Maltese drivers experience the Autodromo Valle dei Templi race track

Thursday, April 18, 2013, 12:00

The Autodromo Valle dei Templi at Racalmuto in Sicily is increasingly becoming a happy hunting ground for Maltese motorsport enthusiasts.

The first two rounds of the Time Attack championship have already been held there this year, producing some spectacular results for drivers from Motorsport Team Malta, Nicky Xerxen and Josef Calleja finishing first and second overall on both occasions, and others winning their respective classes. This weekend was no less successful when 3 drivers competed in the first round of the 2013 Campionato di Velocita which is now run under the auspices of CSAI, the Italian ruling body for motorsport, and which meant another step up in quality on all flanks.

After an obligatory scrutineering session in which every single detail was checked through thoroughly by the competent scrutineers on Saturday morning, the three Motorsport Team Malta drivers were allowed out on track. For Formula Jedi Suzuki driver Johann Spiteri this was nothing new, Johann having competed at Racalmuto regularly in recent years; in fact he won four of the five events he started last season. He planted his car on the class pole on Saturday, and then went on to win his class comfortably, and bag a full quota of championship points with a faultless drive on Sunday’s 12 lap race.

The same could not be said of championship newcomer Adrian Muscat Azzopardi. Whilst his knowledge of the circuit is undisputed, at last weekend’s event he was having to “find his feet” in his new Radical SR4 Suzuki in this, his first proper circuit race meeting. It didn’t take long however before Adrian was producing some very respectable lap times. On Sunday morning he wisely entered the slalom event to gather even more experience and finished up 3rd overall in the classification, and full of optimism for the afternoon’s main race. After an excellent start Adrian drove sensibly throughout the main 12 lap race, improving his lap time with each lap, and also bagging some very valuable championship points. An excellent first race.

The third Motorsport Team Malta driver at Racalmuto was Joshua Anastasi driving his JBR-4 Kawasaki. The “John Bull Racing” team had a number of new items to try on the car for the weekend and these all provided the hoped for results, despite some niggly unrelated problems temporarily halting progress. An electrical glitch during Saturday’s qualifying session only allowed Joshua to produce 2 flying laps, but this was enough to place him fourth on the grid for Sunday’s main race. A couple of laps on the Sunday morning warm up showed the car’s real potential when Josh lapped a whole second quicker than he has ever done before at Racalmuto, and gave him just the confidence lift he needed, entering Sunday’s race. Into the first corner he held fourth position, moved up to third at the end of lap one with a superb overtaking manouvre, then inherited second when the race leader retired with gearbox problems. But it was not to last for on lap 8 of 12 the car’s engine cover came undone and started flapping badly, finally jamming the car in full throttle, at which point Josh had no choice but to retire. “I could see the engine cover lifting from about lap 5’ said team manager Joe Anastasi who was on the pit wall. ‘It was disappointing but at the same time we are delighted with the way the car ran, and the fact that the new bits have worked and made it so much better. Roll on May“.

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