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2020 Monza Historic
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Round two
For the second round of the 2020 Peter Auto season, the French series visited the Autodromo Nazionale di Monza for the fourth Monza Historic. Despite being one of the hardest hit areas in Europe by the COVID-19 pandemic, Northern Italy has bounced back remarkably well. Racing at Monza had resumed by early July and the track also hosted the annual Italian Grand Prix in early September. Two weeks later, it was the turn of the Peter Auto grids to enjoy the high speed track. All of the familiar Peter Auto fields were represented, with cars competing ranging in age from an early 1950s Aston Martin DB2 Vantage to late 2000s Porsche and Ferrari GT racers.
Sadly, the health situation had not quite improved to the extent that the doors could be opened to the public. We were fortunate to be granted access and have used that to capture what the rest of the world had to miss. The result is this field-by-field, 190-shot gallery.

Tough two hours
As is usually the case during these Peter Auto weekends, the biggest grid of the weekend was for the two-hour Sixties' Endurance race. Open to sports cars and GT racers of the late 1950s and early 1960s, it is usually a Shelby Cobra free-for-all at the sharp end of the grid. That is certainly not the case this year with Nicky Pastorelli claiming pole position in the Iso Grifo A3/C he shared with owner David Hart. In the opening stages of the race, it was a Shelby Cobra that took the lead; the Columbian liveried example of James Cottingham and Harvey Stanley. Behind Cottingham, Hart fought valiantly against Christophe van Riet in another Cobra. That fight ended rather abruptly when the Cobra's rear axle exploded and Hart slid off the road on the resulting oil spill. Cottingham's lead also proved short lived as the small-block V8 in his Cobra expired shortly thereafter. First across the line, and with a lap in hand, was the Shelby Cobra shared by Urs Beck and Olivier Hart but it was given a time penalty for administrative reasons. This promoted the Shelby Cobra Daytona replica shared by Raymond Narac and Michel Lecourt to first place.

Sports car spectacle
The fastest cars of the weekend were found in the Group C and Endurance Racing Legends fields, which together cover the period from 1982 through to 2010. Recorded the best lap of the weekend was Ralf Kelleners in the Porsche 962C he shared with Ivan Vercoutere. He recorded a 1:40.728, averaging at a startling 207 km/h. In the two races, their pace was sufficient to score a victory and a second place. After a last-corner overtake. the winner of the second race were Michel Lecourt and Raymond Narac in their 962C.
Although considerably newer, the cars in the Endurance Racing Legends were not quite as fast. This can be explained by the lack of the massive ground-effect tunnels found on the Group C cars as well as missing out on the turbo-dial that could be turned to eleven. James Cottingham did come close in his 2001 Dallara SP1 with a 1:42.574, which represented an average speed of 203.3 km/h. Despite the changeable conditions, he managed to win both races handsomely. Second in both 30-minute heats was Dominik Roschmann with his exquisite Prodrive-built Ferrari 550 GTS Maranello.

Classic Endurance Racing
One of sports car racing's most revered eras is celebrated by the two Classic Endurance Racing (CER) grids. At Monza, the CER1 race (1966 - 1971) really lived up to the expectations. Pastorelli and Hart were on pole again for this one with their Lola T70. In the race, the biggest thread came from Claudio Roddaro in his Gulf-liveried Porsche 917 K. Making the most of a fresh set of tyres and his hugely powerful flat-12 engine, Roddaro passed two T70s on the long main straight to grab the lead. He managed to hold on until after Pastorelli took over from Hart in the pole-sitting Lola. What then ensued was a mighty battle that saw the two cars run nose-to-tail for many laps. Eventually Pastorelli managed to get by and claim the victory in the one-hour race.
There was no close battle for the overall victory in the CER2 race, which was dominated by Philippe Scemama in his thundering Lola T600. The race in the GT2 class was more interesting. This class included no fewer than four Ferrari 512 BB LMs and it was the example driven by Mr John of B. that charged through to win the class. He had also won the GT class in the CER1 race with his Ford GT40.

Final thoughts
The Autodromo Nazionale di Monza with its many relics of the past and legendary corners is a historic venue. As such, it forms the perfect backdrop for a historic race meeting like the Monza Historic. Although marred by the uncertain situation and travel restrictions, the event had strong grids throughout. This resulted in some great racing. All of this action can be found in our 190-shot gallery.


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