Success for Italy at the first event in the Abarth Selenia Trophy calendar, held on the Imola circuit on Sunday 29 April: reigning champion Cosimo Barberini, driving an Abarth 695 Assetto Corse Evoluzione, won both the day’s races, ahead of young fellow Italian Andrea Mabellini in the first and Finnish driver Juuso Pajuranta in the second. But these were not easy wins, in view of the technical difficulty of the Imola track, with its continuous climbs and downhills, which highlighted all the 695 Assetto Corse Evoluzione and Abarth 500 Assetto Corse cars’ excellent handling and stability. In the category reserved for the latter model – the entry level in automotive racing – victory went to very young Italian driver Filippo Lazzaroni, who finished ahead of young Aurora Coria, winner in the Women’s class.
Both races were extremely exciting. In the first, Barberini got a fast start from pole position and held on to first place, while behind him Mabellini, Appelqvist (SWE) and Pajuranta (FIN) battled fiercely for second with some spectacular overtaking (although fair play was always strictly observed). Barberini took advantage of this situation to extend his lead to a very safe margin, which however he wiped out three laps from the end with a mistake on the Rivazza bend, which allowed his rivals to catch up. Barberini managed to hold on to first place to the finishing line, coming home ahead of Mabellini – who recorded the fastest lap at an average of 143.595 km/h – and Pajuranta, who overtook Appelqvist on the final bend.
To make the second race more spectacular, the Abarth Selenia Trophy rules requires the first 8 finishers in Race 1 to start in reverse order: the winner starts from the fourth row in 8th position and the 8th to finish in pole, so that the fastest drivers start from the back of the field and are forced to do some exciting overtaking to obtain the lead. So after a few laps, the same four drivers as in Race 1 were again fighting for victory, and Barberini again achieved the win, ahead of Pajuranta and Mabellini. Appelqvist was fourth again.
The winner, Cosimo Barberini, was very happy: “Imola’s a circuit where you can’t get away with the slightest error and a moment’s carelessness can lose you a race: in Race 1 I went into Rivazza too fast and almost ran off the track into the sand. Luckily I managed to control my Abarth and hang on to the lead, but my heart was in my mouth!”.
Barberini heads the overall Abarth Selenia Trophy ranking with 51 points, followed by Mabellini and Pajuranta, tied on 34.
At Imola the fans from “Scorpionship” – the official Abarth community – had a thrilling day, enjoying the meeting together with the drivers in the paddock. They and the many fans at the circuit also had the chance to try out the Abarth range, comprising the Abarth 595, 595 Pista, 595 Turismo, 595 Competizione, 695 Biposto and Abarth 124 spider, on the roads around Imola and, above all, the exciting opportunity to drive the same brilliant cars on the mythical Santerno track with professional drivers at their side, for a burst of pure adrenalin. This opportunity will again be on offer at the other upcoming Abarth Selenia Trophy events: the next will be on the Le Castellet circuit in France on 12 and 13 May.
Race 1: 1. Cosimo Barberini (ITA) 14 laps 29’04.728″ 2. Andrea Mabellini (ITA) 1.400″ behind; 3. Juuso Pajuranta (FIN) 2.956″ behind; 4. Robin Appelqvist (SWE) 5.522″ behind; 5. Stefano Fiamingo (ITA) 47.642″ behind; 6. “Gioga” (ITA) 1’05.076″ behind; 7. Alberto Sabbatini (ITA) 1′ 15.662″ behind; 8.”Boga” (ITA) 1′ 44.466″ behind; 9. Filippo Lazzaroni (ITA), (Abarth 500 Assetto Corse) 1 lap behind; 10. Aurora Coria (ITA), (Abarth 500 Assetto Corse) 2 laps behind; 11. Franco Storti (ITA), (Abarth 500 Assetto Corse) 2 laps behind. All other drivers in Abarth 695 Assetto Corse Evoluzione cars. Fastest lap Mabellini in 2’03.071″ average speed 143.595 km/h.
Race 2: 1. Cosimo Barberini (ITA) 12 laps 27’14.759″ 2. Juuso Pajuranta (FIN) 1.727″ behind; 3. Andrea Mabellini (ITA) 2.550″ behind; 4. Robin Appelqvist (SWE) 3.229″ behind; 5. Alberto Sabbatini (ITA) 39.105″ behind; 6. “Gioga” (ITA) 48.460″ behind; 7. Stefano Fiamingo (ITA) 50.777″ behind; 8. Biagio Caruso (ITA) 1’31.470″ behind; 9. Filippo Lazzaroni (ITA), (Abarth 500 Assetto Corse) 28’47.233″ behind; 10. Aurora Coria (ITA), (Abarth 500 Assetto Corse) 2 laps behind. All other drivers in Abarth 695 Assetto Corse Evoluzione cars. Fastest lap Pajuranta in 2’04.152″ average speed 142.345 km/h.
Abarth Selenia Trophy overall standings: 1. Cosimo Barberini (ITA) 51 points; 2. Andrea Mabellini (ITA) and Juuso Pajuranta (FIN) 34; 4. Robin Appelqvist (SWE) 24; 5. “Gioga” (ITA) and Fiamingo (ITA) 18.
Abarth 500 Assetto Corse standings: 1. Filippo Lazzaroni (ITA) 53 points; 2. Aurora Coria (ITA) 36; 3. Franco Storti (ITA) 15.
Gentlemen standings: 1. Stefano Fiamingo (ITA) and “Gioga” (ITA) 43 points; 3. “Boga” (ITA) 30.
Under 18 standings: 1. Filippo Lazzaroni (ITA) 50 points.
Women’s standings: 1. Aurora Coria (ITA) 50 points.