Lorenzo Patrese set the fastest lap in Pre-Qualifying for the first round of Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe Powered By AWS at Monza, as the Tresor Attempto Racing squad topped the times despite a pair of red flags, one of which was to recover Valentino Rossi who hit the barriers at the Parabolica.
In a session where the top 17 were covered by one-second, the smallest margins made the biggest differences in the 90-minute session and it was a pair of Audi R8 LMS GT3 Evos that made the most of the bright conditions.
Early on, it was the #25 Sainteloc Junior Team Audi of Patric Niederhauser that was setting the pace at the sharp-end as the Swiss dropped into the 1m47s with ease – the R8 looking comfortable around the Italian temple of speed.
There was never too much of an opportunity to really set a long string of laps together with numerous interruptions disrupting the flow of the session. First was a ten-minute safety car so SRO could test out the new Wave-By rules for 2023 and then two red flag periods to recover cars.
It was just before the first of the red flags, that Patrese – son of multiple Formula One race winner Riccardo – set his definitive time of 1m46.568sec.
Indeed there wasn’t much chance for anyone to set another time as the first stoppage of the session took place to recover Valentino Rossi’s Team WRT BMW M4 GT3 out of the barriers at the Parabolica.
In what was a strange incident, not quite caught by the cameras, the BMW seemed to snap round heading into the final corner, sending Rossi into the barriers – thankfully the amount of TecPro and tyres meant that the damage wasn’t too substantial, but did end his session prematurely with 53 minutes still on the clock. Rossi said afterwards that he braked too hard going into the corner, which caused the spin and eventual crash.
It was only five minutes after the resumption of Pre-Qualifying that the track went red again, this time to recover the Team Parker Racing Porsche 991 GT3 R of Derek Pierce, who found himself in the gravel trap on the outside of the first Lesmo.
While the final 25 minutes were incident-free, apart from one of the Boutsen VDS Audis obliterating a sponsorship board on the run off between the Lesmos, times didn’t particularly change that much up at the sharp-end, with the top two Audis not particularly being troubled.
Indeed, the #25 improved its position, with Mies moving to within 0.064sec of the top spot, opening up a tenth on the #88 AKKODIS ASP Mercedes-AMG GT3 which Raffaele Marciello powered up to third in the final ten minutes of the session – ahead of the Team AlManar Mercedes-AMG and the sister #87 AKKODIS ASP entry.
Adding even more Germanic flavour to the top ten was ROWE Racing. Philipp Eng initially powered the BMW M4 GT3 into the top ten, before Yelloly jumped up to sixth.
Tesor Orange 1 took seventh to make it a third Audi in the top ten, while Indy Dontje was the fastest of the Gold Class entries in the Winward Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3 in eighth. Rounding out the top ten was the Dinamic GT Huber Racing Porsche and the second ROWE Racing BMW.
In 11th, Andrea Bertolini powered the AF Corse Ferrari to top in the Bronze category and was running as high as second, before the faster cars knocked the 488 down to just outside the top ten.
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