Ascari's Breakthrough Win
Lupberger and Ben Collins gave Team Ascari an unforgettable
win at Donington Park in an eventful afternoon of world class
sportscar action today in the 6th round of the FIA Sportscar
Championship. The silver A410 finally took its debut victory
after over a year of being on the cusp of breaking through in
to the winners circle.
The Judd powered car capitalised
on the misfortune of the two Dome cars that locked out the
front row of the grid during yesterdays qualifying session.
But this was nothing other than a well-deserved victory for
the Ascari team who have worked flat out to turn the car in to
a winning force. Both Ben Collins and Werner Lupberger
acknowledged the hard work everyone had put in to the project.
"The whole team deserve this win," said Lupberger, "It was a
great moment taking the chequered flag today and even though
the others had problems, we showed we had race winning pace
Werner's partner Ben Collins made a superb
start to climb from 5th place up to 3rd and he soon dispatched
of John Nielsen who held second in the opening portion of the
race. "Once I was past John I could up my pace", said Ben,"
and despite the tyres going off, when I handed over to Werner,
the car ran perfectly."
The win for the Banbury based
team sends them in to a three way fight in the title race with
Den Bla Avis Dome, who finished 5th after a selection of
problems, and Scuderia Italia who came in 2nd after a cautious
race reaped them another 15 points.
The Brescia based
team was not on the pace of the Ascari and Dome's all weekend
despite the flat out style of Jean Marc Gounon. The Frenchman,
whose main aim is to help Marco Zadra in his title quest,
encountered problems from the start. "The engine cut out at
the start and I dropped back in the early stages. Finishing
2nd today was quite lucky but I am sure Marco will not care
about that too much," explained the ex F1 driver
Racing For Holland Dome had controlled most of the race with
Jan Lammers cruising in to a comfortable lead early on. Even a
Safety Car period after 45 minutes didn't stop the Dutchman
rebuilding his lead and handing over a 30-second cushion to
his team mate Val Hillebrand. The 19 year old picked up where
his mentor left off but was soon to relinquish it after two
slices of bad luck. "One of my tearoff visors went in to the
airbox and I had to have it removed as it was decreasing the
power of the engine. Then I had a wheel come loose and had to
make another stop and that meant any chance of victory was
gone. It is a big shame as we had it in the bag
More bad luck befell the other Dome of John
Nielsen and Hiroki Katoh who looked to be heading for at least
a podium position until the Japanese spun exiting Goddard's
after hitting a chunk of rubber while defending his position
from eventual winner Lupberger. Hiroki lost a minute before
regaining the track and that was compounded when he suffered a
slow puncture on the very last lap, letting the Lola Roush of
Robbie Stirling through in to 4th place.
had earlier enjoyed an energetic battle with Gounon's Ferrari
for 4th and the Londoner fended off his more experienced rival
until the second round of stops. Sam though had battled
through the opening laps with a rather unusual problem. "My
drinks bottle exploded on the formation lap, but apart from
that I had a great battle with Jean Marc and could hold him
off quite comfortably."
The Redman Bright run Reynard
01Q of Mark Smithson and Peter Owen finished 6th on the teams
home track while the R&M Riley & Scott of Mauro Baldi
and Alex Caffi wound up a lowly 9th after electric problems.
The Ferrari Judd of GLV Brums eventually retired with a broken
clutch after being delayed in the opening laps with the same
SR2 saw a popular home victory for Martin
O'Connell and Warren Carway in the Rowan Racing Pilbeam Nissan
as they followed up their Magny Cours win with a similar
victory over the Swedish Lola. Warren Carway got a fantastic
start to go from fifth to first, but he soon came under
intense pressure from the B2K chassis of Larry Oberto. However
a stuck wheel nut cost the Swedes precious time at the second
stop and once Martin O'Connell took over, the win was Rowan's.
"This puts us just ten points behind now", said a delighted
Carway after the race, "and we can't wait for Mondello next
weekend," added the Irishman
Completing the podium were
Team Sovereign with Ian Flux and Mike Millard in the Rapier 6
after overcoming problems in qualifying. It completed a
memorable climax for Flux who was competing in his 500th ever
After a superb performance to complete a clean
sweep at the front of the grid in qualifying Lucchini
Engineering had a bitterly disappointing raceday. Pole winners
Piergiuseppe Peroni and Sebastian Ugeux crashed out of third
place when Piergiuseppe put a wheel on the kerb exiting
Goddards causing the Safety Car to be deployed and the teams
sister car driven by Mauro Prospero and Denny Zardo retired
with overheating problems .
Roberto Tonetti and
Massimo Saccomanno had led during the pit stops at the midway
point but after a spin by Massimo at Redgate they spiralled
down the order to 5th place ahead of Pierre Bruneau's Debora.
Randaccio and Maddalena's SCI prepared Lucchini came in 6th
after electrical trouble delayed them.
Team Swara and
Redman Bright both hit trouble with clutch and suspension
problems respectively while the BM Autosport Tampolli
succumbed with an engine failure, the team taking little
consolation from setting fastest lap when Massimo Monti took