Scuderia Baldini put its disappointing retirement at Monza behind it, leaving the Misano World Circuit with its first podium of the season. It achieved this despite the weather that affected the performance of the 488 GT3s competing in the second round of the Italian GT Endurance Championship.
Heavy rain. After influencing the outcome of the qualifying session, rain dominated proceedings on Sunday at Misano Adriatico. A few hours before the start of the race, a violent storm hit the Romagna circuit, forcing the organisers to cancel a support race. The race started with the cars behind the Safety Car and equipped with rain tyres. The four Ferraris taking part were driven by Lorenzo Veglia for Easy Race, Stefano Gai for Scuderia Baldini, Simon Mann for AF Corse and Daniele Di Amato for RS Racing. In the early stages, Stefano Gai pulled off a great comeback, recovering in his 488 GT3 from the 11th place gained in a difficult qualifying session, to sixth when he had to hand over. Although the rain had stopped after about 45 minutes, the teams opted to stick with wets.
More rain. After a good start, while Veglia was comfortably among the podium positions, he went long and lost some places before handing over to Daniel Mancinelli. In his second stint, the driver from the Marche region held fifth, just ahead of Jacques Villeneuve who, in the meantime, had taken over from Gai. Matteo Cressoni, who had replaced Nielsen, and Villeneuve rose in the standings, while Alessandro Vezzoni, who in turn had taken over Di Amato, spun and lost about 30 seconds after turning off the engine. As the track continued to dry out, at the last pit stop all the leading cars decided to stick with rain tyres. Among these, Giancarlo Fisichella was very successful, passing Francesca Linossi two laps from the end to take third place in the class and fourth overall. However, Marco Cioci lost a position due to the time handicap for second place at Monza, finishing in sixth overall, fourth in the GT3-Pro class. The 488 GT3 of AF Corse with Mann, Cressoni and Nielsen, took fourth place on the GT3-Pro-Am and eighth overall. It was another unlucky race for the RS Racing duo of Di Amato and Vezzoni. In a finale where the progressive deterioration of the rain tyres - on a rapidly drying track - allowed Di Amato to rise to seventh place, contact with a rival’s BMW sent him into a spin, puncturing a tyre. Seventh place in the class, 12th overall, did not do justice to another convincing performance by the RS Racing pair.
Next round. The Italian GT Championship resumes, after a month's break, at the Imola circuit where competitors in the GT Sprint series take to the track from 21 to 23 June.
Photo Credit: Marco Vitali