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SportsRacing World Cup Brno 2000

4th - 6th August 2000

Event report

Friday - 4th August

After two American SRWC races which weren't supported by SRWC regulars except a pair of Tampollis and Pilbeams, World Cup has returned to Europe for the sixth race at Brno. First indications expected a huge entry after nearly three-month gap in the calendar but entry had only 24 cars. Two of them had finally failed to appear. They were Kremer Lola and factory Debora, which wasn't much expected to arrive after having listed no drivers and having not appear outside Le Mans since late 1998. Very disappointing was non-appearing of two DAMS Cadillacs after not much successful begining of the season and also no Lola was in the field. Konrad's Lola, BGN powered by Jaguar for Cor Euser, or URD that was told to return to SRWC were other cars that were expected to race but didn't enter. At least URD WSC was seen racing in the Sports Car Challenge 2000 race. This race had supported SRWC programme during all weekend very well. The third race of the meeting was a free historic race for Czech drivers. Quickest were two MTX 2-01 sportscars, one of which was driven by Miran Velkoborsky in Interserie Coupe 1977. They were driven by Vondrak Sr. and Jr. but after technical problems didn't win on Saturday but one of them took the victory on Sunday race.

Scrutineering (16:00-18:00)

Let's return to SRWC. A week before the race there was some information that any Czech driver should appear at the Brno race debuting here. It was spoken about Jiri Michanek, Josef Kopecky but finally there was confirmed Robert Pergl in the Bruneau Debora as the second driver. During Friday second factory Tampolli was searching for drivers and Jan Vonka became a hot candidate to drive. But he couldn't find any second local driver that would start. So he finally gave priority to race National Hillclimb race at Vsetin. There was a very big problem to find two drivers for this Tampolli number 52 but it surprisingly appeared on Saturday practice with another Czech driver Josef Kopecky and Austrian Josef Robl who was an Osella entrant in the supporting SCC 2000 race.

An interesting car that was making its race debut was GMS LMP1 BMW, which was secretly tested at Most. Former F3000 team Durango announced drivers Emanuele Naspetti and Fabrizio de Simone but they were replaced by Soheil Ayari and Andrea de Lorenzi. Second named did well here last year with Target 24 Riley & Scott.

After non successful Le Mans test weekend appearance and much better Nürburging ALMS presence, the Ascari A410 was the second SR1 car to make a SRWC debut here at Brno. The rest of the SR1 field was formed from usual mixture of Ferraris 333SP and Riley & Scotts with single Danish Panoz against them. No Lola, no Cadillac and still no sign of any Reynard in SRWC...

Twelve SR Lights entries was a usual good number of small class cars but it is still far from organiser's wish to run separate races for SR2 cars. More realistic presumptions would be better to present in the future. During three year of SRWC existence many times more then 30 cars entries were promised but never came into reality.

Saturday - 5th August

1st free practice (9:00-10:10)

After rainy night the first free practice started on wet track and times were still improved during the session. All cars except Picchio number 53 took part in this practice but GMS retired in its first lap so wasn't listed among 20 cars that got any time. After the first half Ascari was on the top ahead of BMS Ferrari number 23 and Panoz driven by Nielsen/Graf. After 45 minutes the lead was taken by #23 Ferrari of P. Zadra/Peter but well improving GMB Giesse Team Ferrari of Pescatori and Terrien was third now. Eight minutes later JMB Ferrari #1 set the best time at 1:54.8 and finished with 1:50.64. BMS Ferrari #23 maintained second position (1:54.71). Panoz had a strong finish and was third with R&M Riley & Scott and Ascari next. In Lights category the works Lucchini driven by Salvatore Ronca and Filippo Francioni was on the top with more than one second ahead of Giudici Picchio and Redman Bright Pilbeam #63.

2nd free practice (11:30-12:40)

Team Durango has repaired its GMS debuting car and although it ran 20 laps but was still slowest SR1 car with 1:58.27. Top three positions were the same as in the first practice session with JMB Ferrari now only less then one second before BMS Ferrari. Lavaggi's Ferrari improved most of all and was now fourth after being eight in the first session. R&M Riley & Scott of Baldi/Formato and Ascari driven by Klaas Zwart/Werner Lupberger formed the top six. Ronca and Francioni in the work Lucchini #60 were again quickest SR Lights drivers before Raimondi/Giudici with Picchio. All Lights entries were still lapping over two minutes.

