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TKART magazine Editorial | Gianluca Beggio: a third world championship title, despite the accident
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16 February 2018

We came to Ugento in 1997 as the favorites to win the 125 Formula C World Championship (Beggio had won the ’95 and ’96 world titles as well – Edit.). Unfortunately, however, on the Thursday before the race something totally unforeseen happened: I flipped over.

I’m testing the first set of special tyres that Bridgestone had provided for us. I come up behind a slower driver, and in order to avoid wasting the lap (I wanted to see what our potential really was), I pass him a bit recklessly.


He doesn’t know I’m there and blocks my trajectory. The result? I end up with some pretty serious physical damage: a dislocated shoulder and an arm that’s out of commission. I sit tight on Friday, while on Saturday morning, after trying a few laps, I’m sure I’ll have to throw in the towel: I simply can’t apply the necessary force with my right arm. I have to drive one-handed, and switching gears is terribly difficult. I’m really discouraged and now resign myself to seeing my title bid end right there. Ronni Sala (Birel’s go-to man on the track at the time; now, Birel Art’s president – Edit.) and the doctors of the mobile medical unit start doing everything they can to motivate me not to give up. They try convincing me at least to give it a shot, to try to register a decent time in the Saturday qualifiers and then put everything on the line on Sunday.
Eventually they’re able to convince me and, despite everything, I record the fourth-fastest time during qualifying. But the truth was that I was in incredible pain. That night, in fact, I was able to sleep for an hour at most: me, who usually sleeps for about ten hours straight on the night before a race!
On Sunday I come in fifth in the pre-final, holding back and trying to save all my strength for the final. An excessively-raging engine was causing me problems given my condition: the more aggressively the engine performed, the more I struggled to keep hold of the wheel.

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