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Mixed weekend for Campetella Racing

Mixed weekend for Campetella Racing

Mixed weekend for Campetella Racing

True to the fortunes of a leading privateer team in the ultra-competitive 250cc World Championship, which boasts no fewer than nine factory supported riders, the Cinzano Rio Grand Prix was a tense and emotional weekend for Campetella Racing.

The Italian team have three riders this season, with last year's pairing of Sylvain Guintoli and Franco Battaini teamed up with former 125cc Spanish Champion Joan Olivé, and they all enjoyed mixed fortunes over three eventful days in the Brazilian sunshine.

Things got off to a flying start on Friday morning, when Olivé set the fourth fastest time and provided hope of a potential first front row start in the quarter-litre class. However, a crash on the first lap of the afternoon session put paid to his hard work and, with his only bike out of action, he failed to qualify for the provisional grid.

Guintoli and Battaini made up for their team-mate's misfortune, however, both proving competitive as they contested the top places on the time sheets and set the sixth and seventh fastest times respectively to secure places on the provisional second row.

On the Saturday Olivé paid the price for his wasted session the previous afternoon and had to work doubly hard on the set-up of his Aprilia around the tough Rio circuit, pushing himself to the limit to claim a satisfactory 13th place. However, the youngster's efforts were again eclipsed by Guintoli and Battaini, who both slipped one place on the final grid but were still the highest placed non-factory riders in seventh and eighth respectively.

Hopes were high for all three riders to challenge for top ten finishes on Sunday, but once again bad luck struck the team. On the first lap Guintoli ran wide into the first corner trying to recover positions after a bad start and had to battle all the way to the finish to overcome Chaz Davies for twelfth.

Meanwhile, things were going even worse for Olivé, who was tucked in Battaini and riding well in twelfth place when he was forced to retire on lap twelve due to an engine problem. In the end it was left to the veteran Italian to bring home the most points, crossing the line in tenth place after a battle with Alex Debon to consolidate twelfth in the championship standings, one place ahead of Guintoli.

"I would have liked to finish in front of Debon who, I must say, was unfair when he overtook me and almost pushed me out," said Battaini after the race. "I rode well, gave the maximum and it has been a good race but it's got to be said that Honda kit bikes have an incredible acceleration. I'd like to thank my team, who worked extremely well."

250cc, 2004, Campetella Racing

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