Vallelunga 15 settembre 2019
At the end of three intense hours of racing in the penultimate round of the Campionato Italiano GT Endurance, the Ferrari crews of RS Racing and Scuderia Baldini 27 laid claim to the second and third steps of the overall podium at Vallelunga. Daniele Di Amato and Alessandro Vezzoni, delivered a great showing, claimed top honours in Pro-Am class, sharing the rostrum with the crew of Rinaldi Racing at their first appearance this season in the series.
In contrast to the two previous events, the weather was not the most determining factor, with the track – several kilometres from the capital – bathed in sun. As the race got underway with Ferrari crews amid the top positions, Daniele Di Amato raced nose to tail with Postiglione’s Lamborghini, while behind, Lorenzo Veglia was making his presence felt, engaging in a fine duel with Jacques Villeneuve. With Rinat Salikhov lying eighth and Simon Mann eleventh, the pitstop window opened just minutes shy of the first hour for the driver swap. Stefano Gai climbed aboard the 488 GT3 of Scuderia Baldini 27, while Simon Mann handed over to Nicklas Nielsen, David Perel substituted Rinat Salikhov, Alessandro Balzan took over from Lorenzo Veglia and Alessandro Vezzoni from Di Amato. At this point the track became less of a protagonist, with the penalizations taking centre stage, namely those dictated by both the previous race results as well as those meted out by race stewards. The leader board underwent a continuous reshuffle with Vezzoni taking command, while Balzan attacked and overhauled Gai on the 48th lap. Far from the front-runners in ninth place, David Perel was proving to be one of the quickest and most consistent on the track, staging a comeback facilitated by the permanent stop in the pit lane of Fassineti on lap 59. With the race leaders out of the picture, Balzan overtook Comandini’s BMW to reach the tail of Vezzoni, just ahead of the entrance of the Safety Car which coincided with the opening of the second pitstop window for driver changes.
The race restarted behind the new race leader Sims, with the Ferrari crews now deploying fresh drivers behind the wheels of their 488 GT3s. Fisichella, Di Amato and Cioci began to contend for the second place position but the Easy Race car, after having sprung an attack on Di Amato at the hairpin, was forced into the pits once more due to a rear left tyre puncture brought about by the lightest of contacts with the front bumper of Fisichella’s vehicle. The very same competitor was obliged, several laps later, to make a drive-through after race stewards deemed the driver to have violated Safety Car procedure. With the sanction out of the way and 34 minutes still to run, Fisichella re-entered the track in third place behind Di Amato, while Bulatov, thanks to a superb stint by Perel, moved the Ferrari of Rinaldi Racing up into fifth spot.
The chequered flag decreed the top honours for the BMW of Sims-Comandini-Johansson, ahead of the 488 GT3 courtesy of RS Racing manned by Vezzoni-Di Amato, first in the Pro-Am class, and Fisichella-Villeneuve-Gai, third overall and second in Pro class. Fifth overall place – third in Pro-Am – went to the Rinaldi Racing team fielded by Salikhov-Bulatov-Perel. Eighth was the 488 GT3 of Easy Race driven by Cioci-Balzan-Veglia with a stroke of good fortune, while Cressoni-Mann-Nielsen posted eleventh for the AF Corse machine.