Pro-Line’s Lee Martin wins Indoor Italian Job Race
Pro-Line‘s latest addition to the team, Lee Martin, took an emphatic win at the weekend’s Italian Job Race held at the unique World-class indoor facility in North Eastern Italy. Qualifying witnessed World Champion Robert Batlle stamp his authority however it would be Lee Martin who would start on pole after the semi finals. Fellow Brit Neil Cragg had a tougher time as he was running comfortably in the top 3 however a series of silly crashes lost him 20 secs and despite pushing only recovered to 7th, which put him on pole for the ‘LCQ’ – the Last Chance Qualifier for the main final, Neil Cragg set off and made no mistakes during the 5mins taking lucky P13 on the grid.
The hour-long final started with Alessandro Stocco calling a brief timeout before we were underway, Lee Martin led away with Robert Batlle chasing him only to let Boots by, Boots caught up to Lee and harried him for several laps, the pair unfortunately tangled with Lee coming off worse, showing exceptional class and sportsmanship Boots waited until the marshal set down Lee’s car. This played into the hands of Robert Batlle who shaved several seconds off the lead. Due to the high-speed nature of the track the final felt like it was running at a furious pace, a single mistake could cost you acres of track position and drop you down, whilst fighting in the lead Batlle exited the pits and his car stopped, he lost a lap and came out in 8th/9th and would eventually recover to 2nd in a drive that would have been awesome were it not for being cut short again due to a wire coming loose in his battery switch. Elliott Boots was another early casualty, despite showing some awesome speed and driving capabilities as always the Worlds TQ suffered bad luck as his car retired with rear diff problems having an altercation with the pit exit, having made the main via the LCQ Neil Cragg’s chances were hurt as he ran out of fuel unfortunately.
This promoted Lee, who would go onto rightfully win; the semi finals usually pre-empt the final story in terms of who’s quick and so it was Lee kept his MBX7 together and pounded round and round to take a deserved victory. Reno Savoya would finish 3rd after a pretty disastrous qualifying having seemingly raced everyone at some point of the race – likewise Yannick Aigoin who took a great 2nd, experience the key behind those two results. After the final we caught up with a clearly delighted Lee who seems to be enjoying his Pro-Line equipped 1/8 buggy racing more than ever, no doubt spurred on by this latest victory, also delighted was his acting mechanic and team manager John-Yves Ferte who emotionally dedicated the win to ‘all those who have doubted his and his teams’ ability’ to perform, he would have preferred a 1-2, but Lee securing the win proved very sweet.
All in all a very successful event despite the cold weather and hints of additive usage, we’d like to thoroughly thank our very kind and generous hosts Mau & Evlin of Maugrafix, Nicola of IBR Padova and everyone who helped us along the way! The brand Italian Job is taking forward strides along with the status of the IBR indoor facility!
|Italian Job Race, F1 Overall|