SCIABBARRASI SEIZES HIS CHANCE! With an entry of 23 Spider THPs for the start of the season's ninth encounter, the first Nurburgring showdown had the makings of being a particularly exciting race, and so it was. There was drama all the way to...
SCIABBARRASI SEIZES HIS CHANCE!
With an entry of 23 Spider THPs for the start of the season's ninth encounter, the first Nurburgring showdown had the makings of being a particularly exciting race, and so it was. There was drama all the way to the flag and it was finally a thrilled and delighted Marcel Sciabbarrasi who picked up the top prize.
The German round promised to be a stormer, despite the withdrawal of one of the favourites, Julien Beltoise, who has not yet fully recovered from his big crash at Spa-Francorchamps last month. The ranks have been swollen, though, by a number of highly ambitious newcomers whose presence added to the suspense up and down the field!
The first 12-lap race was run at a blistering pace throughout and the scene was set from the word go by some particularly boisterous braking for the first turn. The hapless Julien Briche, who had started from the front row, lost all chance of winning when he found himself in the middle of the kafuffle, while the races of Marlène Broggi and Alexandre Albouy were halted there and then.
Pole-winner Simon Moulton and Michael Rossi, one of the series' new faces, profited from the disorder to try to pull clear and they soon engaged in a virile fight. They repeatedly passed each other but their duel ended in a tangle fifth time round. The incident saw Moulton lose the most ground and the Briton could manage no better than 17th at the flag. Rossi was soon joined by Benoît Lison, who had recovered from an earlier, unprovoked mistake, and the Frenchman soon found himself in control, chased by Gael Castelli. This order only lasted until Lap 8, though, since Lison and Castelli simultaneously span off in a perfectly choreographed ballet, doubtlessly due to the pressure they had mutually been applying!
Marcel Sciabbarrasi, the grid's traditional showman, had been calmly waiting in their wake and swiftly pounced on the opportunity to take command, albeit with a slender and fast- melting lead as Gregory Guilvert rounded off his breathtaking comeback over the final kilometres. Guilvert had qualified on pole for both races but was finally relegated to the back of the grid when his ride-height was deemed to be illegal. The start of the race wasn't easy for the Lompech Sport team-leader who was forced to do a lot of dicing during the hectic opening lap. He never gave up, however, and slowly but surely managed to pick off his opponents, profiting from the occasional gap they opened up ahead of him but also thanks to an assertive drive, especially during the latter part of the race. His fight-back was temporarily slowed by Austrian newcomer Peter Scharmach, then by David Pouget who now looks ready to play a leading role and finally by a charging trio comprising Alexandre Rambure, Benoît Lison and Gael Castelli. Without losing any time whatsoever, though, Guilvert passed them one by one and started to claw back the remaining seconds that separated him from Sciabbarrasi towards the end of the race. His efforts were in vain, however, since his bid failed by a mere three tenths of a second! His strong performance nonetheless helped make up for his disappointment at Spa and handed him his first genuine podium-finish in the series. Prior to the second race, which starts at 10.20am tomorrow morning (Sunday), Gregory Guilvert tops the provisional championship standings, but he once again faces the prospect of starting from the back of the grid, while his main rival Simon Moulton will be on pole with Julien Briche who will be out for revenge sitting alongside. Today's winner, Marcel Sciabbarrasi, will start in 12th place... so that promises to be eventful! Also worth following will be the two local heroes, Oliver Freymuth (13th on the grid) and Peter Scharmach (fifth).
Marcel Sciabbarrasi: "I have won six Coupe Hommell titles, a formula which is part of the Rencontres Peugeot Sport meetings, I finished on the THP Spider Cup podium at Pau, and here I am now on the top step of the podium at the Nurburgring. I'm absolutely thrilled. I was fifth on the grid but I preferred to play a waiting game when I saw everything that was going on around me. The tactic paid off!"
Gregory Guilvert: "I got off to a good start. Following my disqualification from pole yesterday, I was out for revenge and I ended up going some way to achieving that! It was some race. Given the boisterous start, I didn't think I would make it onto the podium, but I kept pushing all the way to the end. I didn't attempt to pass Marcel straight away because I thought there was still one more lap to come. A pity! But I will do all I can to put in the same sort of run tomorrow..."
Gael Castelli: "At last! I am obviously thrilled with this result, despite the mistake I made. I was angry with myself for that lapse of concentration which saw me spin off at the same time as Benoît Lison. But that anger spurred me on to produce a charge towards the end which was rewarded with a footing on the final podium."