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2018 Imola Classic
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Final round
For the final round of the 2018 season, Peter Auto ventured to the Autodromo Enzo e Dino Ferrari for the Imola Classic. It already was the French organisation's fourth visit to the scenic and undulating track that still has the look and feel of a classic. This makes it the perfect venue for a historic racing meeting. The packed program featured all of Peter's full season grids, which meant that the event boasted sports racing cars, touring cars and single seaters from the early 1950s through to the fire-spitting Group C machinery of the early 1990s. The lure of the fabulous circuit and a fall weekend in Italy prompted most of the season regulars to bring out their historic racing cars for one more time in 2018.
Our photographers ventured to the city of Imola to capture the event with both beautiful fall colours and Sunday changeable conditions in its entirety. All of the highlights made it into our class-by-class 210-shot gallery for you to enjoy.

New faces
Despite being the last round of the season, the Imola Classic managed to attract several interesting cars that had not been raced in a Peter Auto event before. One among them was the Alfa Romeo TZ fielded by Franco Meiners in the Greatest's Trophy. This was one of just three originally fitted with a fibreglass instead of the much more familiar aluminium body. A former works car, it has also had a lengthy historic racing career. Meiners raced against it when he was 18-years old and ever since he had been eying to acquire the fibreglass TZ and race it himself. He finally managed to do so and he did the car justice by finishing fourth in the first raced and second in the other against much more powerful machinery.
Another evocative machine that we saw in action for the first time was a Gulf-liveried Porsche 917 K. This early car was raced by the factory at Le Mans in 1969 and was then used at Zeltweg for the test that led to the development of the hugely effective 917 K. Restored by specialists Freisinger in the late 1980s and early 1990s, it has rarely been seen in public, let alone on a racetrack since.

Touring titans
One of the most successful and spectacular races of the Peter Auto weekends is the Heritage Touring Cup (HTC). This one-hour, pit-stop event features Group 1, Group 2 and Group A touring cars from the 1970s and 1980s. Not quite as precious as the sports prototypes and GT racers campaigned in the other grids, the cars are driven with great verve, often flying over the kerbstones. Not all cars in the field have period racing history but they are built to the correct specification. Among these clones are an increasing number of four-cam Ford Capris and as well as a BMW 3.0 CSL with the mighty 24-valve straight six. The most recent of these 'new' cars was Steve Dance's Cosworth-engined Capri that replaced his earlier Capri RS 2600. With his old car, he was already one of the frontrunners but he instantly qualified the howling Capri on pole position, beating the 24-valve CSL and two other Cosworth Capris. Despite the changeable conditions during the race, Dance made no mistake and he won from Christian Traber in the BMW and Olly Bryant in a Capri RS 2600 with period racing history.

Classic Endurance Racing
Not affected by the rain on Sunday was the two-hour Sixties' Endurance race on Saturday evening. Although using a different Shelby Cobra as at the previous rounds, it was again dominated by Belgian Christophe van Riet, who won from pole position.
Van Riet was also one of the front runners in Sunday afternoon's Classic Endurance Racing (CER1) race with a Lola T70 Mk3 Coupe. He started third on the grid but eventually had to settle for second, beaten only and narrowly by the more nimble but less powerful Chevron B19 of Maurizio Bianco. Victory in the GT class was for Mr John of B. and Soheil Ayari in the former's newly acquired Ford GT40.
Rain greatly affected the Classic Endurance Racing 2 (CER2) outcome as particularly the qualifying session on Sunday morning was a very wet affair. Some drivers opted not to go out at all. Yves Scemama did and qualified his three-litre TOJ on pole in very treacherous conditions. Like all races on Sunday, the one-hour CER2 race also started behind the safety car. Pole-sitter Scemama made no mistake grabbed the lead once the actual racing started but further down the order there were some incidents that prompted the safety car to be brought straight out again. It did not affect the outcome as Scemama won the race despite a heavy vibration in the car during the second half the race, and Franco Meiners finished an impressive third overall and first in the GT class with his Lancia Beta Montecarlo.

Final thoughts
One of the great and very few unspoilt tracks in Europe, the Autodromo Enzo e Dino Ferrari received universal praise from the competitors and formed the perfect backdrop for the 2018 season finale. Even the changeable conditions on Sunday did little to dampen the spirits. We, for one, can't wait for the new season to kick off again at Barcelona in April but for now, we invite you to browse through our action-packed 210-shot gallery with all the highlights of the fourth Imola Classic.


Report by Wouter Melissen and images by Wouter Melissen and Pieter Melissen for Ultimatecarpage.com