Race: Ferraris rule again at Spa

French sportscar ace Jean-Marc Gounon returned to FIA Sportscar Championship in triumphant fashion by taking the chequered flag to head up the second Ferrari one-two finish of the season at Spa-Francorchamps on Sunday

Race: Ferraris rule again at Spa

Gounon, drafted in by the BMS Scuderia Italia team to replace FIA GT-bound Christian Pescatori, eventually won at a canter on his return to the series (formerly known as the SportsRacing World Cup) after a two year break.

While their main rivals fell by the wayside one by one, the two Scuderia Italia cars ran like clockwork.

Once Gounon took over in third place at the halfway point from co-driver Marco Zadra, who had been delayed for 20 seconds by a clash while lapping Peter Owen's Reynard, he passed Lilian Bryner's sister car and immediately began closing the 40-second gap to Japanese driver Hiroki Katoh in the RN Motorsport Dome-Judd S101, which had led from the beginning.

Despite it being his first ever race in a 333SP, a charging Gounon began to catch Katoh at three seconds per lap, and a grandstand finish was in the offing. But the Dome had a rear damper break, and made a long stop to get it fixed, eventually finishing down in tenth.

With the Dome's demise, it was plain sailing to the flag for the Frenchman to score the team's second win of the year, in the process promoting Marco Zadra into the championship lead.

"Our car does not have the straight line speed of the others around here," said Gounon, "so to win here today is an excellent result. I was pushing as hard as I could to catch Katoh, but after that it was just a case of cruising around."

Third place eventually fell to the second Dome of the Racing for Holland team. Team boss Jan Lammers had started from the back of the grid after the car stalled on the grid, and was hampered by picking up debris on his tyres. But young Dutch co-driver Val Hillebrand used a different line to lap rapidly and tie up the car's second third place in as many races.

The British Ascari team was fourth with Ben Collins and Werner Lupberger, a result which might have been much better had a piece of debris not punctured a hole in the front splitter, ruining the handling and causing a one-minute delay at their first pit stop.

In the SRII class Massimo Monti and Renato Nobili took an excellent win in their BM Autosport Tampolli-Alfa. Monti had made all the early running, and when Martin O'Connell's Rowan Pilbeam retired with engine problems the main opposition was limited to the works Lucchini of Filippo Francioni and Raffaele Raimondi. The latter held the lead towards the end, but Nobili caught and passed him with 15 laps remaining to take the win.



Gounon/Zadra M, BMS Scuderia Italia Ferrari 333SP, 2hrs31m27s
Bryner/Calderari/Zadra A, BMS Scuderia Italia Ferrari 333SP, + 5.39s
Lammers/Hillbrand, Racing for Holland Dome-Judd S101, + 1m25.64s
Lupberger/Collins, Team Ascari Ascari-Judd A410, - 1 lap
Lavaggi/Vann, GLV Racing Ferrari-Judd 333SP, - 2 laps


Monti/Nobili, BM Autosport Tampolli-Alfa RTA99, 62 laps
Peroni/Bouvet, Lucchini Eng. Lucchini-Alfa 2000, - 18.22s
Francioni/Raimondi, Lucchini Eng. Lucchini-Alfa 2001, - 1 lap
Tonetti/Saccomanno, Audisio & Benvenuto Lucchini-Alfa 2001, + 53.36s
Oberto/Bjork/Goddard, Swedish Racing Lola-Nissan B2K/40, + 17.08s






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