My location: United States
Jun 24, 2001

With 3 months to go till the World Championships, Lamberto Collari (Kyosho) has made a great comeback at the Italian Grand Prix at Melzo. He took the lead right after the start coming from 3rd position after the 2 front runners Fantini and Ielasi collided in the first corner. From then on he never looked back and won in convincing style. Alberto Picco finished 2nd and Daniele Ielasi 3rd (Serpent).

The battle for the remaining 6 places for the final was as expected fierce. In the first semi Solaroli (Serpent) had to come from almost 1 lap down to catch theAdrian Bertin (Kyosho) just before the end of the race. Christophe Aygon (Mugen) was in 3rd position but was chased hard by Oliver Mack (Slide). In the very last lap Mack passed him but Aygon shut the door on him, they collided with Mack spinning and Aygon sure to take 3rd. But it wasn’t to be as he ran without fuel with just half a lap to go giving 3rd to Mack again. Fabio Domanin (Serpent) fought a lost battle after his car flamed out at the start. He was the fastest man and looked sure to connect with the leaders when his car flamed out again after the second fuel stop.

In the second semi final, Michael Salven (Serpent VETEQ) started from pole and was able to stretch his lead to 3 seconds after 3 ½ minutes over chasers Colombini and young Stefano Cacciari (both Serpent) when suddenly his engine ran lean and he had to come in to have his carburator adjusted. Whatever they did the engine kept running lean. Later it was found that the main needle was closing itself almost 2 full turns when the engine was revving high, something Salven had never experienced before in his long racing career. The end of Salven’s quest to show the true potential of the car he designed himself. Colombini and Cacciari took over the lead until Colombini was hit by another car and was thrown back half a lap. After 10 minutes he had to give up his quest when the engine stopped. Geisendorfer (Slide) moved in second behind Cacciari and Josh Cyrul (Kyosho) in third. This is how they finished as well, with both 3rd placed finishers proceeding to the final as well.

The stage was set for a thriller 45 min. final. 4 Serpent cars, 3 Kyosho, 2 Slides and 1 Picco. The start was delayed for 10 minutes after Bertin ‘brushed’ the pit wall in warm-up and had to mount a new rear up-right which he managed in time. But an unwilling engine made him miss the start afterall and in the second lap he again hit the same wall, probably on the same spot but this time it was terminal. Collari and Picco took advantage of Fantini and Ielasi colliding right after the start. Iealsi lost half a lap and Fantini ¾ of a lap, but they were harly gaining ground on the 2 front runners as they also had to work traffic. Cacciari moved in 3rd place but could not hang on the the leaders. After 15 minutes he had to retire from the race with radio problems after being cought by Ielasi and Fantini. Much would depend on the tire strategy. All but Collari and Ielasi decided to change tires mid race. This worked for Ielasi as he could catch Picco for 2nd place during Picco’s tire change but at the end his tires were worn down to much to be able to keep of the hard charging Picco. Even Fantini came till within just a few seconds befoe the end, but had to settle for 4th just outside the podium. Oliver Mack kept it going to finish 5th. When the flag dropped Lamberto Collari had won the race, with Picco second and Ielasi third. The un-offical pre-world in Melzo were history, but Lamberto Collari has positioned himself again as one of the favorites for the 2001 IFMAR Worlds in Sydney. Can he do it a sixth time?

1 Lamberto Collari (188)
2 Alberto Picco (187)
3 Daniele Ielasi (186)
4 Massimo Fantini (186)
5 Oliver Mack (181)
6 Stefano Solaroli (180)
7 Josh Cyrul (164)
8 Markus Geisendorf (120)
9 Stefano Cacciari (65)
10 Adrian Bertin (2)