AF Corse’s return to the International GT Open ended with fifth place in the Am class after the first of two races. Philippe Prette and Angelo Negro’s 488 GT3 Evo 2020 finished the 70-minute session fifth in class and thirteenth overall, while Louis Prette and Vincent Abril in the twin car were forced to retire in the Pro class.
Complicated start. The fifteenth season of the International GT Open kicked off in Hungary with high expectations for the two Ferraris entered, after the morning’s excellent qualifying session. The podium, in particular, seemed to be within reach of the 488 GT3 Evo 2020 in the Pro class, crewed by Louis Prette and Vincent Abril. However, hopes were dashed as early as the first corner when Prette, author of a good start but a conservative throttle-down into turn 1, was touched by James Pickford’s McLaren no. 72 and ended up colliding with Fabian Schiller’s Mercedes. The damage to the Ferrari forced the young Monegasque driver to retire during the first lap.
Am hopes. The only Maranello car still in the race, driven by Philippe Prette, lay in eleventh place overall and third in class. The multiple Ferrari Challenge Asia Pacific champion struggled to keep pace with the leaders but easily held onto his position. Indeed, he even took the lead during the mandatory pit stops when the AF Corse 488 GT3 Evo 2020 extended its stay on the track. Angelo Negro replaced the Monegasque and returned to the fray in third position. The podium was within grasp but 19 minutes from the flag Petru Razvan’s Bentley span at turn 4, with the British car unable to restart and left in a dangerous position. As a result, the Safety Car came out, compacting the group. Eleven minutes later, the race officials’ car returned to the pits, allowing track action to resume. Negro let himself be surprised, losing two positions, just instants before a new spectacular accident, this time involving Stanislaw Jedlinski’s Mercedes, which led to another outing for the Safety Car. With less than eight minutes to go, it was impossible to restart the race regularly, so the cars passed under the chequered flag in Safety Car mode, freezing the standings and, with it, fifth place in the Am class for the AF Corse duo.
Race 2. The second qualifying session is scheduled from 10:15 am to 10:45 am on Sunday to decide the starting grid for the one-hour race which will set off at 2:20 pm.