Day two of the 2016 Modena Cents Ore dawned with heavy rain in the coastal resort of Rimini. First duty of the day was to navigate the short coastal run to Circuit Misano. With the track still very wet as the cars went out to practice it was a slow start learning the racing lines through rain and oil spread over the track by one of the competitors. Richard was 4th, Chris was 5th on the grid and as the lights went out the Freeman Cobra shot off the line from 3rd position, the E type also getting the jump on the slow starting GT40. By the first corner Richard was fighting his way back, down the inside of the E type and into third behind the Cobra. Half way around the first lap under intense pressure from the GT40 Freeman in the Cobra slid very sideways on the fastest corner, looking like a pro from the film “Tokyo Drift”. Richard following closely had to take avoiding action across the tarmac runoff at about 150mph. Somehow they both managed to keep their cars under control. Two corners later Freeman surrendered second place to the GT40 which ended up coming home 18 seconds ahead of the Cobra but losing valuable seconds to the winning pro driven Jaguar. With Chris in the E-type having a steady and uneventful race in tricky conditions into 7th place, conscious of the trip into the gravel on the Tour Auto last year and the huge penalty points incurred….
Then followed a 100 km road section via San Marino, to the first Special Stage (SS) of the day. This was a fast and flowing stage perfect for the GT40 and allowed our racing legends to come to the fore. The final results of SS 1 saw Richard victorious with a time of 4.27, 2 seconds faster than the leading Jaguar, with the Freeman Cobra 7 seconds adrift and just 2 tenths of a second quicker than Chris.
On the way to the lunch break Tim performed his traditional navigational error resulting in a slight detour and being late for lunch which was held in a Franciscan Monestary built on the top of a Tuscan hill some 500 years ago.. Onwards to the second and stage of the day. Richard and Chris were clearly brimming with confidence and despite some rain and a very greasy and slippery road, the final stage of the day required the superhuman skills these two pilots are internationally known for. Even though Tim lost himself on the pace notes, Richard was again victorious, with a time 3.5 seconds faster than the Cobra with the E type of Chris and Keith just 7 tenths of a second slower. The leading jaguar was a further 18.5 seconds behind. Richard is now just 51 seconds behind the pro team leaders.
With the competitive mileage of the day completed the cars headed towards Florence for servicing and then into central Florence for a gala dinner in the Palazzo Vecchio, once home to the influential family Medici. Tim who is well know for his ability to recall every grand prix winner over the past 50 years also wowed us with his knowledge of Michelangelo and Caravaggio the great Italian maestros of the 16th century.
Today showed how close and competitive this event is. We are only half way through, it’s like midnight at the Le Mans 24 hour race, the early hard work has been done but with countless challenges and hurdles still ahead. The crews are on such exceptional form it is now imperative to ensure no mistakes are made and lady luck does not desert us.
Breaking news: The day’s results show the GT40 has a 10 minute time penalty. We are not sure what this is for, so will be protesting in the morning.