The first day of running in Asti for Rounds 5 and 6 of the inaugural RCGP World Series is complete, with cars taking to the track for both Free Practice and Seeding Practice.
A flowing yet technical layout greeted the teams and drivers upon arrival, incorporating elements such as step-up sections, elevation changes and a crossover bridge, all of which look set to make mistake-free running difficult throughout the weekend.
With glorious sunshine covering the circuit, Free Practice got underway with Elliott Boots leading the way for SWORKz International, followed closely by Davide Ongaro, the series leader hitting the ground running at his home round. SWORKz Europe’s new recruit, Leonardo Valente, made a strong impression with a top three run, with Infinity’s Lee Martin in fourth.
SWORKz International’s Elliott Boots is showing good form so far, seeding second overall.
The second round saw Ongaro hit the top, a position he would hold onto for the remaining Free Practice sessions, asserting his pace early on – however, title rival David Ronnefalk would not be far behind, coming up just half a second shy of Ongaro over 8 laps. Ronnefalk would also remain in the same position for the rest of the sessions, suggesting a close battle at the front is likely between the two title contenders. Elsewhere, Infinity driver Kyle McBride backed up teammate Martin’s pace with a P3 in the third round, whilst Juan Carlos Canas also rounded out his Free Practice sessions with a P3, making it three SWORKz cars in the top seven positions overall.
Davide Ongaro set the benchmark once more with a near perfect Friday.
Round 1 of the all important Seeding Practice opened up with Davide Ongaro on top with two laps covered in 1:18.288, over a second clear of BeachRC Wildcard Marco Ravaglia in second, the RCGP debutant showing strong pace. David Ronnefalk would be three tenths back with a time of 1:19.7, with Elliott Boots and Lee Martin a tenth apart in fourth and fifth respectively. Ongaro would improve his two-lap time in Round 2, breaking the 1:17 barrier, whilst Elliott Boots would also improve to a 1:18.1, considerably closer to Ongaro’s pace – Ronnefalk also dropped into the low 1:18 zone, two tenths behind, whilst Marco Ravaglia was also able to break the 1:18 barrier in fourth position.
Round 3 saw slightly slower times across the board, but it would be Ongaro on top again, meaning the Scuderia Scampi Rosso – CommSportMx driver would secure the top seed position ahead of qualifying after a near perfect Friday. With three different drivers scoring a P2 in round, times would determine the order down to fourth – the Round 2 run from Elliott Boots would secure second overall for the SWORKz driver, with Ronnefalk in third for HB Racing – Performa Racing and fourth overall going the way of Marco Ravaglia. Kyle McBride sits fifth for Infinity, with Ravaglia’s BeachRC teammate Marco Baruffolo placing sixth, followed by series returnee Atsushi Hara for HB/Performa. Lee Martin, Leonardo Valente and Micha Widmaier round out the top ten, whilst Juan Carlos Canas – currently third in the Drivers’ Standings – sits 11th overall.
HB Racing – Performa Racing’s David Ronnefalk is back at the sharp end in Italy, chasing title rival Ongaro for the top spot.
With Ongaro leading the way yet again, the championship challengers have the difficult task of trying to chase down the young Italian, but encouraging Friday pace from both Ronnefalk and Boots, as well as newcomer Ravaglia, means the race is still on at the front of the pack in Asti.