• 21-SEP-2013

Amici dents Leimer's championship advantage

With much anticipation, the penultimate race in the European Lamborghini Blancpain Super Trofeo season got underway at the Nürburging this morning, with series leader Cédric Leimer seeking to defend an 11 point lead from three championship contenders – poleman Adrian Zaugg, the form driver Andrea Amici who arrived in Germany with three consecutive victories, and the ever-present Leonardo Geraci.

In the only two-driver car in contention for the PRO-AM title, Adrian Zaugg again elected to open the race and build an advantage for his Amateur team-mate Federico De Nora. In the event, Zaugg worked precisely to script, leading the field away and progressively building out a lead of almost half a minute ahead of Andrea Amici. While the race was running to plan for Zaugg and Amici, the other two title pretenders were having a more challenging time. Cédric Leimer, aware of his start disadvantage having qualified in a lowly 9th, was pushing to claim back positions when he suffered a spin on lap 8 and dropped to 17th overall.

Leonardo Geraci was also in the wars, albeit not until after the pit window, but having been in contention in the top four in a raging battle with a hard-charging Andrea Gagliardini, he dropped to the bottom end of the top ten when a mechanical problem saw him stop temporarily on track.

But all eyes were on the front of the field as Zaugg handed the lead over to his team-mate at the very end of the pit window and Federico De Nora rejoined the race with a 17 second lead over Imperiale's Amici – almost a carbon copy of the situation in Spa. De Nora defended valiantly, but by lap 20, the Roman, with the title possibility spurring him on, overhauled the Amateur driver to claim the lead. However, it was not all plain sailing for the new race leader, as his Imperiale team-mate, Matteo Zucchi, racing as a singleton this weekend was having a storming race and once he had despatched De Nora and claimed second place, he set about hunting Amici down. In the event, Amici held a 0.743s lead to the line to claim a valuable maximum points score.

Behind Amici and Zucchi, De Nora held his resolve to finish Zaugg's good work with a podium finish in third, with a comfortable lead over Alberto Viberti, the first Amateur car home in fourth overall. With Amici claiming 15 points, attention turned to the other PRO-AM title contenders, and while Leimer staged a good recovery to finish seventh, the other key driver in the championship battle, Leonardo Geraci suffered a last lap retirement almost in sight of the finish line. His demise improved Leimer's situation, enabling him to collect another two unexpected points towards his championship bid.

Laurent Jenny had a steady race to 9th overall, dropping a few positions and points to his only Amateur series contender, Mirko Zanardini, who finished in 6th place despite suffering a drive-through penalty, having been adjudged to have crossed the white line on the pitlane exit following his pitstop. Jenny's points tally now means he is Amateur-champion elect.

The PRO-AM title comes down to two contenders, Cédric Leimer and Andrea Amici, separated by just four points with a maximum of 15 points available for the winner of the final race.

Tomorrow's final race commences at 0930hrs CET.