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Tag: Christian Montanari

Christian MontanariChristian Montanari ended up his trip to Zolder by ending up in a solid 5th place, in a race that crowned team-mate Thomas Biagi as the 2007 FIA GT Champion. The #2 Maserati MC12 driver was forced to recover from an initial incident after a close call with Andrea Bertolini. Montanari shown a strong pace, getting better and better, but eventually had to settle for 4th place in standings. A bit of disappointment was balanced by a great seasonal scoreboard, ended, together with Miguel Ramos, as the sole crew able to score points in every single race. Montanari impressed with the fast adaptation to a nearly unknown racing style, matching the great value of the car and team.

“At lap 1 I had to end up in the runoff area to avoid making contact with Bertolini, and the race’s steward only allowed me to rejoin after all the GT1 and GT2 cars. At that point, we did all we could to recover quickly than possible but the incident, together with the 60 Kilos of extra weight, the incident seriously jeopardized our chances. Despite the little regret for the 4th place in standings, we have to recognize the high value of this season’s performances. We were the only drivers to score points in all races, and that helped Vitaphone Racing and Maserati to clinch the team’s and the constructor’s championships. It’s a sum of the great job made by the team, the huge technical qualities of our cars, and the great progression of our results, also thanks to Miguel’s pace. This great season allowed us to learn a lot of useful things, that’ll help in the preparations for 2008”.

Formula Renault 3.5 World Series

Christian MONTANARI and the Team PREMA obtained their first seasonal victory in the World Series Formula Renault 3.5 Championship at the German circuit of Nürburgring. This victory was the fruit of the work in the box and on track. The Vicenza-based Team’s strategy was remarkable as it anticipated the mandatory pit-stop. Outstanding was also Christian who performed twenty-three laps without committing any mistakes. This is a deserved result that partly “pays back” the hard work of the Team in this first half of the season.

The weekend started on Friday with two collective test sessions where from the beginning our drivers were competitive. Unfortunate Greg FRANCHI missed the second session due to a gearbox problem. MONTANARI on the other hand who worked on the cars set up didn’t use new tyres at the end of the session because of the rain that was pouring in the Eifeland region. On Saturday, during the qualifying session that determined the starting grid for Race 1 Christian MONTANARI didn’t manage to do better than the fourth position due to a “FULL YELLOW” condition in the last five minutes. In the other session, Greg FRANCHI had set up problems and concluded the session with the twelfth chronometric time of the group. Both sessions were characterized by damp track conditions because of the rain that had poured previously.

In the first race, Christian’s start was good as he overtook many opponents. When he arrived at the first corner he braked too late which cost him a few positions. During the race he encountered a brake problem that was getting worse progressively and that didn’t allow him to be efficient, finishing in eleventh position. Eighteenth position for Greg FRANCHI. The following morning was held the second qualifying session. Under a pouring rain Christian obtained the third position of his group which made him start the race in fifth position. Greg concluded the session in the eleventh position of his group.

Race 2 started with dry track conditions and a good start from Christian. Our drivers were on two different strategies. MONTANARI who was in fourth position in the first lap entered for his pit stop in the early stages of the race. FRANCHI on the other hand retarded at the maximum his pit stop. Christian, at the end of the mandatory pit stops was the virtual leader of the race. FRANCHI was recovering positions until the points zone when he was penalized with a drive through penalty for positioning beyond the white line on the starting grid. Under the chequered flag Christian obtained the deserved victory that was missing since last year’s Monaco race. This success rewards the Team’s efforts in the first year in this category promoted by RST and RPM. Greg concluded in sixteenth place.

Angelo ROSIN, Team Principal of the Vicenza-based Team: “An enormous success for the Team and driver. Christian performed a race always pushing very hard and never committing mistakes, the team on the other hand was rewarded by a remarkable mandatory pit stop strategy. Now is the time for a deserved break before the race in the beginning of September at Donington. This result must be the stimulus for future events where we want to be protagonists.”

Greg FRANCHI: “An unfortunate weekend. In the second race we were in the point’s zone when I was penalized for my irregular starting position. I’m sorry. The team did a very good work, the car was competitive. We must only obtain what we are capable of.”

Christian MONTANARI: “This was a great race. A success built from the first to the last lap with smartness and determination. Our strategy was excellent. The mechanics were very fast during the tyre change and I could only push very hard. For us this is an important result after a difficult and unlucky start to the season.”

Formula Renault 3.5 World Series

On the Belgian circuit of Spa Francorschamps, as a support to the 24 hours of the FIA GT World Championship, went on track the thirty drivers registered in the 2006 World Series Championship.

Once more the results obtained during the races don’t reflect the real potential. Two free practice sessions on Thursday gave the opportunity to the Team Prema and its drivers, Belgian Greg Franchi and Sammarinese Christian Montanari, to perfection the cars’ set up. Yellow flags in the final minutes of the free practice didn’t allow being among the real protagonists.

Greg finished both sessions in fifteenth place while Christian finished eleventh. The following day, two qualifying sessions were held in order to determine the starting order for both races. In both sessions a set up, that wasn’t the best possible one, compromised both drivers’ performance.

The results were the same for both qualifying sessions with Christian finishing in seventh place of his group and Greg eleventh. A result certainly not positive for both the Team and the drivers. Just before the first race, on Friday afternoon a strong rain started pouring in the Ardennes zone, where the Spa circuit is situated.

The race started with a Safety-car regime for safety reasons and the race direction decided to send in the safety-car many times during the race due to many cars going off track. There were only a total of four real laps without the presence of the safety-car.

In a conditioned race as this one, Christian concluded in seventh place while Greg spun at La Source during the first stages of the race and finished in twentieth position.

Saturday’s race was held in dry track conditions. Christian was fighting for the positions in the points’ zone, when in the straight line before the “bus stop” chicane his right rear tyre exploded forcing him to reenter in the box. When he reentered the race, he had the same pace as the race leaders, demonstrating his potential. Greg finished the race in eighteenth place.

Massimo Lombardi, Technical responsible of the Vicenza-based Team: “I believe that this was the worst weekend since PREMA registered in the World Series Championship. We have to deeply analyze everything during these few remaining before the Nurburgring meeting in order to return as protagonists from next weekend’s German meeting and on.”