A sun-drenched weekend in Lombardy greeted the Italian GT Sprint Championship second-round doubleheader at Monza.
In the fiercely competitive GT3 class, it was a celebration for the BMW Italia-Ceccato Racing Team as they asserted their dominance with a resounding one-two punch. Bruno Spengler and Jens Klingmann piloted the mighty BMW M4 GT3 to a stunning victory, leaving a trail of dust in their wake. From the starting line, Spengler catapulted forward, executing a breathtaking launch that propelled him into the lead, leaving Marco Butti, Petrov, and Mazzola in awe-struck pursuit. The Canadian driver’s skill and determination were undeniable.
With the baton passed during the intense driver change, Klingmann gallantly maintained the team’s pole position. Butti and his steadfast teammate, De Luca, valiantly fought to close the gap, refusing to relent. Nevertheless, Klingmann held firm, showcasing nerves of steel as he steered the BMW M4 GT3 to claim their first triumph of the season. Admittedly, their glorious feat was punctuated by a safety car intervention due to Nurmi’s incident, adding an extra layer of uncertainty and challenge to their journey.
In a remarkable display of talent, youth, and audacity, the eighteen-year-old prodigy from Audi Sport Italia, Marco Butti, emerged as a worthy adversary. He charted his own awe-inspiring path, engaging in a high-octane battle against experienced rivals. Butti’s impressive solo performance earned him a commendable second place, outshining the second BMW team of De Luca and Tamburini. The young driver from Mantova matched strides with the front-runners before seamlessly handing over the baton to his co-driver, who valiantly defended their position against Coluccio’s relentless charge. The duo also triumphed as the leading PRO-AM team for BMW, etching their names in the annals of racing history.
Hot on their heels, Coluccio and Mazzola of the Best Lap Ferrari 488 Challenge Evo scythed their way through the ranks, defying all odds. Starting from a modest seventh on the grid, they transformed adversity into an opportunity, weaving their scarlet chariot through the throngs of competitors to secure a commendable podium finish. Their remarkable drive earned them second place in the PRO-AM category, a testament to their unwavering spirit and skill.
Not to be outdone, Liberati and Michelotto scripted a spectacular comeback story of their own. A technical glitch during the first official practice session had relegated them to the back row. Undeterred, they staged a mesmerizing resurgence, defying expectations and soaring through the ranks. Their phenomenal achievement left spectators awestruck as they crossed the finish line ahead of their Imperiale Racing teammates, Llarena and Moulin, and the indomitable duo of Denes and Gvazava, commanding a Lamborghini Huracan GT3.
Completing the top ten with their unwavering determination, Kelstrup and Sandrucci in the Mercedes AMG GT3 clinched a commendable eighth place. Greco and Gnos, aboard the Honda NSX GT3, fought valiantly despite an unfortunate off-track excursion that penalized them early on. They clawed their way back to secure a respectable ninth-place finish. Meanwhile, Ciglia and Fascicolo piloted their Lamborghini Huracan GT3 with precision and finesse, triumphing in the GT3 AM category and rounding off the top ten. Magnoni and Bodellini in the Honda NSX GT3 and Marco Pulcini in the AF Corse Ferrari 488 GT3 Evo 2020 followed suit, adding their names to the honorable mentions.
Alas, fate dealt a cruel blow to pole-sitter Stuart White, his Ferrari 488 GT3 Evo 2020 succumbing to a series of setbacks. From an early contact in the race’s infancy to subsequent technical troubles, White’s aspirations were dashed, leaving him to reflect on what could have been.
Meanwhile, the GT Cup class showcased its own mesmerizing spectacle, brimming with nerve-racking moments and breathtaking maneuvers. The one-make configuration cars pushed their limits, igniting a fierce battle that unfolded with adrenaline-pumping intensity. From the outset, chaos erupted at the Roggia corner, as Zanardini, Romani, Baccani, and Ferri collided in a cacophony of crunching metal and flying debris.
Amidst the mayhem, the race persevered, albeit punctuated by three safety car interventions. At the front of the pack, Colavita, the pole-sitter, displayed unwavering tenacity, clinging to his hard-fought lead against the relentless pursuit of Biagi and Pera. Lap after lap, the trio engaged in a mesmerizing duel, leaving spectators on the edge of their seats.
With the baton passed to their co-drivers, the dynamic shifted, injecting a new dimension of strategy and skill. Maggi, taking over from Colavita, showcased his mettle, deftly maneuvering the Ferrari 488 Challenge Evo and reestablishing their dominant position. Del Col, replacing Biagi, valiantly clung to second place, while Riva, assuming control from Fabi, fought tooth and nail to maintain their podium dreams.
