Yuki Nemoto and Edoardo Liberati took victory in the latest round of the Italian GT Endurance Championship, bringing their VSR Lamborghini Huracan home just ahead of long time race leaders Leonardo Moncini, Jacopo Guidetti and Jorge Cabezas in the Nova Race Honda NSX.
Despite falling down the field early on in the race, a solid stint from Nemoto saw the pair take the win after the sister VSR Lamborghini pulled up with a technical fault handing the lead to Nemoto.
The two hour race got underway at a wet Monza circuit with the opening laps conducted under the safety car followed by a single file start. The result was a clean run through the first chicane with the pole sitting #19 VSR Lamborghini of Liberati losing out to Hites in the sister #63 VSR Lamborghini. Hites made the move by outbraking himself into the turn and only just made it safely through the chicane and compromised both cars on the exit leaving both Lamborghinis open for Jacopo Guidetti in the #55 Nova Race Honda NSX. Having powered past the #19 around Curva Grande, Guidetti took a chance to outbrake the #63 into the Variante della Roggia.
The move wasn’t entirely successful and both cars cut the chicane but the stewards allowed the move to stand and Guidetti set about consolidating his lead. Behind the front pair Liberati quickly fell victim to the #17 Antonelli Motorsport Mercedes AMG of Kikko Galbiati who then set about harassing and quickly passing Hites in the #63 Lamborghini.
Guidetti was able to resist the challenge from Galbiati and the pair soon put daylight between themselves and the chasing #63 Lamborghini despite regularly trading places until a problem for the #17 Mercedes saw it drop quickly down the field before retiring on lap nine.
With 30 minutes of the race gone the #19 Lamborghini of Liberati was down to fifth place after being caught and passed by the second Antonelli Mercedes, the #44 driven by Jop Rappange. Liberati was able to stay with the Mercedes despite being chased himself by the #69 Herberth Motorsport Porsche 911 GT3R of Robert Renauer.
At the front Guidetti now had a 10 second lead on Hites in the #63 Lamborghini whilst Renauer had got up to P3 after passing Rappange pushing the #19 Lamborghini down the order. A coming together at the first chicane with the #44 Mercedes pushed Liberati down to P7
An early pit stop for the #19 Lamborghini saw Yuki Nemoto take over and start working his way back through the field and was back up to P3 by the end of the first hour when the first safety car of the race was called.
With Leonardo Moncini in the #55 Honda and Karol Basz taking over the #63 Lamborghini, the three were comfortably circulating within 6 seconds of each other until the final 30 minutes when the #63 Lamborghini encountered a technical problem and pulled up on the run to the Ascari Chicane. This handed the lead to Nemoto in the sister car and with a 5 second gap back to Moncini, was looking comfortable to take the win. Unfortunately there was no easy way to recover the stranding #63 car so a second safety car was called.
The safety car period eventually ended with just 7 minutes remaining on the clock. Nemoto got away well at the restart and set about defending his lead from Moncini who could now see a chance of victory. However Moncini was also under pressure from the #6 Imperiale Racing Lamborghini of Daan Pijl who despite starting the race from P4 had dropped places almost immediately and spent much of the race circulating somewhere between P10 and P6.
Despite their best efforts the order stayed the same with Nemoto finishing a 1.3 seconds ahead of Moncini and Pijl a further 2 seconds back in P3.
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