Stefano Gai in the Ferrari 488 GT3 courtesy of Scuderia Baldini 27 has won the 2019 Italian GT Championship Endurance. The driver from Milan took the Italian title honours thanks to a first place clinched alongside crew-mate Antonio Fuoco in the final round of the endurance season on the Mugello track. Fourth overall and second in Pro-Am were RS Racing’s Di Amato and Vezzoni.
Two other Prancing Horse crews also placed on the podium. Cioci, Veglia, Balzan (Easy Race) aboard another Ferrari 488 GT3 took third in the GT3 class and seventh overall, while the Ferrari 458 Italia driven by Mayer, Schiavoni, Pianezzola (Iron Lynx) claimed the triumph in GT Light (ninth overall).
Stefano Gai (crowned champion after an earlier title in 2016) arrived at the final campaign event paired with Antonio Fuoco, after having shared the #27 Ferrari 488 GT3 in the opening three rounds of 2019 with Giancarlo Fisichella and Jacques Villeneuve.
The success for Gai-Fuoco came at the end of a hard-fought 180-minute race, with no shortage of on-track thrills, settled by the narrowest of margins ahead of Postiglione-Mul-Frassineti (Lamborghini Huracan-Imperiale Racing) and Linossi-Colombo, co-crewed by Zampieri (Mercedes AMG GT3-Antonelli Motorsport). The Imperiale Racing car had, in reality, crossed the finish-line first but a subsequent five-second penalty for a jump-start when the Safety Car entered, dropped the Postiglione-Mul-Frassineti crew to second place (third in the championship standings, two points shy of the top), delivering Gai first place in the race and top honours in the rankings. Second in the Endurance final standings, one point adrift, were BMW Team Italia’s Stefano Comandini and Erik Jahansson (flanked by Alex Zanardi on the Tuscan circuit), who on the eve of the race were leading the championship standings. However, a mechanical issue in their third stint forced the BMW to withdraw, putting paid to any dreams of glory.
For Gai-Fuoco the recovery in the final stretches proved crucial for the #27 Ferrari 488 GT3, managing to close the gap and reduce the seconds to clinch the title.
Fourth at the finish-line (and second in GT3 Pro-Am) was claimed by the other Ferrari 488 of Di Amato, Vezzoni (RS Racing), seventh went to the Cioci-Veglia-Balzan crew of Easy Race (and third in GT3 Pro), while behind was the #51 AF Corse, handled by Mann-Cressoni (fifth in GT3 Pro-Am).
Iron Lynx’s Mayer-Schiavoni-Pianezzola posted ninth past the chequered flag, enough to seal the victory in GT Light class, in their first appearance in the Italian series.
The next event for the Italian GT Championship is scheduled for 20th October at Monza, the final round where the Sprint titles will be awarded.