02 maggio 2017
Maranello, 2 May 2017 – Four spectacular races held at Imola set the start of the new season of the Italian GT Championship. The reigning champions, Mirko Venturi and Stefano Gai, were simply perfect winning both races and showing at best the potential of the 488 GT3 of Black Bull Swiss Racing Team.
Race-1. The season opened as it closed in 2016, with the victory going to reigning champions of Super GT3 Venturi-Gai (Ferrari 488). Black Bull Swiss Racing’s drivers led a perfect first stint with Venturi putting some pressure on Malucelli, who started on top behind the safety car that was necessary due to the light rain. In the second part of the race, Gai took the lead after the driver change and kept the position until the chequered flag, leading the Lamborghini of Frassineti-Beretta. Ombra Racing took P3 early on after a mistake made by Treluyer (Audi), while Beretta took P2 overtaking Cheever after the driver change. The driver from Rome, Malucelli’s co-equiper, was third on the podium, fending off the attacks moved by the other Ferrari of Niccolò Schirò (Easy Race).
Race-2. On Sunday Venturi-Gai won race-2 despite the 15s time handicap they had to serve due to the victory scored the day before. The Black Bull Swiss Racing’s team has been great thanks to a very quick first stint put in by Gai, who always held P1, and a second part of the race that saw Venturi getting out of the pits in P3 but managed to find his way past Frassineti first and Melo then. Behind them the Ombra Racing car was always close to the second place of Schirò. Back on track after the driver change, Melo found himself on top leading Daniel Zampieri (Antonelli Motorsport Lamborghini), while Frassineti managed to keep P3 from Venturi, but the race was then neutralized by the Safety Car when Treluyer’s Audi got beached. At the restart, Melo pulled away and behind him Frassineti and Venturi got past Zampieri. In the closing stages the race got even more exciting and Melo slowed down a bit his pace and was caught by Frassineti and Venturi. At lap 26 Venturi had the upper hand on the Ombra Racing’s driver, while at the following lap (the last) the Black Swiss Racing’s driver took the lead overtaking Melo at Rivazza. The Brazilian went wide into the sand, handing the second place to Frassineti and positions did not change at the flag.
GT3. After the victory in Race-1, Paolo Venerosi and Alessandro Baccani (Porsche) took another win in race-2. Francesco La Mazza, on the Ferrari 458 Italia GT3 by Easy Race, had to start from the pits due to an electric problem, while Baccani got the lead proceeding Mario Albert Colajanni (Chevrolet by Erreci Proracing). La Mazza got past Colajanni at the end of lap six and positions did not change afterwards even after the driver change with Marco Magli taking over the wheel of the Ferrari.
GT Cup. In GT Cup the race has been very tight in this category. Eugenio Pisani was eventually on the top step of the podium from P2 behind Enrico Di Leo and ”Poppy” (Porsche). Vago Racing Team’s driver was forced to the retirement due to a suspension failure, giving way to the driver of Siliprandi Racing. Back on track after the round of pit stops, Leonardo Baccarelli took the lead on the Ferrari 458 Challenge EVO entered by CAAL Racing but the Italian driver was handed a drive through for an erroneus procedure during the pit stop. Pisani inherited therefore the lead, Baccarelli was second and La Mazza (Porsche) completed the podium. Next race is at Misano Adriatico on June 3-4.