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Winning pass on final lap caps race for Cardenas in Enna Pergusa nGTx

Image by Norman Bruce
My race ended here.

Barker logs time in lead of pack

Image by Mario Saban
Enna Pergusa nGTx
ROUND 1
12 Jan 2012
NEXT
Image by Alberto Alvarez

12 Jan 2012 — One last pass on the final lap put Fernando Cardenas in first place at the finish line in the Enna Pergusa nGTx in the opening round of the Extreme nGT [Euro] series.

Cardenas mixed it up with Andy Bolt in a long and persistent fight for fourth from the early stages, passing each other twice over a stretch of 10 laps. Cardenas spent the majority pursuing Bolt after being engaged and passed by him on lap 7. Cardenas got around Bolt and into second place when Bolt retired on the final lap.

Colin Barker led the pack for three laps in a run to fifth place.

Andy Bolt commanded the lead most of all, leading 18 of 33 laps on a run to fourth place.

Alberto Alvarez captured second place.

Extreme nGT [Euro] series moves on to Round 2 in a month at Singapore. The series has 10 drivers competing for points in the championship.

Barker wrestled the advantage back and forth with Leen De Koning in a lengthy and determined fight for fifth starting early on, passing each other three times over a stretch of 15 laps. Driving the Ferrari 360, Barker ran nearly equal parts leading De Koning after initially challenging and passing him on the fifth lap. After losing the spot on lap 26, Barker passed De Koning for the second time and into fifth place on lap 29, and held it the remaining couple laps to the checkered flag.

Bolt traded positions with Mario Saban in a drawn-out fight for the race lead late in the action, battling over a range of 16 laps. Driving the Porsche RSR, Bolt spent equal parts leading Saban after being engaged by him on lap 7. After losing the spot on lap 23, Bolt cleared Saban and into first place on lap 28, and controlled it the remaining few laps to the finish.

Alvarez took the fight back and forth with Fernando Cardenas in a long and persistent battle for fourth starting midway through, running within a turn of each other over a range of 33 laps. Driving the Porsche RSR, Alvarez ran the majority leading Cardenas after originally being caught by him on the first lap. Alvarez fended off an extended attack by Cardenas in the beginning, staying just car lengths ahead of him over a continuous run of 14 laps. Ultimately Alvarez lost the spot on lap 29 and settled into second through attrition the lap running to the checkered flag.

Michael Virt won third place.

Virt swapped leads with Alberto Alvarez in a lengthy and determined fight for fourth starting midway through, passing each other twice over a range of 10 laps. Virt drove the majority pursuing Alvarez after catching him on lap 14, coming from as many as seven places back. Ultimately Virt settled into third through attrition the lap running to the checkered flag.

Mario Saban logged 11 laps at the front in a seventh-place run.

RESULTS Click driver name for individual report
1 Fernando Cardenas JamaicaBoyz SpeedWerkz 33 57:16.585
2 Alberto Alvarez Phoenix Racing 33 57:19.626
3 Michael Virt Phoenix Racing 33 58:08.693
4 Andy Bolt Norfolk Enchance 32 57:28.551
5 Colin Barker Norfolk Enchance 31 57:54.687
6 Leen de Koning Norfolk Enchance 29 DNF
7 Mario Saban 29 DNF
8 Norman Bruce Team WFO Racing 14 DNF
9 Pete Bunce Over The Hill Racing 11 DNF
10 Sergiu Mihaila 4 DNF
Image by Alberto Alvarez
Yes, a TVR and a Nissan in the front row
Image by Alberto Alvarez
2 laps to go and the battle for the win is on its highest!!
POSTRACE

INT
–4 L
FIN
6
Q
5
REP
 
CLASS
nGT
CAR
Porsche RSR
Posted by Leen de Koning at 11:13 PM on Thu Jan 12 CET

Disconnection with 6 minutes to go :(
First time this happens to me and i'm not happy with it, but it happens.
There was 1 other thing that happened and i wasn't happy with that either.

INT
–3.041
FIN
2
Q
3
REP
 
CLASS
nGT
CAR
Porsche RSR
Posted by Alberto Alvarez at 09:38 AM on Fri Jan 13 CET

Made a good Q and reached P3, but the really good part of Q was seeing Fernando going through the second chicane... wow!, that was confidence! easy to see where I was loosing the advantage of the RSR.

I reacted quickly to the green light and overtook Pete. Fernando made a mistake on the first chicane, having to avoid the concrete tires, and for a while I was leading the race, but I misjudged the breaking point for the next left turn and went wide too, allowing Mario to pass.

It took me some time to adapt my braking points from Q to a car with 100L of fuel and Mario opened a gap lap by lap. Pete and Fernando were fighting behind me so I could concentrate only on the track and the doom chicanes.

