Rinaldi Racing took victory in the second race of the International GT Open at Monza when the #333 Ferrari 488 GT3 driven by Fabrizio Crestani and Benjamín Hites made it to the front of the pack early on in ever worsening weather conditions in Northern Italy. Al Faisal Al Zubair and Andy Soucek took second place in the #77 Lechner Racing Porsche 991.2 GT3R and Michele Alboreta and Frederik Schandorff took third in the Vincenzo Sospiri Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3.
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With rain in the air at the start, nearly half the field chose to pit at the end of the formation lap leaving pole sitter Joe Osbourne to lead the pack into the first corner in the Inception Racing McLaren 720S GT3.
But it was Yuki Nemoto in the Vincenzo Sospiri Racing Lamborghini Huracán GT3 who took the lead on the exit of the first chicane, pitting at the end of the lap to change tyres as the damp conditions began to take their toll.
Having qualified on third place, Crestani was the first to pit at the end of the formation lap which put him well down the field. At the front it was all GT Cup cars who had started the race on the correct tyres with the #33 Bonaldi Motorsport Porsche 911 GT3 Cup of Daan Pijl leading the field around after the opening laps having mingled with the frontrunners. With the gap dropping at around 5 seconds a lap, Crestani took over the lead 10 minutes into the race and then never had to look back.
At the pit window, the top eight all stopped at the same time with leader Crestani handing over to Hites who got out well ahead of the others to maintain his lead. Behind him there was contact in the crowded pitlane between the #17 HP Racing International Lamborghini of Jan Seyffert and the #47 AKM Motorsport Mercedes-AMG GT3 of Florian Scholze, who nudged the rear quarter of the Lamborghini which was released into his path.
The race would be brought to a head with a safety car deployed to recover the #10 Leipert Motorsport Lamborghini Huracán GT3 of Brendan Leitch which was beached in the gravel. Hites saw his 24 second lead cut to nothing but at the restart he was away quickly and seemed to take the chasing cars by surprise as he entered the chicane well ahead of the pack.
Soucek held second place but couldn’t stick with Crestani ahead of him who had set about rebuilding his lead. Michele Beretta was right behind Soucek trying but failing to make inroads into the Spaniard who himself finished 8.6 seconds behind the leader.
The result leaves Michele Beretta and Frederik Schandorff 28 points ahead of Andy Soucek, meaning that the championship will be decided at the final race in Barcelona in a months time.
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