The Campionato Italiano GT Sprint was at Imola this weekend with two sprint races that saw victory for the #6 Imperiale Racing Lamborghini Huracán GT3 of Alberto Di Folco and Stuart Middleton in race one. The second race saw victory go to Kikko Galbiati driving the #17 Antonelli Motorsport Mercedes-AMG GT3 with co-driver Matteo Cressoni.

ITALIAN GT IMOLA | RACE REPORT | GALLERY

RACE ONE

The start of race one saw Jens Klingmann hold the lead from pole position driving the #50 BMW Italia-Ceccato Racing BMW M4. Stuart Middleton started the #6 Lamborghini from P3 and jumped to second place at Tamburello whilst the #55 Nova Race Honda NSX of Moncini Leonardo dropped to P3.

Moncini soon found himself under pressure from José Manuel Urcera In the #27 Scuderia Baldini 27 Ferrari 488 GT3 Evo and it didn’t take long for the Argentinian to get past the Honda and start putting pressure on Middleton in second place.

A mistake from Middleton put him through the gravel on the exit of Variante Villenueve but the Englishman was able to hold his position despite the best efforts of Urcera to capitalise. Meanwhile at the front Klingsmann was extending his lead to 3.5 seconds.

Klingsmann’s hard work would be undone in short order when a safety car was called to allow the marshalls to deal with two separate incident s after the #305 Lamborghini Huracán Supertrofeo of Ruiz Fidel Castillo left the track at high speed on the approach to Rivazza and moments later the #398 Autorlando Sport Srl  Porsche 991 GT3  visited the barriers at Tamburello.

At the pit stop window Middleton was the first of the front runners to stop, handing the car over to Alberto Di Folco who set about trying to leapfrog the #50 BMW of Klingsmann. The plan worked and Di Folco found himself at the front of the pack  whilst the BMW M4 with Timo Glock now behind the wheel, dropped to P4 behind the #27 Ferrari 488 GT3 Evo of Daniele Di Amato and the #17 Mercedes-AMG of Matteo Cressoni.

A sec0nd safety car was called after the #39 Ferrari of Angelo Negro found itself beached in the gravel between the two Rivazzas after an optimistic move from the #322 Porsche 991 GT3 of Alessandro Mainetti saw the AF Corse Ferrari 488 GT3 Evo turned around and stuck in the gravel.

The restart came with 10 minutes remaining and saw Glock keen to make up the places lost at the pit stops starting with a wonderful move against Cressoni at Rivazza. Entering the first Rivazza almost alongside the Mercedes, Glock was quick to cut back and hold the inside line into the second Rivazza and push the #17 Ferrari down to P4.

Glock was soon up behind the #27 Ferrari of Daniele Di Amato and was using all his years of experience to push past the Ferrari in the final minutes of the race. The pressure was showing on Di Amato who bounced off the kerbs at Variante Alta nearly giving the position away as the momentum forced him wide into the concrete run off. He recovered well and continued to keep Glock at bay for the final laps whilst also staying in touch with Di Folco who may well have been in trouble if Glock could have made his way past Di Amato.

It wasn’t to be and Di Folco took the win ahead of Di Amato and Glock in third place but with just 2.251 seconds covering the podium positions.

RACE TWO

Race two on Sunday afternoon would be decided by success penalties after Saturdays race leaders fell down the order following their extended pit stops.

Timo Glock started from pole position and held it into the first corner with Di Folco holding P2 behind him before losing the place to the #55 Nova Race Honda NSX of Jacopo Guidetti after the Lamborghini bounced through the gravel on the exit of Variante Villeneuve.

On the second lap a full course yellow came out following a horrific accident for Pier lugi Alessandri driving the #396 EF Racing Srl Porsche 991 GT3. On the approach to Tamburello the car seemed to slow and was hit from behind by the #387 Pelling Racing Ferrari 488 Challenge of Jeremy Clarke which flipped the Porsche onto it’s roof which then slid upside down until reaching the grass which then flipped the car into multiple barrel rolls.

Despite the obvious violence of the accident the marshalls were able to extract Alessandri and clear the car inside 20 minutes allowing another 30 minutes of racing.

When the pit window opened the leaders stayed out for as long as possible with leader Glock being the first to blink, pitting with 20 minutes remaining. Guidetti, Di Folco and fourth placed Daniele Di Amato in the #27 Scuderia Baldini 27 Ferrari 488 GT3 pitted as one.

With success penalties in play it was all change at the front. Glock handed over the #50 BMW to Jens Klingmann who dropped immediately to P7 behind Stuart Middleton in the #6 Lamborghini who in turn lost out to the #27 Ferrari with Manuel Josè Urcera taking P4 with the #72 Scuderia Baldini 72 of Nelson Panciatici jumping up to P5. The #55 Honda NSX with Leonardo Moncini driving found itself at the front with a 7 second lead.

Klingsmann eventually got around Middleton but was unable to progress any further through the field after a solid defence from Panciatici.

At the end second placed Kikko Galbiati driving the #17 Antonelli Motorsport Mercedes-AMG GT3 was closing in on Moncini who was struggling with back markers and lost substantial time after a coming together which put Galbiati half a second behind him. Moncini seemed to be having genuine problems clearing the slower car and another poor pass almost saw him almost take out the chasing Galbiati at the as the pair powered down to Rivazza.

On the penultimate lap the pair came together of their own accord at Rivazza which saw body work fly and compromised  Moncini on the run down to Tamburello. Galbiati was able to place his Mercedes on the inside line to take the lead despite a determined defence from Moncini.

Behind them Jose Manuel Urcera took P3 in the #27 Ferrari and Stuart Middleton managed to fight his way up to P4 ahead of Panciatici.

The next round of the Italian GT Championship will take place at Vallelunga on the 15 & 18 September.

 

 
 

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