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Editorial | Roberto Toninelli: the world that slipped

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ROBERTO TONINELLI THE WORLD THAT SLIPPED

21 August 2017

1996 World Championship, Lonato, 100 Formula A. All the class “heavy weights” of the time were there: from Pantano to Button, from Davidson to Quintarelli, just to name a few among the over 100 drivers lined up at the start.

Back then I was racing with Haase (the 1984 Formula K World Champion in 1984 turned manufacturer, Ed.). Lonato was our “home turf”; that’s where we had developed and fine-tuned the Blizzard chassis, an original project with a structure that had the front end bolted to the rear in the steering column section.

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Our weekend didn’t start off too well. The qualifyings consisted of a formation lap, followed by two times laps, with starting positions assigned by draw. I broke my Titan engine on the first lap and posted the 64th worst time, so I had to start the heats from way back. Here I was incredibly strong, though: I won one race and always closed up front. Too bad that a disqualification dropped me to the back rows once more.

In fact, in the prefinal I was 27th on grid; but I again managed a rebound and came in 4th, with my mechanic flailing his arms like crazy to tell me to slow down and spare my tires.

In the final, I again started out strong and on lap 4 I was already in the lead.

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