SR2 qualifying (14:55-15:25)

As usual SRWC practice was kept separately for SR1 and for SR2 cars. This first session was run for 30 minutes and just after 5 minutes leader was again Ronca/Francioni ahead of Scuderia Giudici Picchio. At this stage of SR2 qualifying the third was Siliprandi Lucchini with Peroni/Maddalena at the wheel. Two minutes later works Tampolli #51 with Daytona and Road America SRWC winners Loven/Zacharias ran slowly through final turn and hit the fire. The car was quickly smothered and its mechanics were seen installing new engine into the car during evening. Hopefully Tampolli would appear tomorrow.

After the first half of this qualifying session EBRT Schröder Motorsport Pilbeam was fourth followed by best local driver Josef Kopecky with Tampolli #52. During next 15 minutes leading Lucchini improved several times, run under two minutes and final time was 1:59.57. In the last lap well running BM Autosport Tampolli set a fine time at 1:59.93. Only these two cars ran under two minutes. Third was another Lucchini #66 with Saccomano/Tonetti moving Giudici's Picchio to the fourth place. Cars with Czech drivers were 6th (Tampolli - Kopecky) and 8th (Debora - Pergl).

SR1 qualifying (15:30-16:10)

Sports Racing cars qualifying was started soon after SR Lights had finished. It was still the same as before: JMB Ferrari first, BMS Ferrari second nearly all session. Only times were getting better. Final best time was 1:49.95. Battles for other positions were much more interesting with four cars strongly running for third place. Most successful were finally Riley & Scott #5 ahead of GLV Brums Ferrari, Ascari and Panoz. The rest of the field was a bit slower but still clearly quicker than SR2 pole winner Lucchini.

Sunday - 6th August

Warm Up (9:15-9:30)

There was very heavy rain in the morning over the circuit. On the wet track, all teams tried wet tires and setups for the race, so achieved times were much slower than during Saturday. Special attention could be paid to #51 Tampolli. Its mechanics changed engine during last night. But the car didn't look well. It has run one slow lap and went to the pits. After a while it appeared for another lap but it was everything this car did during wet Sunday. Its drivers Zacharias and Loven replaced announced Sports Car Challenge driver Josef Robl in number 52 and became co-drivers of local hero Kopecky. After the race Tampolli #51 was seen again totally dismantled.

Ascari had another problems and the car had to be pushed by a safety car into the pits. Works Lucchini was out of the track during warm up but returned into the pits by itself.

The Race (12:30-15:00)

Total twenty cars were lined up on the grid. The missing one was R&M Riley & Scott of Baldi/Formato. Formato joined the field during formation lap but had to start from the last position. He run in the midfield relatively slowly until seventh lap when he turned to the pits for the first time.

The start and first part of the race was very interesting and very dramatic. Peter in #23 BMS Ferrari took the lead and was followed by Terrien in JMB Ferrari, Nielsen in Panoz, Filiberti in GLV Ferrari and Lupberger in debuting Ascari. All five cars ran very closely. The first change was in the third lap when Nielsen overtook Terrien and also leading Peter a lap later. By his time Lupberger with Ascari was getting quicker and quicker and between lap five and eight he improved to the second position and very closely battled for the lead with Nielsen's Panoz. It looked Ascari would lead very soon but in lap eleven it lost several meters and then had to stop. Car was put into the garage. The problem was a gearbox failure. New gearbox was installed but that cost the team long 18 laps. Then Ascari returned to the race and was still classified 19th 21 laps behind the race winner. Three additional laps it has lost partly by no need to run on a maximum speed but mainly because of problems in final stages of the race when it lapped very slowly only to finish.

Terrien in #1 overtook Peter in #23 just before Ascari was in problems and ran third moving up to second behind Panoz when Lupberger in Ascari stopped. By this time van der Lof in Dutch National Racing Team Ferrari ran surprisingly quick and overtook GLV Ferrari and then BMS Ferrari. GMB Ferrari was already in the pits when Dutch Ferrari was shortening gap to the leading Panoz. But Nielsen turned to the pit just before van der Lof could overtake him. So usually slow Ferrari was now in the lead for a while. Unfortunately after very long pitstop in lap 19 it was out of any chance to win. However it had also set third quickest lap in the first 30 minutes of the race. Better were only Durango run GMS and R&M Riley & Scott - two cars that had already pitted and changed from wet tires to intermediate ones. The race was started without a rain but it was still very wet. The track was drying during the race but never became quite dry.

