The Ferrari 488 GTE no. 74 of Kessel Racing crewed by Michael Broniszewski, David Perel and Nicola Cadei won the 4 Hours of Monza, the fourth round of the European Le Mans Series, to gain ground in the overall standings. This excellent result was complemented by a superb third place for the Ferrari of Iron Lynx driven by Manuela Gostner, Michelle Gatting and Rahel Frey, which took a second consecutive podium after the one at the Paul Ricard.
Ferraris competitive. Expectations ran high in the Italian temple of speed ahead of the penultimate round of the championship. Everything was still to play for in the drivers’ and teams’ titles in the GTE class. The tension not only affected the leaders of the class in which the Ferraris were racing, but the entire starting grid and, as has happened on many occasions previously, the first corner saw contacts and unexpected twists. Due to various accidents, the Safety Car entered the track to restore some order. The race thus got properly underway about ten minutes after the green flag. The Ferrari 488 GTE driven by Claudio Schiavoni of Iron Lynx, which started on pole courtesy of Andrea Piccini’s spectacular lap in Saturday’s qualifying, confirmed its lead. Further back, Broniszewski in the Prancing Horse no. 74 set off in pursuit of the two Porsche 911 RSRs of Proton Competition that held second and third place.
After about twenty minutes Duncan Cameron, in the Ferrari of Spirit of Race, passed all his rivals including Schiavoni, to seize the race lead. The Ferrari no. 55 set the pace, followed by Ried’s Porsche 911 RSR and a very attentive Broniszewski. The first driver change came a little over forty minutes into the race, with Sergio Pianezzola taking over from Schiavoni. However, his stint was cut short when an LMP3 class prototype collided with his 488 GTE at the Ascari Chicane, forcing him to retire with a broken left rear suspension. The marshals penalised the Union Autosport car for this decidedly reckless manoeuvre while the Safety Car recompacted the group to allow the Ferrari’s removal. At the restart, Cameron and Cadei’s Ferrari 488 GTEs were separated by just a few tenths of a second, with Alessio Picariello positioned between them in his Porsche, sparking off an exciting fight for the podium.
Changes. At the two-hour mark, the next set of driver changes began. Then as soon as the situation returned to normal, Ferrari no. 74 executed the decisive pass of the race to take the lead and keep it even after Cadei handed over to Perel. The positions began to crystallise, so after a first part full of twists and turns, the only excitement later on involved the fight for third place between the Ferraris of Michelle Gatting and Aaron Scott. Finlay Hutchison remained further back in sixth position.
One hour from the end, the podium positions were set and remained so down to the chequered flag. Perel processed undisturbed towards a well-deserved victory ahead of Picariello’s Porsche and Gatting’s Ferrari 488 GT3 who, together with her teammates, repeated the result achieved at the Paul Ricard. Fourth place went to the Prancing Horse of Duncan Cameron, Matthew Griffin and Aaron Scott and sixth to the no. 66 of Rodrigo Sales, Finlay Hutchison and Gunnar Jeannette.
Last round. The curtains close on the European Le Mans Series season on 1 November at Portimão where the 2020 titles will be awarded. Perel, Broniszewski, and Cadei currently top the drivers’ standings, and Kessel Racing lead the team table in the LMGTE class.