A splendid showing from Ferrari in the Pro-Am class at the end of Race-1 of the Campionato Italiano GT Sprint held this afternoon in Mugello, which featured a podium lock-out that extends the unbeaten streak started at the inaugural race in Vallelunga.
Scorching pace. Starting out from pole position after a fantastic qualifying session, Antonio Fuoco at the first curve had to fend off an attack on his first position from the BMW of Johansson. The Italian driver stamped an authoritative pace on the race from the get-go, as evidenced by the fastest lap of 1’48”866 registered on his second time around. The Ferrari 488 GT3 #52 courtesy of AF Corse – having to make the mandatory 20” pit stop after the results of the previous round – looked to open up an advantage that would allow them into the battle for the overall podium while, at the same time, defending the leadership of the Pro-Am class. Alessandro Vezzoni, at the wheel of the RS Racing car, after having held seventh position in the opening laps, was overtaken by Baldan and Lorenzo Veglia during a frenetic phase of the race featuring many skirmishes such as the one involving Simon Mann and Larini mid-pack. With the mandatory pit stops looming, tyres were beginning to show the first signs of declining performance, yet Veglia managed to stay competitive and mounted a splendid comeback from thirteenth to fifth place to the detriment of Kaffer’s Audi thanks to a formidable overtake around the outside of the San Donato curve.
Mandatory pit stops. Alberto Lippi was the first to pit his 458 Italia GT3, leader among the GT Light class, to hand over to Giorgio Sernagiotto. The other crews all quickly followed suit bar Antonio Fuoco who sought to delay his service until as late as possible.
The standings saw Comandini in the lead ahead of Rovera and Sean Hudspeth, still leaders in Pro-Am, while Daniele Di Amato, having taken over the 488 GT3 from Vezzoni began to notch up some very promising times to quickly climb the order to sixth place behind Hudspeth. There were nail-biting moments when Baldan span, coming out of the Bucine curve, causing contact with the machine of RS Racing which damaged the Ferrari just enough to impede progress, but not enough to force its retirement.
Hat trick. This marked the final thrills of the race which, from then on, saw the positions unchanged, allowing Ferrari to monopolize the Pro-Am podium with the AF Corse pairing of Fuoco-Hudspeth in top spot, fifth overall, ahead of RS Racing, driven by Di Amato-Vezzoni and the second AF Corse crew, Mann-Cioci, who had been the attacking protagonists in the latter half of the race. In Pro class, Lorenzo Casé and Lorenzo Veglia claimed fifth in Easy Race’s 488 GT3.
In the GT Light class, it was the first race without a win for the 458 Italia GT3 of Iron Lynx driven by Lippi-Sernagiotto, third across the line, who saw their chances of success vanish with a lengthy pit stop.