My location: United States
May 4, 2010

Hello everybody!

on the last weekend we were in Locorotondo for the first race of the Italian championship. This was a good a test for the European championship that will take place on this track on the 4 July.
During the euro warm-up we saw a very fast Ilia Van Gastel so we decided to test his set-up. On Wednesday evening we arrived in Locorotondo and on Thursday morning we could be early at the track. We had 2 cars: one with my usual set-up and the other with Ilia's one. The first impression in the morning was that Ilia's set-up was more consistent and faster than mine so we focused on this car and we just tested some engines and pipes..

On friday the grip started to come out and the laptimes got faster but in the afternoon with warmer conditions we started to struggle with some traction problems; my car was still fast but it was really difficult to have a good pace..anyway we decided to change nothing on the car because the first heat in the morning would have been colder.
On Saturday morning we had no free practice so we just had to hope that the car work good..unfortunately it was not like this..the temperature was high and I had the same problem that I had on Friday afternoon: fast car but too difficult to drive..the result was a 7th position after the first heat..a bit disappointing..for the second heat we decided to change the shock oil (we moved to a softer one both in the front and in the rear). In the second heat I could improve 2 seconds but I was still on 6th was clear that we had to do something..infact we decidet to change completely the set-up and we moved to our usual "Fiorano setup". The third heat was too hot to improve but the car was really constant and the pace was good..I had just some problems by braking and I had not enought steering in the two harpins: we moved the rear downstops from 4 to 7 and I put 30 tyres in the front (before I had 32 shore). At 6 we had the last heat..the weather condition were not perfect due to some wind but the temperature was much colder than car was really good now but the strong wind made my eyes cry so it was really difficult to drive and I made a little mistake that costed me 1 second. At the end I was 4th behind Collari, Salemi and Pirani..not bad thinking about our condition in the morning..

For the final we changed the engine and the gear ratio (this engine had less bottom power, less fuel consumption but higher revs). For the qualify we had 15/18-49/45 and for the final we moved to 50/46 with the same pinions (so short!!!).

In the 10 minutes free practice I tested some harder tyres but the feeling was much worse so we decided to use the same tyres of the qualy..
The final started at 4. After a few corners I could overtake Pirani who started with big tyres, so I was second behind Salemi and Collari; Balestri imediatly suffered of carburation setting (too lean) and lost about 3 laps. After some minutes Salemi made a mistake and lost some precious time. I was now 3 seconds behind the leader but our laptimes were similar and I couldn't catch I decided to look just behind me: Picco was some seconds behind me and Salemi was running good laptimes and was gaining ground on me and Picco. 4 minutes before the tyre change my car started to jump on the bumps and my laptimes got slower..Salemi was catching me..but I realised that he had to make one fuelstop more than me. For all the second half of the race I just concentrated on Salemi. At 2 minutes before the end he closed the gap and was near to me..probably with mo mistakes on my side he couldn't pass me before the end but, my luck, he made a mistake so I could relax for the last laps..the raced finished and Collari took the win with me 10 seconds behind him and Picco (who suffered one way bearing problems) on third.
A good overall result and many important points for the championship.

Let's prepare now for the European Champ!!

I want to thank my dad Marcello and Pasquale for the excellent pitlane work and my sponsors:
Serpent, Max Power, Enneti, Sanwa, Runner Time.

Till next time
Ciao ciao