When the first series of pitstops was over, Formato/Baldi in Riley & Scott #5 took the lead. After unimpressive start of the race they had advantage after pitting and changing tires earlier than all their opponents that battled for the lead and didn't want to pit so early. Formato had nothing to loose by early pitstop but could only gain.

In lap 20 Formato was far ahead of JMB Ferrari, Panoz, BMS Ferrari #23 and GLV Ferrari but JMB Ferrari was lapping about two seconds quicker than the leader. After Formato turned for his second pitstop, Terrien in Ferrari #1 was in the lead for the first time in the race. When he pitted in lap 38, Panoz returned to the top after loosing the lead in lap 17. But it was only for two laps until had to pit too.

After a second series of pitstop on top five there were new positions. GMB Ferrari leading, Riley & Scott #5 second, GLV Ferrari third, Panoz fourth and BMS Ferrari #23 fifth. All other cars were far behind this quintet. Best of them was Dutch Ferrari #6 with two laps gap.

Graf in Panoz was running slower than Nielsen before and other cars in top five, so he lost one position when Zadra overtook him in lap 46. Third series of pitstops nothing changed on top five positions. Only Lavaggi in #3 Ferrari became shortly a leader when pitting two laps after Pescatori in Ferrari #1. The race was exciting until the finish because the third Lavaggi was quickly getting closer to the second running R&S #5 but Baldi finally retained second place in the finish. Together six different cars appear in the lead and another one (Ascari) only metres and technical problems divided from the lead!

SR Lights race report

The battle for the SR Lights podium wasn't any way less interesting than SR1 battles. As usually both classes ran together but to keep a little higher lucidity they are reported separately. Early leader was Ronca in the works Lucchini followed by Monti in a private Tampolli #59 and Tonetti in Lucchini #66. Local driver Kopecky was the fourth followed by Randaccio in a yellow Lucchini. The second debuting Czech driver Robert Pergl drove Debora three placed from the back but soon retired after only three laps. Last two positions belonged to Pilbeams in early stages of the race. In the third lap Mildenhall in Pilbeam #58 was off the track and lost two laps.

In the fourth lap Kopecky moved up to third while Monti took the lead three laps later. Before Monti in Tampolli #59 was pitting he ran sixth overall. Then his position took over new Lights leader Raimondi in Picchio #57. Although Raimondi pitted after four laps he still led in class but was running ninth two laps behind overall leaders. Second was Tampolli #59 and the third place was kept by the works Lucchini #60. Redman Bright run Pilbeam with Owen/Smithson was improving and since lap 28 ran in the fourth position.

Early third running works Tampolli driven by Kopecky became a bit slower than his opponents on the drying track and lost two positions so it went to the pits for a tire change. After first series of pitstops he was in the Lights leader but in lap 23 he was in the pits again and lost much time. According to an expression of Kopecky after the race, one tire blown and after a change the car wasn't so quick as before. Then after a regular ran of other two co-drivers the Czech driver could celebrate fifth place in the class.

In lap 33 the SR2 leader Picchio #57 was running slowly went into the pits and retired. Anybody perhaps may remember that last year at Brno this car retired from the SR2 lead position too. This retirement opened doors to Tampolli #59 that was in the lead again in front of Pilbeam #63. Four cars were in the SR Lights lead lap and their positions changed according to their pitstops. They were the two named above and works Lucchini #60 that had won overall at Spa and another Lucchini driven by Saccomano/Tonetti. However the works Lucchini #60 with Ronca and Francioni at the wheel took the lead in lap 45 and wasn't overtaken until the end of the race when finished eighth overall. The second in the Lights classification was Massimo Saccomanno/Roberto Tonetti in Lucchini #66. Both Lucchinis proved overtook slowly running GMS that had big problems and lost two positions during final two laps. Third in Lights class was Pilbeam #63 fighting for podium position with fourth in the finish white Tampolli #59 driven by Nobili/Monti.

The race was very interesting. Only two cars retired, so there was 19 classified finishers. John Montgoletsi promised on the post race press conference that SRWC would return to Brno next year. This race had the largest ever sportscar entry at Brno (not including up to 35 cars entries at vintage Supersports Cup several years ago). But it is still not quite enough. Larger number of new cars in the SR1 group would be also very welcomed because most of the top contenders were at least two years old.

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