleen already 2.23 seconds ahead of the field by the end of the first lap, followed by the nr 4 Konrad Motorsport Saleen S7. Behind them, Bobbi got ahead of Gollin. Alzen set the fastest race lap on lap 2: 1: 32.241. Maassen kept the lead in the N-GT category.

Lap 5 : 5 -- 4 -- 1 -- 2 -- 29 -- 3 -- 13; N-GT : 99 -- 50 -- 62

Walter Lechner Jr takes the lead
On lap 9, the nr 5 Vitaphone car pulled to the side of the track, smoking badly as the clutch had exploded. Lechner Jr took the lead in the nr 4 Konrad car, followed by the nr 1 and nr 2 BMS Scuderia Italia Ferrari 550. Gollin continued to push Bobbi very hard in the fight for second, but Bobbi retained the advantage. A train of cars fought for 6th position, including Hezemans, Erdos, Bouchut and Wendlinger

Lap 15 : 4 -- 1 -- 2 -- 29 -- 3 -- 13 -- 7 -- 10 ; N-GT : 99 -- 50 -- 77 -- 69

Gollin takes second from Bobbi
The nr 4 Konrad Saleen continued to lead, but Gollin overtook Bobbi for second on lap 21, and began to close on the Saleen. The Lamborghini was lapping well in 4th position.

Lap 30 : 4 -- 2 -- 1- 29 -- 3 -- 7 -- 17 -- 11 -- 27; N-GT : 99 -- 50 -- 77 - 62

Early stop for Konrad; Gollin takes the lead
Worried about his car, Lechner Jr came into the pits early. The team was not ready and a long stop ensued. Gollin took the race lead. During the first round of pit stops, Phillip Peter, in the nr 11 GPC Ferrari 575 M Maranello, took the lead on lap 40. The leading N-GT car was up to 4th place overall by lap 40.

Lap 41 : 11 -- 2 -- 29 -- 99 -- 1 -- 18 -- 50 -- 17

The Lamborghini Murcielago goes ahead
After the first pit stops, the nr 29 Lamborghini Murcielago , with Kox at the wheel, emerged in the lead, and began to pull away. By lap 49, Kox had a lead of 13 seconds ahead of the two BMS Scuderia Italia cars. Gardel, in third, was close behind his team-mate Cappellari, with Toto Wolff in the nr 17 575 M car closing up to the 550 cars. Luhr continued to lead in N-GT, ahead of Ortelli and Pescatori.

Lap 53 : 29 -- 2 -- 1 -- 17 -- 11 -- 4 -- 27 -- 7; N-GT : 99 -- 50 -- 62 -- 77

Pit stop problems for the Lamborghini; GPC Ferrari 575 M cars retire
Having opened up a lead of around 30 seconds, the Lamborghini Murcielago lost time in the pits when the car would not start due to a fuse, dislodged by Gavin when getting in. The car rejoined in fifth and started to pull ahead. The nr 2 BMS Ferrari was in the lead, ahead of the nr 1 car. The nr 4 car, with Walter Lechner back behind the wheel, began to recover well, moving back to third place on lap 89. Both the nr 11 and nr 13 Ferrari 575 M Maranellos retired within laps of each other, the nr 11 with suspension and the nr 13 with alternator problems.

Lap 90 : 2 -- 1 -- 4 -- 29 -- 17 -- 27 -- 7; N-GT : 99 -- 50 -- 62 -- 77

Konrad retires ; Lamborghini to third
The nr 29 Lamborghini overtook and passed the nr 4 Saleen, which shortly afterwards retired with a broken driveshaft. The cars at the front were now well separated, with gaps of over 20 seconds between the top three. The nr 77 Porsche spun into the gravel.

Lap 100 : 2 -- 1 -- 29 - 17 -- 27 -- 18 -- 10 -- 19; N-GT : 99 -- 50 -- 62

Collard spins ; the RML Saleen and Creation Lister fight for fifth
Emmanuel Collard made a mistake and spun into the gravel on lap 101, losing second place in the N-GT. The nr 10 Chrysler Viper also spun out. The nr 7 RML Saleen and the nr 27 Creation Lister were involved in a close fight for fifth place. Erdos overtook Campbell-Walter at the start of lap 105.

Lap 110 : 2 -- 1 -- 29 -- 17 -- 7 -- 27 -- 99 -- 18 -- 19 -- 62 -- 50

Chequered Flag
Second win of 2004 for Gollin and Cappellari; the Reiter Engineering Lamborghini on the podium in third place, with the nr 17 JMB Ferrari 575 M Maranello in fourth place. Campbell-Walter regained fifth in the Creation Lister Storm after Erdos ran out of fuel. In N-GT, Maassen completed a faultless race by taking the flag in 7th position; the nr 62 Ferrari took second for the second race in a row, with the nr 50 recovering to third.

Final result (top ten) : 2 -- 1- 29 -- 17 -- 27 -- 7 -- 18 -- 19 ; N-GT : 99 -- 62 -- 50 -- 69 - 57


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About this article
Series Blancpain Sprint
Drivers Fabrizio Gollin , Karl Wendlinger , Christian Pescatori , Emmanuel Collard , Sascha Maassen , Lucas Luhr , Uwe Alzen , Oliver Gavin , Matteo Bobbi , Peter Kox , Gabriele Gardel , Luca Cappellari , Toto Wolff , Philipp Peter
Teams Reiter Engineering