Nick Cassidy's seventh place at the wheel of AF Corse Red Bull Alphatauri’s Ferrari 488 GT3 Evo 2020 will do little to erase the disappointment of the Piacenza-based team after Felipe Fraga’s withdrawal following a collision whilst the Brazilian was leading the race.
Fog. After a three-and-a-half hour delay due to fog which, since the morning, had reduced visibility to a mere few metres, forcing the organisers to cancel qualifying and determine the starting grid based on positions held in the championship standings, the race got underway amid differing degrees of grip on the asphalt. Despite the grip being far from ideal, drivers opted for slicks. Fraga got off to a formidable start moving into second spot at the first corner and then took the lead from Bortolotti thanks to a splendid manoeuvre on the first lap. Cassidy, who had started from further back, was able to climb the order, avoiding any potential contact in the middle of the field.
In command. Fraga began edging away from Bortolotti and Sheldon Van der Linde, the first of the three to make the obligatory stop, followed by Fraga with 24 minutes to go, and then Bortolotti. The AF Corse men produced a very rapid pit stop but the undercut of the 488 GT3 Evo 2020 in the Red Bull colours failed and Fraga was forced to overtake Bortolotti once again. The AF Corse driver pulled off the perfect manoeuvre and managed to gain a slight advantage over the Italian. Cassidy, meanwhile, continued to lap and even managed to hold the lead until the pit stop on lap 27. The stop, on this occasion, proved slower and effectively ruled out any hopes of a podium place for the New Zealander, who, nevertheless, continued to chase down a top five place.
Collisions. The decisive episode, as far as the win was concerned, occurred three laps later when Bortolotti, hot on Fraga’s heels for a couple of laps, attempted an impossible overtaking move at the final corner, sending the Brazilian into a spin and dropping him down to 19th position and putting paid to any hopes of a comeback in the general standings. Indeed, the Brazilian would drop out on lap 34.
Cassidy, at the wheel of the only Ferrari still left in the race, moved up into eighth place, inside a tight group of four drivers, all within two seconds of each other, led by Auer in fifth. The New Zealander passed Rast’s Audi and then attacked Eng’s BMW. The battle between the pair, who were then joined by Rast, ended in multiple contacts that eventually saw the Ferrarista post seventh.