Sicilian Time Attack Championship at Valle dei Templi

Sunday, December 23, 2012, 1:27

The sixth and final round of the Sicilian Time Attack championship was held at the Autodromo Valle dei Templi, Racalmuto last weekend, and the event produced yet another motorsport champion, the second for Time Attack Team Malta.

Pro class Subaru driver Rodrick Borg joined Racing class champion Josef Calleja to win two of the most keenly contested classes in this ever growing championship. Whilst Calleja easily took the honours with one round still to go, for Borg things were not so easy. In fact at the end of six hard fought rounds the championship scoreboard showed both Borg and Maltese Lotus racer, Adrian Muscat Azzopardi on equal points at the top of the list. After the tie breaker rule was applied the organizers declared Borg the winner of the Pro class. It was great to see both drivers congratulate each other on the podium in an exemplary show of sportsmanship when the results were announced.

Saturday practice was dry and sunny and the 8 Maltese drivers made the best of their track time to set their cars up for Sunday’s racing. In the case of two first timers at Racalmuto, namely Stephen Ellul (Subaru) and young Jacques Mizzi (Renault) it was more a question of putting in as many laps as possible to learn the track.

Sunday was overcast and miserable, but this did not deter the Italians from flocking to Racalmuto for this final event of the year, and the paddock soon filled to capacity with racing cars. It was clear that the weather was not going to get any better so most drivers made sure they clocked respectable times in their first heats in the morning. Tyre temperatures were already a problem with the cold track, but when the rain came after the lunch break it was clearly going to be more difficult to clock any good times. It was one of those unfortunate situations where the track was not wet enough to warrant “wet” tyres, but not dry enough to get the best out of “slicks”.

At the end of it all, Nicky Xerxen, driving his potent Mitsubishi EVO made the fastest time of the day, also winning his class in the process. He was followed by another Maltese driver and Racing class winner Josef Calleja (Subaru), whilst third place overall was the first of the Italians, Ninnuzzo Romano, also driving a Subaru. Steve Calleja had another good and troublefree weekend steadily improving his Mazda RX7, and Adrian Muscat Azzopardi posted another class win in the Pro class. Jacques Mizzi improved steadily as he learnt the track, and the same can be said of Stephen Ellul who was thrilled with the whole weekend and was already asking for next year’s dates, whilst poor Ronald Mercieca had to abandon earlier than expected with gearbox maladies in his Hyundai Coupe.

This first Time Attack championship may have had it’s pitfalls, but at the end of the day all went away happy for a job well done. For next season the organizers have already sat down with various team personell to discuss improvements, which will include a revision of the class rules to bring them further in line with the international Time Attack scene. Where there’s a will, there’s a way, and I am sure that next year’s Time Attack Championship at Racalmuto will be even bigger and better than the one which came to an end with two new Maltese champions on Sunday.

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