This weekend saw the opening of the 2012 Lotus Cup Italy season with a thrilling 15 car race.
Lotus Cup UK drivers took part in this first race of the season to support the series and create even greater interest.
It was clear from the practice sessions that the cars to watch for were English driver Randal (Lotus Europa), the Frezza-Giudici team (Lotus Evora GT4) and Fumagalli (Lotus 2-Eleven GT4) as they were by far the fastest in practice. Randal being fastest, overtaking a very quick Marco Frezza, and Fumagalli.
Despite engine problems in qualifying for the other two main protagonists of the weekend, Necchi (Lotus 2-Eleven) and Castiglioni (Lotus Exige) both managed to get the pole in their respective classes.
The 50 minute race, (with mandatory pit stop for 6 minutes), was initially led by Randal and Giudici, with Necchi battling his way from seventh to third position. Behind them was a battle between Castiglioni and Fumagalli, breathing down the neck of Necchi. After a valiant struggle Castiglioni had to surrender due to a problem with the engine of his Exige.
The race continued with Villa (Lotus Exige) leading the GT Cup class and Fumagalli snatched third position from the hands of Necchi. Randal lost the lead when he suffered a penalty for not stopping in time for the obligatory pitstop, handing victory to Frezza. Behind them Fumagalli and Necchi proceeded to the checkered flag in that order. Behind the winners there was Fumigalli and then Necchi, with victory being assigned to the beautiful Evora GT4.
So ended the first race of the 2012 Lotus Cup Italy with class wins for Necchi (Lotus 2-Eleven) and Villa (Lotus Exige). Note that, on his sixty-ninth birthday, Arturo Merzario failed to start the race due to a technical problem with his Lotus Exige which he shared with his friend Meroni.
Next race of the 2012 Lotus Cup Italy series is on April 7 on the German track of Nurburgring at the Lotus Cup Europe where drivers will compete alongside the best drivers in the continent.
Marco Frezza: "It was a good race and I really enjoyed it. Randal and his car were strong, but eventually we managed to keep up front and this is a great satisfaction for me and for the whole team. "
Gianni Giudici: "If he had not made the mistake of not stopping now Randal was unreachable. Marco was still fast and has a great deal of credit for this great success here in Monza. "
To find out more about the Lotus Cup Italy series, entry, regulations, preparation, sponsorship, teams and contact details (site in Italian)...