Wednesday, 10 February 2016

Valentina Albanese


Valentina on the podium

Valentina is an Italian one-make specialist who often drives a SEAT, and is involved with the make on an official basis. She has achieved good results in individual and team racing.

Born in 1974, she got her first steps in motorsport in 1994, winning a “Volante Rosa” women’s driving competition, organised by a motoring magazine. Although she was not from a motor racing family, she had been interested in cars from a young age. She gravitated towards saloon racing from the start. Two years later, she took to the track in the Citroen Saxo Cup. She won her first championship in Italy in 1998, the Ladies’ class of the Saxo Cup.

Sticking with one-make championships, she had her next notable success in 2001, when she won some rounds of the Smart Cup in Italy, and was second in the championship. These were the first outright wins of her career.

That year, she also had her first races in the Volkswagen Fun Cup, driving a Beetle. The Cup would be her main sporting home until 2008. During her time in the Fun Cup, Valentina won several races, and was invited to be a part of the Uniroyal team in 2005. For two seasons, she was part of a Uniroyal all-female team with Francesca Pardini, following on from the “Rain Tyre Ladies” (Sylvie Delcour, Fanny Duchateau and Sabine Dubois.) In 2008, driving for a different, mixed team with Luca Trevisol, she won the European and Italian Fun Cups.

Valentina, driving alone, also raced in the Campionato Italiano Turismo Endurance that season, driving a diesel SEAT Leon TDI. This was the first year of a partnership with SEAT that has lasted many years. Driving for the Italian SEAT team, she won one race, and was tenth in the championship.

In 2009 she once again drove for SEAT in the Campionato Italiano Turismo Endurance, and won the diesel class. Alongside Gianni Giudici of Scuderia Giudici, who was the runner-up, she dominated the season.

In 2010, she was third in the main class of the same championship, driving a similar SEAT Leon, powered by petrol this time. Although she was not able to record a win, she finished on the podium a number of times. Of the four SEAT Italy drivers, she was the highest-placed.

A period of relative competitive inactivity followed. In 2011, she only made some guest appearances in the Ibiza Cup section of the CITE, as she was working for the SEAT team. She retained her SEAT links in 2012, but seems to have only carried out media work for the marque.

Her only big race during this time was the Zhuhai 500-mile race in December 2012. Sharing a Mercedes C63 AMG with Michela Cerruti, she was second overall. The team challenged for the win at some points during the race.

 In 2013, she seems to have concentrated on test-driving for SEAT, although she also demonstrated a Mercedes in Jerusalem.

Again, in 2014, she tested cars for SEAT, but did not race.

She returned to competition in 2015, in a SEAT Leon. She won the Italian Endurance Touring Car Championship (CITE) outright, partnered by Jordi Gené for part of the season. After leading for most of the season, she won the penultimate race to seal her victory. It was her fifth win of the year, from eight races, and she was forty points ahead of her nearest rivals, Stefano Valli and Vincenzo Montalbano.

Away from her racing and her promotional work for SEAT, Valentina works as a lawyer. She has stated that her motorsport ambition is to race a Super Touring-spec car in a major championship.

She was announced as the head of Porsche Motorsport in Italy in 2016.

(Image from http://www.hdmotori.it/)

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