I reached half of the race in 3rd position, behind Mario and Fernando. I had started on softs-softs tires and I planned to refuel only during my stop. Pete was out of the race and I had a good gap with the drivers behind, so I had nothing to lose and took the risk.

The strategy worked, and after adding 65L, I went back to the track with about a 20 secs advantage with Fernando, (Mario was way ahead of us) but the trick in this track was soft-meds. My soft rear tires started to be a pain and I couldn't accelerate right and started to make little mistakes, and a big one Fernando took good advantage of.

With just 4 laps to go, I was thinking about finishing in a good 3rd position, but then I received the message that Mario was out of the race, and at the same time, I saw Fernando making a mistake on the end of the first sector!! 4 laps to go and I was only a second or two behind the leader!!

Michael was behind me so I decided to push as much as possible, but I regretted the tire choice, specially on the last corner, where I had to be very careful. Anyway I tried, but Fernando didn't make any other mistake and I finished on 2nd place, which is quite a good result!

The only bad thing is now I'm sold for the next race, unable to drive the RSR!!

Congrats to the survivors, and see you at Philip Island!

INT
–4 L
FIN
7
Q
4
REP
 
CLASS
nGT
CAR
Porsche RSR
Posted by Mario Saban at 01:06 PM on Fri Jan 13 CET

After this race I can only drink a mug of cold beer! And Leen, I know exactly how you feel, trust me!

Not good qvali for me, hit the chicane first time and for a second quick lap there was no time. Race start(Pete was a little asleep): At the first chicane Fernando has mistake and Alberto and I have crossed it. Next left turn is little tricky for cold tires(and Alberto is little "pulled" me) so we both must cut. After the first chicanes, in the first place, which I kept until the disconnection(at the same time as Leen) 6 min before the end of the race and about 1 min big gap between 2nd. Lapping guys were excellent, signaling with lights, well done. Pit stop was ok, only fuel no tires change. I must admit that the slitter 1 and a wing 3 works great on RSR :)

Congrats Fernando on the victory and the guys on the podium!

edit: I do not know why people do not like the chicanes at Enna, but I love them a lot, a lot of excitement... but few times I was really close to crash :)

INT
0
FIN
1
Q
1
REP
 
CLASS
nGT
CAR
TVR T400R
Posted by Fernando Cardenas at 04:23 PM on Fri Jan 13 CET

Thanks guys, this was a nice change of pace, though I really didn't expect to do so well.

The race was pretty harrowing for me, but still fun, and exhilarating for the most part. The scariest parts for me were actually trying to stay off of those high curbs (almost the entire track)... :( and the first part of the Zagaria dual chicanes after the long straight. I had pretty much mastered the Proserpina and Schumacher chicanes of doom having setup the car to deal with them as a priority.

Summary

Qualifying went extremely well, though I wasn't as fast as in testing. The car just didn't feel the same (maybe it was the 2x fuel) and that gave me a slight amount of doubt in taking corners. However it was great to see the 350z up there with the TVR. These two cars are actually very fast, (on par with the RSR and GTC), but often underdeveloped and then overlooked for the more popular Porsches and Ferraris.

At Race time, I tried to be as careful as possible, staying off the curbs and being mindful of the fuel weight on my rear axle. I had a really bad feeling on brake approach to the Proserpina Chicane and had to abort it. This allowed Mario and Alberto to get through, and that immediately put me down into 3rd position. Pete rolled up right behind me for the straight and we battled for a few laps. 4.0L I6 power baby!!.

I was catching up to Alberto in the RSR, but then at my worst corner of the track, (start of Zagaria) I locked up the rear wheels from too much braking and immediately spun the car into the corner, I ended up hitting the back of Alberto's RSR and we both settled in a pile on the runoff area. Thankfully no serious damage was done to any of us and we continued. However, I had banged up the front aero pretty good and it heavily affected my top speed. I could no longer actively catch up to the RSR, and I settled to just being as consistent as possible.

Pete's connection loss put me back on the podium for 3rd and I started to hope! I was now waiting for pit time to repair the car and once that had happened, I put on the speed again. Started catching up to Alberto through the chicanes. I eventually got past him for second place when he spun at Pinetta. Then some laps later I made a mistake at the Piscine exit. While drifting the car sideways to regain control, I got a message stating that Mario had disconnected... "Hmmm... 1st Place... Interesting..." Lol. At this point I tried the best I could to be consistent and was able to keep the position to the end.

Congrats to the podiums. Great race Alberto and Michael!
Really unfortunate for Pete, I was having a great time racing against him in the 350z. For Mario too especially, he pretty much looked for a flawless victory until that connection loss. See you all in the next event! xD

Great Race Guys!!

INT
–22 L
FIN
9
Q
2
REP
 
CLASS
nGT
CAR
Nissan 350Z
Posted by Pete Bunce at 06:07 PM on Fri Jan 13 CET

Cold beer here too! Grats Fernando :)


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