Gareth Evans take the win as Kapadia get demoted in second Masters Endurance Legends
Alex Kapadia made it two out of two on track by winning the second Masters Endurance Legends race at Imola’s, only to be demoted post race a time penalty for a pit stop infringement placed him 4th overall in the final results. The ORECA-Nissan 03 P2 driver dominated from start to finish, heading the P1 machines of Gareth Evans (Creation-AIM) and Travis Engen (Audi R8).
Evans had a race-long fight with Steve Tandy’s P1 Lola-Mazda B12/60 before Tandy pulled off with a puncture on lap 17. Also in the mix from the start was Engen’s Audi, who was hot on the heels of Tandy’s Lola when he spun off into the gravel on lap 19, causing the red flag to come out with three minutes still on the clock. The race would not be resumed.
The race’s main excitement came in the laps leading up to the pitstops, as Michel Frey and Ralph Meichtry joined Evans, Tandy, Engen and Keith Frieser’s ORECA FLM09 in a six-car battle for second place. The two quick Swiss drivers had come from the back in their ORECA 03s and soon began mixing it with Kapadia’s initial pursuers, Frey moving up to third by lap 9.
The longer pitstops that were forced onto former Le Mans drivers Kapadia, Frey and Meichtry did not handicap Kapadia much, as he kept a 31-second lead over Tandy when the pit window closed. Frey and Meichtry, however, dropped back well behind Tandy and were fighting with Evans’s Creation when Frey spun into the gravel at Rivazza on lap 14, leading to the arrival of the safety car.
At the restart, Kapadia quickly ran out a sufficient lead over Tandy – and then over Evans and Engen when Tandy dropped out with his puncture. Meichtry’s progress was stopped by a gaggle of backmarkers separating him from Engen,
Meanwhile, Keith Frieser’s ORECA FLM09 was lost during the pitstop phase, the American coming into the pits but failing to leave it again. This handed positions to Mike Newton’s Lola-MG EX257 and Darius Ahrabian’s Lola-Lotus P2 Coupé.
In the GT class, Dominik Roschmann made it 1-1 in his intra-Aston Martin DBR9 battle with Nikolaus DItting by bringing his DBR9 home ahead of Ditting’s similar machine. Roschmann was further helped by yesterday’s winner Ditting spinning on lap 2. The Gérard Bouvet/Christian Perrier Venturi LM600 finished a distant third in class.