"Nice-a to have-a Pizza while-a you watching good car race, huh?" Round 3 of the American Touring Car Championship saw competitors fly over to Italy (via Edmonton, of course :lol to race at the fast, hilly, sweeping Mugello circuit. The popular MotoGP venue played host to two exciting - and very long - races. The many constant-radius curves and fast S-bends made this a vastly unique challenge for the drivers, not to mention their poor cars... Of note was the surprise appearance of one of the "old guard" of the S2000 Fridays - Olaf .J. Linortner, or "Olly" as he is called. Olly raced these events in the days before they became a league, and was able to return due to a change in jobs. He is warmly welcomed back by the ATCC crew, and it is hoped that he will continue racing with us in the future. Race 1, as usual, got off to an amazing start. The clean but competitive nature of the league was shown thoughout this event, with the turn 1 bottleneck being handled well by everybody. Everyone gave each other space, and there were almost no incidents. The first contact happened rather violently. Glenn Petersen of Longshot Racing was lagging very badly, and so got caught up with Rhys Gardiner through the first high-speed sweeper. The large latency caused what seemed like a small tap to explode into a black-and-green Honda flying off the track... and off the map. Finding himself falling in an endless void, Petersen returned to his virtual garage. Further up the field, Adam Vaughan found to his dismay that he had jumped the start from P2, and so had to serve a stop and go penalty. Meanwhile, Gulf Racing's Abdul Ahmed took the race lead. He was soon put under pressure by Yuri Braham of Synaptic. Rhys Gardiner, down in 20th after the incident with Petersen, slowly clawed his way back up the field, managing to get up to 15th within a few laps. However, he lost some of this ground when he contacted Willie Watt. Up at the front again, Keith Barrick and Vincent Kan were battling for 2nd and 3rd, going side-by-side through the esses. The field was mixed up slightly when people came in for their mandatory pitstops, and by the latter half of the race, people were sliding around as their new front tyres came up to temperature. Towards the end, Paul Wood and Robert Isles, both from AusTeam Racing, were having a small fight of their own in the midfield. However, there could only be one winner of the first race, and that was Keith Barrick. Having overtaken Ahmed and Braham, he cruised his Quiksilver Racing Team Chevrolet Lacetti across the line to take victory. Race 2 was just as action-packed. As Yuri Braham's Honda rocketed away from P1, the party was really getting started behind him. Eric Nelson, William Yunck, Brandon Lawson and Kevin Hopkins were battling with thousandths of a second for P2, running four-wide in the drag race to turn 1. Hopkins would eventually emerge victorious by overtaking the other three on the outside coming into T1. The start was as clean as that of race 1, nobody spearing off track. The field was more spaced out throughout the race, meaning that there wasn't as much overtaking, but there were a few gems of battles unfolding all the same. Rhys Gardiner found himself incredibly close to Paul Wood, and soon overtook him. This fight would later be rekindled at the very end of the race. Abdul Ahmed, finding himself down in the midfield, immediately began picking off opponents. He overtook Marcel van der Aa and immediately set his sights on the rear end of Gardiner's Peugeot 407. The latter, meanwhile, was engaged in a fight with Ahmed's teammate, Jarrod Keen. In the final half after everyone had completed their stops, the front of the field had become very close. Vincent Kan, Keith Barrick and Kevin Hopkins carved their way through lapped traffic as Brandon Lawson assumed the lead. Lawson would turn that lead into a win, and as it turns out, a surprise round victory. Though Braham was the fastest man out there in what was the longest event of the season, Lawson showed consistency and now takes the lead in the driver's championship. Speaking of the championship, a look forward to Round 4 is in order. The next track is back in the US of A, and a complete opposite of Mugello: the short, twisty professional sports car racing course Lime Rock Park. Can Lawson extend his lead here? Will Keith Barrick reclaim it? Or will Lime Rock's local hero Eric Nelson step into the fray? We will find out this coming Friday... Congratulations Brandon for another round win, and see y'all at Lime Rock! Video recap of race 1 by Eric Nelson (file is Mugello R1 2 0001): http://americantcc.net/media/ Video recap of race 2 by Eric Nelson (file is Mugello Round 3 0001): http://americantcc.net/media/ NOTE: If you find any inconsistencies and/or errors contained in this article, please do not hesitate to contact Rhys Gardiner through RD's private messaging system.