However, fate had its own design. A second safety car period ensued, triggered by Zanon’s untimely off-track excursion, forcing a temporary halt to the proceedings. Upon the restart, Patrinicola, who had taken the reins from Demarchi, staged a valiant charge, clawing his way up to second place. Yet, destiny had one final twist in store. A third safety car appearance brought the race to an abrupt halt, foiling any hopes of a last-ditch battle for supremacy.
Under the watchful gaze of the checkered flag, Colavita and Maggi emerged triumphant, their unwavering resolve rewarded as they claimed the coveted top step of the podium. Demarchi and Patrinicola, their indomitable spirits burning bright, secured a commendable second place, a testament to their resilience and camaraderie. Notably, Fabi and Riva seized control of the GT Cup AM category, their DL Racing Huracan ST showcasing unmatched prowess. In this fierce subclass, Nicoli and Scarpetta, piloting the Best Lap Ferrari 488 Challenge, secured the second podium spot, while Croccolino and Luvisi, navigating the GDL Racing Porsche 991 GT3 Cup, cemented their place in the ranks of champions.
A thrilling conclusion awaited the 2nd round of the Italian Gran Turismo Championship where Lamborghini and Ferrari celebrated remarkable victories. In the highly competitive GT3 class race, the triumphant team was none other than VSR, led by the talented Riccardo Cazzaniga and the Israeli sensation Artem Petrov. Their success was well-deserved, as they dominated the race from start to finish, securing a crystal clear victory that left no doubts about their exceptional skills. With an impressive pole position and a flawless performance, Cazzaniga and Petrov showcased their prowess, building a significant lead that stretched to over 15 seconds at the checkered flag.
However, the final podium positions were determined after the race, as penalties reshaped the standings. Greco-Gnos from Nova Race, piloting the Honda NSX GT3, received a 5-second time penalty for repeatedly violating track limits. Similarly, the BMW duo of Spengler-Klingmann (representing BMW Italia/Ceccato Racing Team) were penalized with a 3-second penalty for making contact with another competitor. As a result, Marco Butti (Audi R8 LMS – Audi Sport Italia) and Liberati-Michelotto (Lamborghini Huracan GT3 Evo – VSR) were elevated to second and third place, respectively.
For Nova Race, it was a disappointing turn of events as their remarkable performance, which saw them closely challenging the leaders throughout the race, ultimately led to a seventh-place finish. On the other hand, Spengler-Klingmann, despite crossing the line in sixth place, retained the overall championship lead with 48 points. Liberati-Michelotto staged an impressive comeback after encountering technical issues in the official practices, placing him second in the championship standings with 43 points.
In the GT Cup class race, the dynamic duo of Biagi-Del Col piloted their Ferrari 488 Challenge Evo to victory, marking an unforgettable return for Thomas Biagi. Overcoming a fiercely competitive field and enduring two safety car periods, Biagi and Del Col fought hard for their triumph. Leonardo del Col’s strong first stint kept them in contention, while Biagi showcased his expertise by swiftly seizing the lead during the restart on the final lap, securing the top step of the podium.
Behind the winners, the young representatives of Double TT Racing, Colavita-Maggi, displayed remarkable resilience after serving a time handicap in the pit lane due to their victory in the previous race. Their excellent performance allowed them to finish in second place ahead of Segù-Vebster (Lamborghini Huracan ST), who led for a significant portion of the race but couldn’t match the dominance of the Ferrari 488s on the high-speed Monza track.
Giacomo and Matteo Pollini, driving the Lamborghini Huracan ST, impressed with a solid fourth-place finish, further solidifying their position in the overall standings. Pezzucchi-Pastorelli (Porsche 992 GT3 Cup-Krypton Motorsport) claimed victory in the GT Cup AM category, followed by Ettore Carminati (Lamborghini Huracan ST-CRM Motorsport), Croccolino-Luvisi (Porsche 991 GT3 Cup-GDL Racing), and Oliva-D’Auria (Lamborghini Huracan ST-HC Racing).
Unfortunately, misfortune struck Valerio Prandi (Porsche 991 GT3 Cup-Ebimotors) and Alessio Bacci (Ferrari 488 Challenge-SR&R), who were involved in an incident early in the race, prompting the first safety car period. Luca Demarchi (Ferrari 488 Challenge) and Fabrizio Fontana (Ferrari 488 Challenge Evo) also collided while battling for podium positions towards the end, leading to the race being neutralized for the second time. The incidents were bitter blows for the Formula Racing team and Best Lap, disrupting their promising performances and leaving them disappointed with the final outcome.
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