The wet weather took a toll at the Trofeo Abarth, which visited Paul Ricard last weekend for its second round of the year, with just one of the two races able to be held, while also in action on the French circuit was the Italian F4 Championship powered by Abarth which successfully enjoyed a triple-header although the last two races were held in the rain.
A severe downpour forced the organisers’ to abandon the second Trofeo Abarth race after a spectacular first opening encounter during which Italian driver Cosimo Barberini won yet again. It was his third success in three races and he departed from France leading the Abarth 695 Assetto Corse Evoluzione and Abarth 500 Assetto Corse championship rankings.
The qualifying sessions for the 'one make' Trofeo Abarth series were held in fine weather with Barberini earning the pole position at end of his last lap.
Race 1, on the other hand, started at 0900 on Sunday morning under heavy rain and behind the Safety Car. Finnish driver Juuso Pajuranta leapt ahead when the green lights came on while Barberini was also overtaken by young Italian Andrea Mabellini. After a few laps however, Pajuranta skidded off the track and then Barberini regained the lead with Mabellini in hot pursuit. The top two finished in this order while Pajuranta salvaged fifth place despite his excursion.
"Racing in this weather was tough with a lot of aquaplaning caused by the puddles on the track," Barberini said after the finish. "It was an exciting fight and I only just managed to win the day.”
Third place went to the promising rally driver Frenchman Nicolas Ciamin, who usually competes in the French Rally Championship with the Team Milano Racing Abarth 124 Rally.
"It was a tough debut, in heavy rain on a difficult track," said Ciamin. "The car reacted well and I managed to keep up with the leaders, who are all strong drivers. No-one was going to give up and at the end I was pleased with by place on the podium.”
Young Italian driver Aurora Coria won both the Abarth 500 Assetto Corse and Women's categories.
Despite the rain, many French Abarth Club enthusiasts and members of the Scorpionship (the official Abarth community which counts over 100,000 members) flocked to Paul Ricard support the drivers and enjoy a day under the 'sign of the Scorpion', joining the hospitality events and experiencing pre-race action in the pit lane with the 695 and 595 cars competing in the Trofeo.
Meanwhile, the young hopefuls contesting the Italian F4 Championship powered by Abarth this year also joined the ‘Scorpion’ trip to the French circuit for the single overseas round this year for both series, and they staged three spectacular races in the Tatuus single-seaters that are equipped with Abarth-tuned T-Jet engines.
Race 1, held in fine weather last Saturday, was won by British driver Olli Caldwell, who finished ahead of Dane Frederic Vesti and the latter would then go on to win the two races held in the rain on Sunday. However, with a second place in Race 2 added to the fifth place he earned in Race 3, Brazilian Enzo Fittipaldi – grandson of the two-times Formula 1 World Champion Emerson – is still leading the championship classification.
Trofeo Abarth 2018, Rd 2, Paul Ricard
Results Race 1
1. Cosimo Barberini (ITA) 10 laps in 30'05"891; 2. Andrea Mabellini (ITA) at 0"301; 3. Nicolas Ciamin (FRA) at 0"780; 4. Gabriele Volpato (ITA) at 2"217; 5. Juuso Pajuranta (FIN) at 8"610; 6. Robin Appelqvist (SWE) at 15"199; 7. Biagio Caruso (ITA) at 1'16"133; 9. Stefano Flamingo (ITA) at 1'24"850; 9. Aurora Coria (ITA, Abarth 500 Assetto Corse) at 3'04"349; 10. Filippo Lazzaroni (ITA, Abarth 500 Assetto Corse) +1 lap.
Championship standings (after 2 rounds)
All other drivers except stated driving the Abarth 965 Assetto Corse Evoluzione.
Fastest lap: Andrea Mabellini in 2'39"206, average speed 131.626 km/h.
Abarth Selenia Trophy: 1.Cosimo Barberini (ITA) 78 points; 2. Andrea Mabellini (ITA) 52; 3. Juuso Pajuranta (FIN) 45; 4. Robin Appelqvist (SWE) 35; 5. Stefano Fiamingo (ITA) 22; 6. "Gioga" (ITA) 16; 7. Gabriele Volpato (ITA) 15; 8. Franco Caruso (ITA) 10; 9.Stefano Lazzaroni (ITA) 5; 10. Aurora Coria (ITA) and "Boga" (ITA) 4.
Abarth 500 Assetto Corse standings: 1. Filippo Lazzaroni (ITA) 71 points; 2. Aurora Coria (ITA) 61; 3. Franco Storti (ITA) 15.
Gentlemen's standings: 1. Stefano Fiamingo (ITA) 58 points; 2. "Gioga" (ITA) 43 punti; 3. "Boga" (ITA) 30.
Under 18 standings: 1. Filippo Lazzaroni (ITA) 75 points.
Women's standings: 1. Aurora Coria (ITA) 75 points.
Photos: Trofeo Abarth Selenia 2018 / Italian F4 Championship powered by Abarth 2018