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Preview: Three-way Formula Abarth tussle concludes at Monza

by Peter Allen

Photo: acisportitalia.it

Nicolas Costa, Luca Ghiotto and Bruno Bonifacio have battled all season-long, but only one will be crowned champion at the home of Italian motor racing this weekend…

The fight for this year’s Formula Abarth crown has been all about three drivers. Brazilian pair Nicolas Costa and Bruno Bonifacio and Italy’s Luca Ghiotto have been the young men to beat and the championship lead has swung between the three numerous times over the course of the season.

It’s 20-year-old Costa who holds the initiative coming into the final weekend after his double win at Vallelunga last time out saw the Euronova driver vault from third to first in the standings and onto 244 points.

17 points behind on 227 is Ghiotto. With seven wins to Costa’s six, the 17-year-old Prema driver has more wins than anybody else so far this year but could do with adding to his tally this weekend.

Ghiotto’s teammate Bonifacio is 12 points further adrift on 215. He has four wins and enjoyed superb consistency for much of the season but things fell apart for him in Vallelunga. However, just as he had a bad weekend there his rivals can have similar misfortune in Monza.

While it’s the European Series classification that all eyes will be on, there is more silverware on offer in the Italian classification, which this year discount the early-season trips to Valencia and Budapest. It’s Costa who leads there too on 170 with Ghiotto on 157 and Bonifacio on 154. Last year’s two champions were Sergey Sirotkin and Patric Niederhauser, who’ve both had superb seasons at higher levels in 2012.

20 points are on offer for victory in the two feature races and 13 for the victor in the reverse grid sprint race.

Two qualifying sessions take place on Friday evening, with the first of three races taking place at 11:23 GMT+2 on Saturday followed by race two at 18:13 and race three on Sunday at 11:43. All three races should be streamed live on the series website, http://acisportitalia.it/ABARTH. Stay tuned to @PaddockScout on Twitter for the latest.