Ragazzi takes the first 2015 Maserati Trofeo race
Round 1 in the Maserati Trofeo World Series saw Riccardo Ragazzi top the podium at Paul Ricard. As things turned out, the Italian was not first across the line: this honour went to Frenchman Ange Barde (from team Boutsen Ginion) but he was penalised 5 seconds for not keeping to the speed limit in an exciting last lap. The decision to award first place to Ragazzi was taken immediately after the race, a thrilling one in which the two swapped the lead throughout and crossed the line neck and neck.
In third, and on the podium for the first time, was Adrien De Leener. He earned his spot with a series of overtaking moves that saw him climb the field from an initial seventh on the grid. Giuseppe Fascicolo came in fourth with Mauro Trentin (partnered with Alessandro Proh) up next. Sixth went to the returning Australian Richard Denny – who drove really well – and seventh to Romy Dall’Antonia (Emanuele Smurra’s team-mate at Redragon).
Out of the running was Romain Monti. He started from second spot but a clash with Ragazzi at turn four saw him slip to ninth on lap 1. Though the Frenchman had his sights set higher, he could do no better than eighth.
Race 2 is timed for 15.25 – 16.07 tomorrow and anything could happen. This is thanks to the new regulations that see the top ten Race 1 finishers inverted for Race 2. The added weight assigned to Ragazzi (50 Kg), Barde (30) and De Leener (10) should also spice things up.
The new Race 1 grid format was inaugurated only today: following Friday’s pre-qualifying, the qualifying session to decide the positions from 13 on was held this morning on a wet surface. The SuperPole to define the first 12 slots (won by Ragazzi) was contested between the top ten drivers from Qualifying and the best two from the morning’s pre-qualifying.
Race 2 will be shown on Motors TV on 26 April.
“I’m pleased at getting back to winning ways after a few unsuccessful races”, commented Riccardo Ragazzi. “I clashed with Monti soon after the start but he came off worse. I later made a mistake and Barde made me pay. I tried to retake top spot as the race came to an end; I was quicker but there were just no gaps to go through. Still, it all turned out okay as my rival picked up a penalty. With the grid spots being inverted, I will line up tenth for tomorrow’s Race 2. I will also be carrying extra weight but will be giving it my best shot”.
Race 1 result:
1 Riccardo Ragazzi – 44:01.988
2 Ange Barde – 44:06.344
3 Adrien De Leener – 44:20.819