Double Revolution victory for Michel Frey in Sports Prototype Cup’s Monza F1 support races

Double Revolution victory for Michel Frey in Sports Prototype Cup’s Monza F1 support races

Eleven months after the Sports Prototype Cup’s debut Formula 1 support race in Portugal, the Cup descended on the legendary Autodromo Nazionale Monza this weekend to host a pair of 35-minute support races to the Formula 1 Heineken Gran Premio d’Italia 2021. The quality grid included both the Revolution Trophy and the Radical SR3 Trophy. Both races were won by Swiss driver Michel Frey with his Revolution A-One, while the Radical SR3 Trophy victories were shared by Martin Verity and Mihnea Stefan. 

 

Saturday Race

 

In the brilliant sunshine of a late summer Monza afternoon, it was polesitter Michel Frey who led into the first chicane. Behind, there was action as fellow front row starter Jesse Menczer was inadvertently squeezed by the fast starting Chris Hoy. Menczer showed a masterly piece of car control to avoid hitting anyone but was delayed by a trip through the gravel. 

 

The concertina effect from this incident shook up the order with Dominik Dierkes gaining eight places to move into a heady fourth. Menczer and Marcello Marateotto were shuffled to the back of the pack, but both began mighty fightbacks.

 

Into lap two, Frey led Hoy and James Abbott, with Chris Short and Dierkes making it five Revolution A-One prototypes in the top five overall. Martin Verity headed the Radical SR3 Trophy battle with a clean first lap to climb to sixth.

 

One of the expected Revolution front runners was Richard Wells, but he was suffering from drag from a damaged rear wheel arch caused in the first corner melee. This was the start of a bad day for the Breakell Racing driver.

 

On the following lap, Dierkes undid his good work with an off in turn one. With the order stable at the front, the eyes of the tifosi were on a brilliant battle for the lead in the SR3 class. Jacek Zielonka passed both Short and Verity on a stellar fourth lap and were joined by the leading Radical Romania Team driver Minhea Stefan, who was the man on the move in the early stages. 

 

Equally entertaining was the Menczer fightback. From 14th, he was in the top ten after ten minutes of racing, with the recovering Marateotto shadowing every move.

 

Then on lap five, there was a dramatic collision at Lesmo. Schroeder lost control after getting two wheels on the grass on entry, Menczer braked to avoid him but Wells was launched airborne, riding over the top of Wells’ car. The resulting impact was heavy, but underlined the safety of the carbon fibre tub and double halo on the Revolution A-Ones of both drivers. Sadly, all three were out of the race. Dierkes had an off of his own, pitting for repairs under the safety car but losing a lap.

 

As the field bunched under the safety car, it was a Revolution top three with Frey leading Hoy and Abbott. The leading Radical was Zielonka in P4 from Verity and Stefan. Further back, Matt Brookes had avoided all the dramas and was having a great battle with Razvan Galan and Charles Graham.

 

The safety car came in on lap eight, and Zielonka overshot the chicane, handing the Radical lead to Verity. Brookes ran wide out of Lesmo 2, spearing across track into the inside barrier. There was impressive avoiding action from Marateotto and Zielonka, but Brookes suffered rear quarter damage in the impact.

 

Chris Short passed Verity for fourth on lap eight, at the same time as Frey posted the first lap in the 1m 53s bracket. Marateotto ran wide and lost a couple of places, but soon dispatched Zielonka and Stefan at T1 on lap 13 with Stefan making a brilliantly opportunistic manoeuvre to follow Marateotto through. Zielonka fought back with a brilliant demonstration of clean wheel to wheel racing, the Polish driver sitting it out with Stefan, side by side, for half a lap.

 

After 35 minutes of intense racing, Frey won by 18 seconds from Hoy and Abbott. Verity joined them on the podium as SR3 class winner. The BRM Speed Award for fastest lap in each class went to Frey and Verity. 

Sunday Race

 

Ahead of a packed day of Formula 1, Formula 2 and Porsche Supercup racing, the Sports Prototype Cup warmed up the crowd early on Sunday morning. Despite a tremendous late night effort from the Breakell Racing team, Richard Wells’ car could not be repaired in time for the start.  

 

The grid for Race 2 was formed based on each drivers’ second best times from Friday’s qualifying session, putting Frey and Menczer at the head of the field. They both led a clean start from Short and Marateotto. Chris Hoy was recovering from a three-place grid drop for his part in Saturday’s first corner incident to settle into sixth. 360 Racing teammates Hoy and Short both passed Marateotto at Parabolica on lap two. 

 

Verity, Stefan, Alexandru Mirea and Zielonka engaged in a tight four-way battle behind the Revolution scrap, swapping places several times in the opening laps. Verity ran wide at the second chicane, dropping to fourth in the SR3 Trophy, with Radical Romania Team moving into a 1-2 with Mirea ahead of his teammate Stefan. This battle raged all race with the order changing constantly. Mirea ran wide out of Lesmo, letting Zielonka and Verity past to lead the chase of the flying Stefan. However, the Brit also had a quick spin after a tap with Zielonka.

 

Up front, Menczer kept Frey honest for three laps but then fell into the clutches of the charging Hoy, who slipstreamed by on the run out of Parabolica on lap four. By lap five, Short was all over Menczer. A stunning side by side move through Ascari put Short ahead, but his glory was short-lived as he spun at the first chicane, retiring later in the lap.

 

If Menczer thought it would be easier after Short dropped out, he was wrong. Abbott was glued to him to chase the last podium place. This appeared to be a catalyst for Menczer to move up a gear, beginning to close down Hoy again at the rate of 0.3 seconds a lap.

 

Stefan wasn’t content with leading the SR3 battle, hassling Dominik Dierkes for seventh overall.  He got ahead into Parabolica on lap 13 but Dierkes’ Revolution powered past, with Stefan closing the door a little too late on the start-finish straight. His teammate Mirea spun on lap 12, promoting Zielonka back into second. Verity charged back up, passing Zielonka in a well judged outbraking move in the first chicane on lap 15. The Brit then chased down Stefan, passing him on the outside of Parabolica on the last lap but was docked five seconds for exceeding track limits. This left Stefan as the SR3 Trophy winner.

 

Up front, Frey extended his lead to dominate for the second race in a row and win his third Revolution A-One Trophy Formula 1 support race. Frey set a new BRM speed record of  1.52.769 on the penultimate lap, proving the durable performance of the Goodyear slick tyres used by both classes. He extended his lead to 31 seconds in an imperious performance. Hoy, Menczer and Abbott were covered by three seconds after a tense race-long battle.

 

The next round of the Cup is at Donington on October 23 with the Revolution A-One and Radical SR3 classes joined by the Sports Prototype Open class for other prototypes. Entries are now open at our online entry website.

The full photo gallery can be viewed here:  https://www.sportsprototypecup.com/2021-monza

Donington Park entries open 

After Monza, the Cup heads to Donington Park GP circuit on October 23rd. With qualifying and two 30 minute races on the Saturday, the day promises to be an action packed event.

The event will feature three classes:

Revolution A-One Trophy
Radical SR3 Trophy
Sports Prototype Open

GP Early booking offer: Teams that competed at the Monza event will receive a 10% entry fee discount if their entries are received by September 20th. Click on the button below for more information and an entry form.

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