Iron Lynx, hard fought win at Spa-Francorchamps
Le Mans Cup

Iron Lynx, hard fought win at Spa-Francorchamps

Spa-Francorchamps | 8 August 2020

The 488 GT3 Evo 2020 of Giacomo Piccini and Rino Mastronardi claimed its second win of the season in an exciting race at the Spa-Francorchamps circuit. The Iron Lynx crew, led by reigning champion Piccini, doggedly hung onto their lead in the face of a fantastic comeback by David Perel who, together with Michael Broniszewski, took the second spot on the podium followed by teammates Paolo Ruberti and Murod Sultanov, third at the finish line.

Twists and turns. The race saw its first twist during the training lap when Claudio Schiavoni came into contact with Broniszewski while warming up his tyres on the Kemmel straight. He crashed hard into the barriers, irreparably damaging the car. The episode made the race officials postpone the start of the race by a few minutes.

Breakaway. When the lights went out, Mastronardi defended the pole position won in the morning and tried to gain some margin over his pursuers. At the same time, Michelle Gatting quickly moved onto Broniszewski’s tail, in third position. After 15 minutes, the Dane made the most of the acceleration of her 488 GT3 Evo 2020 on exiting the La Source hairpin to move into second position and chase Mastronardi. Behind them, Sultanov struggled to keep up and slowly lost ground to the top three. The race hinged on Gatting’s pursuit of Mastronardi but also on a contact that, just before the opening of the window for the pit stop and driver change, involved Hartshorne and a prototype at the Bus Stop chicane. The Kessel Racing driver managed to return to the pits with a damaged right rear rim, while the LMP3 had to retire at the end of the Kemmel straight with a broken left rear suspension.

Defence. Gatting completed her splendid comeback just moments before the mid-race pit stop which coincided with Iron Lynx’s retirement from the race. Mastronardi handed the wheel to Giacomo Piccini, while David Perel took over from Broniszewski, eleven seconds behind the leader and almost a minute and a half ahead of Paolo Ruberti. The South African Kessel Racing driver began to close the gap and, with twelve minutes to go, started to zero in on the reigning champion. The pair fought a gripping duel, with the two Ferraris often locked together or engaged in passing and counter-passing, including one at the La Source hairpin. Perel tried everything and, one lap from the end attempted to surprise his rival with an attack on the inside of the second bend of the Bus Stop chicane. The manoeuvre ended with a contact between the two that the marshals immediately punished with a drive-through for the Kessel Racing driver. The penalty gave the green light to Giacomo Piccini but didn’t stop the South African from finishing in second place as Ruberti was a long way back. Oliver Hancock took the bottom step of the podium in the third 488 GT3 Evo 2020 of Kessel Racing.

Pulling away. With these results, Giacomo Piccini and Rino Mastronardi strengthened their championship lead on 52 points against 33 for their closest pursuers, Paolo Ruberti and Murod Sultanov. The next round will be at the Paul Ricard, which replaces the Barcelona event.