The penultimate round of the ACI Campionato Italiano Gran Turismo has been won by the BMW Ceccato Racing team with the trio of Stefano Comandini, Marco Cassarà and Alfred Nilsson claiming victory in the two-hour Endurance race at Autodromo Nazionale Monza. The #7 BMW M4 GT3’s win was greatly helped by a mis-timed Full Course Yellow, keeping them in the hunt for the title.

Giancarlo Fisichella and Tommaso Mosca, meanwhile, started out strong aboard the #27 Scuderia Baldini Ferrari 488 GT3 but finished third behind the #51 AF Corse Ferrari 488 GT3 of Jules Castro, Marco Pulcini and Stefano Gai, keeping the former well on top of the standings but with Castro and Gai slightly closing the gap in the points standing from second place.

At the start, polesitter Mosca was charged at by both Cecatto BMWs with Comandini even shortly nipping ahead. Braking for the first chicane at the latest possible moment, the Ferrari managed to keep the lead. Further down the field several cars clashed resulting in the first Safety Car of the race.

After the race went green again, the #27 Ferrari showed excellent pace throughout Mosca’s stint, opening a gap of over 6 seconds while behind him the two BMWs of Comandini and Francesco Guerra were closely followed by the #51 AF Corse Ferrari 488 GT3 of Stefano Gai and #54 Imperiale Racing Lamborghini Huracán GT3 of Stuart Middleton. The young Brit, clearly not content with his view of the Italian GT champion’s Ferrari from the rear, successfully challenged Gai for fourth place after twenty minutes of racing followed by a pass on Guerra as well shortly before the first pitstops.

That round of pitstops changed the running order at the front significantly. Coming out of the pits, the Ferrari of Fisichella slowed down due to extinguishant entering the exhaust following a small fire in the pit lane, costing the former Formula 1 driver valuable time and dropping him back to tenth place before picking up speed again.

Having been stranded on the track since the opening of the pitstop, race control decided to bring out of the Full Course Yellow to recover the #163 Petri Corse Lamborghini Huracán ST just as the #7 BMW of Comandini and Gai’s #51 Ferrari were making their pitstops, giving their teammates Cassarà and Pulcini – as well as the GT Cup class #272 Lamborghini Roma DL Racing Lamborghini Huracán ST of Alessandro Fabi – almost a one-lap advantage over the rest of the field as the Safety Car picked up the #8 BMW Ceccato Racing BMW M4 GT3 of Salvatore Tavano and #54 Imperiale Racing Lamborghini of Raul Guzman instead of the actual leaders just metres behind.

Victory came in reach of Cassarà as at the restart when Pulcini, who was just tenths behind the BMW, was turned around by Jack Bartholomew aboard the #16 Imperiale Racing Lamborghini Huracán GT3 while trying to unlap himself from the Ferrari.

BMW Ceccato Racing remained unthreatened for the remainder of the race, Alfred Nilsson crossing the finish line 37 seconds ahead of the #51 AF Corse Ferrari.

Fisichella’s delay at the start of his stint marked the beginning of a long fight back to the podium for the Baldini crew. Picking off cars one by one, Mosca ended the race successfully in third place despite a short spin into the gravel after attempting a pass on the #8 BMW of Carlo Taburini which caused the BMW damage and forcing it into the pits. Mosca quickly raced back for another overtake on Mahaveer Raghunathan in the #16 Imperiale Lamborghini and was in fourth place with ten minutes to go when he caught the back of and overtook the GT Cup class #272 Lamborghini Roma DL Racing Lamborghini Huracán ST of Alessio Caiola – the latter finishing sixth overall behind the #16 Lambo in fourth and #1 Audi Sport Italia Audi R8 LMS GT3 of Luca Attianese and Sandy Stuvik. Repeating the excellent pace shown in the opening stint, Mosca unlapped himself with a few minutes to go to finish on the lead lap in third place.

A curious situation has now emerged in the championship where should the #27 Scuderia Baldini Ferrari 488 GT3 of Fisichella and Mosca retire at the final round in Vallelunga on 15 October and the #7 BMW win, both teams are crowned champion as they would be identical in both points and race results. With 17 points to Fisichella and Mosca and only three ahead of BMW’s Comandini, Cassarà and Nilsson, second-placed Castro and Gai will need the full 20 points for victory as well to stand a chance.


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