An eventful opening weekend at Monza has seen the #3 Easy Race Ferrari 488 GT3 of Mattia Greco and Fabrizio Crestani, and the #90 AKM Motorsport by Antonelli Mercedes-AMG GT3 of Luca Segú and Bar Baruch both take victories in race 1 and 2 respectively.
With Saturday’s race 1 having been suspended after 14 minutes of running behind the safety car due to heavy rain, officials had no choice but to reschedule track activities of the 19th edition of the Italian GT Championship for the following day. This meant Sunday’s race was to be scheduled as a 36 minute plus one lap sprint, with results decided by the sum of times between Saturday and Sunday’s sessions.
Although Sunday’s season-opening Sprint series race started out with a wet track, which saw several teams opt in for rain tires, nothing stopped the Easy Race Ferrari 488 GT3 of Greco/Crestani from taking top class and overall honors. After having called for slicks before race start, the Ferrari was seen crossing the finish line 21 seconds clear from runner up finishers Daniel Mancinelli and Vito Postiglione in their #14 Audi Sport Italia Audi R8 LMS GT3.
Mancinelli and Postiglione had an incredible race, with the pairing having been able to climb up from seventh place on the starting grid and finishing ahead of the #63 Imperiale Racing Huracán GT3 of Alex Frassineti and Luca Ghiotto. The #12 Audi Sport Italian Audi R8 LMS GT3 of Riccardo Agostini and Lorenzo Ferrari just missed out on a podium finish, having crossed the line 1.570 seconds behind the Imperiale Huracán GT3.
Fifth place and first in PRO-AM saw the #58 RAM Autoracing Ferrari 488 GT3 of Luca Filippi and Alberto Lippi finish ahead of the #88 LP Racing Huracán GT3 of Pietro Perolini and Jonathan Cecotto. In seventh and closing out the PRO-AM podium was the #8 AF Corse 488 GT3 of Carrie Schreiner and Sean Hudspeth.
Series debutant Mateo Llarena and teammate Riccardo Cazzaniga claimed an eight-place finish in their #19 Imperiale Racing Huracán GT3 ahead of Stefano Comandini and Marius Zug’s #7 BMW Team Italia BMW M6 GT3.
GT3 AM honors went to Kessel Racing drivers Murat Cuhadaroglu and Niccolò Schirò in their #33 488 GT3, finishing fourteenth overall. Second place in class and finishing seventeenth overall was the #77 Nova Race Honda NSX GT3 of Erwin Zanotti, while Peter Mann and Lorenzo Casé claimed the last step of the podium and 21st overall in their #51 AF Corse 488 GT3.
The first duel between Porsche, Mercedes, and BMW in the GT4 class went to Porsche in both the PRO-AM and AM classes. Ebimotors scored a 1-2 PRO-AM finish, with Mattia Di Giusto and Fabio Babini dominating race proceedings in their #251 Cayman GT4 and finishing ahead of teammates Sabino De Castro and Matteo Arrigosi in their #252 Cayman GT4. Finishing third in class was the #228 Nova Race Mercedes-AMG GT4 of Fulvio Ferri and Andrea Gagliardini.
In the AM class it was the #275 Autorlando Sport Cayman GT4 of Giuseppe Ghezzi and Dario Cerati who took the win, with the #207 Nova Race AMG GT4 of Luca Magnoni and Diego Di Fabio and the #215 Ceccato Racing BMW M4 GT4 of Giuseppe Fasciolo and Nicola Neri finishing in second and third respectively.
Plenty of action was seen in GT Cup, a class reserved for single-make championship cars. Dutch racer Daan Pijl and Fabio Vairani not only took top class honors but claimed an impressive top 10 overall finish in their #351 Bonaldi Motorsport Lamborghini Huracán Super Trofeo. The Bonaldi Motorsport team preceded Alessandro Girardelli in his #361 Dinamic Motorsport Porsche 911 GT3 Cup and the #333 SR&R Ferrari 488 Challenge Evo of Luca Demarchi and Nicholas Risitano.
