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Tonizza fourth in the SRO Monza Charity Race

Maranello 29 March 2020

Ferrari Driver Academy (FDA) Hublot Esports Team driver David Tonizza finished fourth, just off the podium in the SRO Esports Charity Challenge, a race held at a virtual Monza circuit, organised by SRO Motorsport Group in conjunction with Kunos Simulazioni and AK Informatica with the aim of raising funds for the Covid-19 Solidarity Response Fund which is supporting the WHO in its fight against the pandemic. All entrants raced using the Assetto Corsa Competizione platform, using the Monza circuit, because the Italian track was due to be hosting the opening round of the GT World Challenge Europe Endurance Cup. With so many participants, the field was split into two semi-finals with the top twenty from each race going through to the final. All three FDA Hublot Esports Team were taking part, so that alongside Tonizza were Enzo Bonito and Amos Laurito and several other track and sim drivers were competing at the wheel of the Ferrari 488 GT3.

Semi-final-1. The three FDA Hublot Esports Team drivers got through to the semi-finals without any problem, with two of them putting in dominant performances. In the first race, Tonizza made a cautious start, losing a place, but he soon dispensed with the Kammerer Mercedes and began a long duel with Hosseini in another Mercedes. In the closing stages, the leader began to pay the price of having a heavy car and having to save fuel. Tonizza, now generally going by the nickname of “Tonzilla”, had been biding his time and broke away to take the lead with three laps to go, pulling away to win as he pleased. Amos Laurito also had a good race, moving up from twelfth to sixth at the flag, thus comfortably making it to the final stage, along with Davide Brivio, 17th in the number 555 Ferrari.

Semi-final-2.  The second semi-final was pretty much a carbon copy of the first one. Bonito dropped to fifth after the start, but soon fought back to third, overtaking Simonini (Jaguar) and Losio (Mercedes). Making the most of the battle between the two Mercedes ahead of him, Enzo passed Nils Naujoks and tucked in behind Tobias Pfeffer, waiting patiently for the race to evolve. With 20 minutes to go, Bonito briefly found himself leading, but when Pfeffer attacked, he let him into the lead, given that the only important thing was to qualify. Once again, the Ferraris had the upper hand in the closing stages as their rivals had to save more fuel and so Bonito went into the lead to take a commanding win. Also qualified in Ferraris were an expert real racer David Perel and the amateur racer who came through from the fans qualifying process, Simon Ratz. The Ferrari Competizioni GT driver, Miguel Molina was very unlucky to be hit by another car at the first chicane and was unable to continue.

Final.  In qualifying, the Balance of Performance, a regulation aimed at equalising the performance of different cars, worked in favour of Mercedes, with seven of their cars in the top eight. Tonizza qualified ninth ahead of Bonito, with Laurito in 19th place. In the very early stages of the race, Bonito and Laurito were both involved in a multiple pile-up that totally compromised their races, while Tonizza patiently worked his way back up the order. The Italian was fifth for a long time, but towards the end, he was able to shake off Brioni (Lamborghini) and Petit (Mercedes) before tucking in behind Kammerer (Mercedes) e Nobel (Lamborghini.) Leading at this point, but with a penalty to take for having caused a collision was Naujoks in a Mercedes. Unfortunately, a mistake on the last lap coming out of the Variante Ascari cost Tonizza some time and so he finished fourth behind Naujoks. Enzo Bonito came home twelfth, with Laurito 28th. The other Ferrari drivers finished as follows: Perel 20th; Brivio 23rd; Ratz 27th.