The 2022 Italian GT season got underway today with the opening race at Monza. Heavy rain saw the race start under the safety car with the cars circulating for several laps at the start.
On pole was the #6 Imperiale Racing Lamborghini Huracàn GT3 of Alberto Di Folco with the #50 Ceccato Moto BMW M4 GT3 of Jens Klingmann starting the race from second place.
Once fully underway the 40 car field mostly got through the first chicane unscathed with Di Folco quickly building a gap over the chasing cars. Behind the leader, second placed starter Klingmann found himself fighting off the attentions of Jacopo Guidetti in the #55 Nova Race Honda NSX which was being followed by it’s sister car the #99 Honda of Matteo Greco in the Pro-am car he shared with Francesco Guerra.
Once the pit window was open Klingmann was able to break away a little from the chasing pack and was able to close the gap to Di Folco but it was a pitlane incident that would give the lead to the BMW.
Both leading cars pitted at the same time and in adjacent pit boxes. As Di Folco’s co-driver, Stuart Middleton, ran around the front of the Lamborghini he was struck a glancing blow from the incoming BMW of Klingmann. Middleton was thrown to the ground and was unable to takeover the drive. Di Folco was forced to rejoin the race, the delay dropping him to third place with Leonardo Moncini in the #55 Nova Race Honda taking second place. The #50 BMW, now with Timo Glock at the wheel held the lead with a 4.4 second lead over second place.
Within a couple of laps Di Folco had taken second place from Moncini and set about chasing down Glock but the former F1 driver was more than a match and by the end had extended his lead to nearly 8 seconds with Moncini 12 seconds back in P3. However despite crossing the line in second place, Di Folco was demoted to 8th thanks to a 60 second penalty for not changing drivers. This promoted Stefano Gai to third place in the #72 Scuderia Baldin 27 Ferrari 488 GT3 Evo that he shares with Nelson Panciatici.
Race two of the Italian GT Championship takes place on Sunday afternoon at 15:15 CET.
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