Team Russia seventh in the GT Cup final at Vallelunga
FIA Motorsport Games

Team Russia seventh in the GT Cup final at Vallelunga

Vallelunga | 3 November 2019

The final of the GT Cup, a race reserved for GT3s and part of the FIA Motorsport Games, held at the Vallelunga circuit, failed to deliver medals to the Ferrari crews, who were nevertheless key protagonists throughout much of the race, making brave strategic choices whose results, however, never materialised. At the end of the sixty-minute race, which finished behind the Safety Car that had been called out on numerous occasions due to the taxing weather conditions, the best Ferrari finisher turned out to be Team Russia, seventh across the line.

After a morning downpour, the final got underway with some stretches of the track dry, particularly those of the racing line, although overcast skies continued to threaten rain. With nothing to lose, some Ferrari race crews – in particular those starting out from the rear of the field such as the Italian squad – opted for slick compounds. It proved a tricky start for Team UK who had dropped four positions before pitting for dry tyres on lap four. The Italian car, meanwhile, took advantage to climb the order and enter into the top ten with five laps completed. The Ferrari driven by the more experienced of the Roda pairing, capitalised on the advantage afforded by the slicks, to stage a formidable showing, clocking up the fastest partial times to eventually muscle into fifth position, before being hit by the Spanish team’s Lamborghini which had lost control. The 488 GT3, heavily damaged in the right rear end, restarted the race in eleventh position, but as a consequence of the greater efficiency of the dry tyres, had soon pulled back to fourth place. Likewise, both the Russian and the American Ferraris staged furious comebacks. Roda, nevertheless, made a blunder going into the hairpin and collided with the barrier, putting an end to his resurgence.

Forty minutes from the end, the rain was back at the Rome track, shaking up once again the tyre situation and lending assistance to the crews that had chosen to run on grooved tyres. Team Russia, who had shot up into fourth place, upped the pace in a bid to hold out until the opening of the pit-stop window for mandatory driver changes. Salikhov slipped down to ninth position, with all the Ferrari crews subsequently entering the pit lane at the first possible chance. The order after the pit-stop showed the Russian squad to be the fastest of the Ferraris in ninth place at the hands of Denis Bulatov, while Pumpelly in the American team’s 488 GT3 held twelfth spot. The Safety Car, necessitated by the worsening weather conditions, came out on track with twenty minutes still to run, before re-entering and letting the race re-start with eighteen minutes left. However, barely had few seconds gone by when the official vehicle was forced to come back out to accompany the GT Cup competitors right through to the finish-line. In the end, with the Belgian team getting lumbered with a 20-second sanction, the Ferrari of Team Russia was able to post a seventh place final finish ahead of the U.S. team in eighth. Thirteenth place went to the Belarus outfit, fifteenth to that of Great Britain and nineteenth for Team Italy.