Maserati GranTurismo MC Trofeo
 

Race 1

Paul Ricard - FRA
21/07/2012

Giorgio Sernagiotto 

Sernagiotto’s win opens up the title chase

Giorgio Sernagiotto claimed the first Trofeo race thanks to a majestic drive. The only doubts about the outcome came towards the end when Cedric Sbirrazzuoli was building up steam. Unfortunately for the Monaco-based driver, his race finished in the worst of ways.

This is Sernagiotto’s third win in four races. Thanks to this result he keeps alive his faint hopes of taking the European title. Still, Renaud Kuppens is still favourite especially as he finished second.

The cars rolled off to an even start with Barde edging ahead of Pigoli at the green light. Sernagiotto and Kuppens were up front in first and second, respectively, as they headed into turn one side-by-side. There was nothing to note in the pack, apart from the clash that saw Mathijs Bakker forced to pull into the pits.

Sernagiotto tried to stretch his lead over Kuppens while, behind them, Sbirrazzuoli and Pigoli were tussling, with Simoni an interested onlooker. Then, the AF Corse driver made a decisive move and overtook the expert Pigoli. Now, with a free track having opened up ahead of him, Sbirrazzuoli’s lap times began to fall. On lap four he caught and outdid Barde while Simoni outmanoeuvred Pigoli on the same section of track. Things would soon get even tougher for Pigoli when Romagnoli pulled into his slipstream. The duel between the two is one that has often been seen in Superstars but, this time, it was short-lived: Romagnoli gave it too much gas trying to get past the Swiss Team driver at the last curve and spun down to eleventh spot.

Sbirrazzuoli posted the race’s fastest lap of 2’16”492 on lap six and his searing pace saw him overtake Kuppens a lap later. Someone else really going for it was Romagnoli as he tried to make up for his mistake. In just two laps he accounted for Denny and Gebhardt as he moved into ninth.

Barde had been doing well but was forced to retire, while Garelli had to pit when he was in tenth.

With ten laps gone, Sernagiotto held a 2"2 lead over Sbirrazzuoli, 6”2 over Kuppens, 9”4 over Simoni, 10"6 over Pigoli and 20”3 over Gardelli.

Sbirrazzuoli was by far the quickest driver out there, gaining up to six tenths on Sernagiotto to bring himself with striking distance of the leader. Rather than wait for an easier overtaking spot, Sbirrazzuoli went for it just as Sernagiotto was getting past a back marker, Nicolucci, on lap 12. Sernagiotto dipped down the inside while Sbirrazzuoli opted for the outside line but he clipped Nicolucci. Unfortunately for Sbirrazzuoli, this meant the end of his race.

Sernagiotto came through the clash in decent enough shape while Kuppens and Simoni also profited as the promise of a podium place drew nearer.

Christian Gebhardt’s Bowers & Wilkins VIP Car suffered a technical problem on lap 14 and had to pull out.

With things up front more or less sorted, all eyes were on the four drivers at the back of the field: Herpell, Azcarate, Forster and Garelli (who was two laps down after his earlier problem). Right up until the chequered flag the quartet swapped places to keep the crowd thrilled.

In the end, Giorgio Sernagiotto took the win from Renaud Kuppens and Alan Simoni. Max Pigoli took fourth, just up on Gardelli and Romagnoli. Seventh went to Richard Denny and eighth to Adrien De Leener in what was his best Trofeo finish to date. Dane Johnny Laursen and Andres Segler closed out the top ten.

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