2009 Italian Grand Prix
'Stellar' Morris wins on debut
The English driver, making his debut in the GPVWC, impressed the field with a perfect qualifying lap, clocking a time 1 second faster than his closest rival, Championship leader Joe Consiglio. Morris's teammate, Nick Rowland, also showed skill to qualify in the first rows, giving further proof of the quality of CSG's entrants.
The race proved to be one of the most enjoyable for watchers, with closely fought battles, daring overtaking manoeuvres and some terrifying accidents which, fortunately, did not have any serious consequences. The feared bottleneck at Turn 1 didn't result in any carnage - the only casualties being Anthony Meier and Richard Bayes. The Australian's crash, due to a puncture collected at turn 1, saw his Constant Racing collide to the barriers and very nearly bounce back in the path of the rest of the field.
As the field rushed towards the famous Parabolica curve, disaster struck for Championship contender Adam Rouse. A nudge by Mark Wicks in the Variante Ascari sent the Nordsjoen driver into the wall, ending his race and, potentially, his hopes to clinch the World Champion crown at the end of the season. With Wicks serving a drive through for the collision, the last stunt of lap 1 saw a collision between Dan Rusu and Mark Fuller send the Woods Racing driver in the barriers. The Romanian was fuming after yet another one of his races was ended prematurely: "I thought I was in front, yet Mark tried to dive in. All this preparation, and my race was over in a little more than a minute."
As Morris sped away in the distance, some fierce battles erupted in mid-pack, helped by the fact the Italian track made for a choice of strategies. Local lad William Ponissi, who grew up a mere 10 km from the Parabolica, had a busy time fighting off Mark Wicks, Kieran Ryan and Daniel Bolman - twice, in fact, as the Italian chose a 1 stop strategy as opposed to his rivals' two visits to the pits. A frustrated Wicks was stuck behind the Constant Racing driver for about 5 laps, until Ponissi eventually pitted and let the Cornish driver on to clinch 4th.
Debutant Nick Rowland engaged Chris Kinsman in a bitter battle for 5th. The Allen GP driver had the upper hand, but not before a synchronised spin sending both drivers in the wall almost ended both races. Kinsman, however, made it to the line to collect 4 important points for his team in a Constructors' championship perspective.
Late accidents for Wayne Mullins and Ponissi when they were in 7th position promoted Kieran Ryan, who had to struggle with a damaged car since an early brush with the wall, into the points. Welshman Mullins will surely rue another missed chance to increase Gear F1's tally in a race doomed by bad luck for the Milan-based team, with other driver Gavin Thomas suffering an electric failure after a good effort in qualifying.
Emotions lasted until the very end of the race. As a celebrating Lee Morris sped past the finish line, Joe Consiglio was mounting his last attacks on direct rival Janne Tanskanen. The Finn driver showed exactly why he is one of the most respected aces in the league, keeping his cool and repealing Consiglio's moves to clinch 2nd and shaving two points off the gap in the Championship.
With four races remaining, the Constructors' Championship is just a matter of arithmetic for Nordsjoen Racing, the orange-blue team in the conditions of clinching the title as early as Valencia next week. In the Drivers' Rankings, Joe Consiglio saw his advantage rise to 13 points - one more than he had before Monza - with Mark Wicks relinquishing P2 to Tanskanen.
With CSG and their stellar form now a force to be reckoned with, each point in the next races could be decisive to assign the 2009 title.
2009 Brazilian Grand Prix
|2009 Italian Grand Prix
2009 Spanish Grand Prix