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    Two Ferraris on the podium at Monza

    Monza 12 maggio 2019

    At the end of an intense 4 Hours of Monza, the Ferraris concluded second and third in a race where the ballast aboard the Luzich Racing (30kg) and Kessel Racing (20kg on the number 83) cars and the Balance of Performance applied to all 488 GTEs affected the final outcome. It was, nevertheless, an upbeat race for the cars from Maranello who managed to be protagonists in each phase of the race.

    First hour. At race start, Lavergne, at the wheel of Luzich Racing's 488 GTE, got away to an umpteenth flying start, propelling him into second position behind Ried's Porsche but ahead of Cameron, who had preceded him on the grid. In the early stages, Lavergne got involved in a vibrant duel with, first, the Porsche of Ried, then Perfetti, in third. There was no lack of tussling among the GTE class cars behind the leading trio, with Lu's Ferrari in contact with Cameron's at the first Variant. The 488 GTE of JMW, slowing down at the exit from the left-hander, got hit by the Ferrari of Manuela Gostner as well. The two cars were able to resume the race, although with some bodywork damage, particularly to the Kessel Racing car, while the Canadian JMW driver picked up the inevitable drive-through. Lavergne, meanwhile, with an incredible overtaking manoeuvre, was able to get the better of Ried's Porsche at the Ascari Variant. Nevertheless, a few laps later, the Frenchman was forced to concede the race leadership to Perfetti. Shortly before the end of the first hour, the Ferraris competing in the race began to make their first pit stops. No sooner had operations been completed when a Full Course Yellow was declared in order to clear away a prototype which had spun off at the second Lesmo curve.

    Second hour. Segal's Ferrari held a swift pace and the Spirit of Race driver was able to overtake Ried's Porsche, taking third place behind Lavergne. Halfway through the second hour the Safety Car was back on the scene due to an accident of a prototype coming out of the Variante Ascari and the Ferrari teams took advantage to pit and swap drivers. In the 488 GTEs of Kessel Racing, Sergio Pianezzola took over from Schiavoni, while Michelle Gatting replaced Gostner. When the Safety Car re-entered the pit lane 2h19’ from the end, the LM GTE class standings saw three Ferraris lying in the top three positions: Segal held a 7"891 advantage over Gatting with the other cars a lap behind due to the stop and Safety Car. The Luzich Racing car bore the brunt of the penalization, slipping to seventh position.

    Third hour. With the two Ferraris still in the lead, there was a dog fight going on between tightly-bunched pursuing cars. The damaged bodywork sustained during contact at the first Variante was beginning to manifest itself for the pink crew of Kessel Racing and their 488 GTE which got called into the pits by race officials, communicated by the display of black and orange flags, in order to carry out the repairs. The Swiss team took advantage of the unexpected stop to swap drivers, with Rahel Frey taking over from Gatting. Thirteen minutes before the end of the third hour, the race went Full Course Yellow with the Ferrari teams recalling their cars to the pits for a splash and driver change. For the JMW Motorsport car, Matteo Cressoni replaced Wei Lu at the wheel, while the Luzich Racing car was handed over to the official Competizioni GT driver Alessandro Pier Guidi. Once the race was again underway, just five minutes shy of the third hour, Pianezzola span off the track at the second Lesmo curve.

    Fourth hour. At the start of the final hour, the standings in LM GTE showed the Porsche of Pera leading ahead of the Ferrari of Cressoni, separated by eight seconds, while the 488 GTE of Pier Guidi had achieved fourth spot 57 seconds off the leader. The sixth, seventh and eighth places, meanwhile, were occupied by the cars of Spirit of Race and the two from Kessel Racing. Twenty-four minutes from the end, a bold attempt by a prototype to lap Piccini's Ferrari ended with both cars spinning off the track forcing another Full Course Yellow. Once again the pits became centre-stage with all most all crews stopping for tire changes and a splash. At the restart of the race, the gap of the Ferraris from the race leader was too lengthy to think of attacking and the positions remained unchanged until the chequered flag, handing second and third spot to the cars from Maranello. Behind was the Porsche of Pera-Ried-Cairoli, with the 488 GTE of JMW Motorsport of Segal-Cressoni-Lu separated by 24 seconds and the twin car of Luzich Racing with Pier Guidi-Nielsen-Lavergne, despite 30kg of additional ballast, on the bottom step of the podium. Sixth place for Kessel Racing’s pink crew, with Gostner-Frey-Gatting forced in twice near the end for splashes, and seventh place for the Spirit of Race car of Cameron-Griffin-Scott, who had been in the fray for top positions during the middle phase of the race.