Race 2 of the weekend saw clearer skies and cleaner racing, with the #90 AKM Motorsport by Antonelli Mercedes-AMG GT3 of Luca Segú and Bar Baruch dominating from pole and taking PRO-AM and overall honors.
Como-born Segú had a flawless first stint, staying in command of race proceedings and executing a perfect restart after a safety car period took place during the opening laps of the race. With duels and clashes between other teams having intensified, Baruch took over from Segú and there was no looking back from there. The Israeli managed to cross the finish line in first after 27 laps, redeeming the team from their unfortunate race 1 retirement.
Riccardo Agostini and Lorenzo Ferrari claimed second and a PRO class victory in their #12 Audi Sport Italia Audi R8 LMS GT3, after having been put to the test during the closing laps by third place overall finishers Francesco De Luca and Jacopo Guidetti in their #55 Nova Race Honda NSX GT3. The Varese team achieving a second-place PRO-AM finish.
Fourth place overall saw former F2 racer Luca Ghiotto and Alex Frassineti in the #63 Imperiale Racing Huracán GT3 cross the finish line 15 seconds clear of the second #14 Audi Sport Italia R8 LMS GT3 of Vito Postiglione and Daniel Mancinelli. Both teams claiming the last two steps of PRO class podium.
Jonathan Cecotto and Pietro Perolini managed a top 5 overall finish, while also claiming third place in the PRO-AM class behind the wheel of the #88 LP Racing Huracán GT3. Finishing behind the team was the second Imperiale Racing #19 Huracán GT3 of Riccardo Cazzania and Guatemalan ace Mateo Llarena.
Three Ferrari 488 GT3s claimed sixth, seventh, and eight place, with the #21 AF Corse car of factory driver Toni Vilander and Simon Mann edging out race 1 winners Matteo Greco and Fabrizio Crestani in their #3 Easy Race prancing horse and Luca Filippi and Alberto Lippi in their #58 RAM Autoracing machine respectively.
Closing out the top ten and securing GT3 AM honors was the second Nova Race #77 NSX GT3 of Erwin Zanotti. Nicolò Schirò and Turkish Murat Cuhadaroglu finished sixteenth overall and second in the AM class, while Peter Mann and Lorenzo Casé finished nineteenth closing out the class podium.
It was a fantastic day for Ebimotors in the GT4 class, with its drivers Mattia Di Giusto and Fabio Babini capturing yet another GT4 PRO-AM win in their #251 Porsche Cayman GT4, while its team car, the #252 of Matteo Arrigosi and Sabino De Castro, finishing behind. The second 1-2 finish of the weekend for the Monza based team.
The #228 Nova Race Mercedes-AMG GT4 of Fulvio Ferri and Andrea Gagliardini rounded out the last step of the GT4 PRO-AM podium.
Ceccato Racing drivers Nicola Neri and Giuseppe Nicolosi captured a GT4 AM victory in their #215 BMW M4 GT4, ahead of the second placed #207 Nova Race AMG GT4 of Luca Magnoni and Diego Di Fabio and race 1 GT4 AM winners Dario Cerati and Giuseppe Ghezzi in their #275 Autorlando Sport Cayman GT4.
It was a GT Cup victory for the Easy Race team, with the #355 Ferrari 488 Challenge Evo, driven by Francesca Linossi and Daniel Vebster, crossing the finish line eleventh overall. Initially, it was the #351 Bonaldi Motorsport Lamborghini Huracán Super Trofeo of Daan Pijl and Fabio Vairani who crossed first in class, however a post-race penalty was given due to the team executing an irregular driver change. This saw race 1 winners being relegated back to seventh in class.
Second in class was the #399 Team Italy Huracán Super Trofeo of Ermanno Dionisio and Giacomo Barri, while third place claimed by the #391 Best Lap Super Trofeo of Lorenzo Pegoraro and Massimiliano Mugelli.
The next round of the Italian GT Championship is set to be hosted at Enna-Pergusa from May 21-23 where the Endurance championship will have its season-opening race.
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