The #17 Ferrari 488 GT3 Evo 2020 of Louis Prette-Vincent Abril (AF Corse-APM Monaco) took overall victory in Race 2 at Monza in the fourth round of the International GT Open. Twelfth place, fifth in the Pro-Am class, went to the other Prancing Horse sister car belonging to the same team, driven by Stéphane Ortelli and Angelo Negro. However, the #25 car of Daniele Di Amato-Alessandro Vezzoni (RS Racing) was forced to withdraw despite a good start.
Pro. Louis Prette took charge of the Ferrari 488 GT3 Evo 2020 for the race-start, hanging on to the sixth position obtained earlier in qualifying. The red #17, however, dropped down the order to eight – fourth in Pro class – after being overtaken by two adversaries.
In the latter part of his stint, Prette upped the pace and, after gaining a position thanks to the withdrawal of Di Amato’s Ferrari, moved up to hound Axel Nesov in sixth place, breathing down the neck of Christian Klien. A superb, yet sporting, battle ensued between the tight quartet which also involved the Ferrari of Ortelli.
With driver changes looming, Prette immediately entered the pits and handed the car over to Vincent Abril. By the time the pit-stop window had closed, Abril held fourth spot – second in Pro class. The driver set about establishing a blistering race pace that led him to overhaul Patryk Krupinski and to move into third place overall. Abril continued to push and on lap 23, at the first chicane, succeeded in overtaking Marcelo Hahn to snatch second spot. The gap from race leader Miguel Ramos – with almost a twenty-second advantage – seemed insurmountable, however, with some ten minutes still to run, the Safety Car was summoned out while a stationary vehicle at a perilous point on the track was removed, effectively neutralizing the gaps.
When racing resumed, a scorching Ramos and Abril, pulled a surprise move on Hahn, who reacted late, allowing the two to break through. Ramos appeared to be in trouble, while the Ferrari looked faster. Nothing separated the two drivers, with Abril attempting a first lunge at the Parabolica: the Portuguese driver pulled out all the stops to fend off the attacks, even coming into contact with the Ferrari in a defensive manoeuvre, at the limit of legality which prompted a warning from race stewards. The overtaking move had to wait until the following lap, when the #17 Ferrari took the lead. The final minutes are a winning parade for Abril, celebrating a triumph as well-deserved as it was convincing.
Pro-Am. The #25 Ferrari with Di Amato at the wheel, got off to the slickest start. The driver moved up into fifth spot, after having set off from ninth, and appeared to have the pace to push and outclass adversaries. The Italian set his sights on attacking fourth place yet suddenly began to lose speed and was overtaken by numerous opponents including the two Ferraris following behind. The #25 limped into the pits for a service and after a further attempt to lap the track, was forced to withdraw definitively.
In the meantime, Stéphane Ortelli had moved into eighth position behind the Ferrari, currently in the hands of Louis Prette. When the driver change window opened, Ortelli opted to stay out on track and was among the last to pit. At the end of the whirlwind of driver swaps on lap nineteen, the strategy adopted by the AF Corse-APM Monaco team had proved a positive one, with Angelo Negro, who in the meantime has taken over the wheel of the #48 Ferrari, holding fifth place, third in Pro-Am.
Negro managed to hold onto the position, but on lap 25, after a post-Safety Car restart, in an attempt to fend off challengers, went off track, passing over the curb. The crash had probably caused damage to the car and Negro was no longer able to keep up with the pace of the frontrunners, watching his opponents parade up ahead, eventually finishing twelfth, fifth in the class.
Next date. The fifth round of the International GT Open season is scheduled at Spa in Belgium from October 16-18.