Drudi-Ferrari-Agostini (Audi R8 LMS) win the opening race of the Italian GT Endurance Championship in Pergusa

Audi Sport Italia's drivers proceeded Fisichella-Gai-Zampieri and Amici-Di Folco-Middleton. In GT3 PRO-AM the victory went to Earle-Perel, while Neri-Fascicolo-Nilsson (GT4) and Demarchi-Risitano-Barbolini (GT Cup) win their respective classes.

Mattia Drudi, Lorenzo Ferrari and Daniel Zampieri (Audi R8 LMS) take the win in the first round of the Italian GT Endurance Championship held at the circuit in Pergusa. Audi Sport Italia’s drivers won the 3 hours race by 7”402s on Fisichella-Gai-Zampieri (Ferrari 488 GT3 Evo-Scuderia Baldini) and by 8”068 on Amici-Di Folco-Middleton (Lamborghini Huracan-Imperiale Racing) that completed the podium. The GT3 PRO-AM victory went to Earle-Perel (Ferrari 488 GT3 Evo-Kessel Racing), that led Perolini-Veglia-Negro (Lamborghini Huracan-LP Racing), while Fascicolo-Neri-Nilsson (BMW M4 GT4) and Demarchi-Risitano-Barbolini (Ferrari 488 Challenge Evo) had the upper hand, respectively, in GT4 and GT Cup.


It has been a difficult race with a lot of retirements, incidents, mechanical failures and three safety cars, but eventually, the Audi R8 LMS came out on top after an initial lead from BMW in the first stint and Lamborghini in the second. The race did not start very well for Audi Sport Italia as an aggressive Salaquarda went off after contact with his teammate Ferrari in a risky overtaking move. The young Italian did not lose it and completed his stint keeping P6 before handing the car over to Agostini. The safety car at the start of the second stint due to the incident of the then classification leader Comandini (BMW M6 GT3) and a second one a few laps afterwards allowed the driver from Padova to get some ground back taking P3 behind Middleton and Zampieri. In the closing stint, after the third safety car, Drudi came to the fore taking the lead after the drivers’ change and keeping the places all the way to the flag. This awarded Audi Sport Italia with a great win in a race that seemed compromised at the beginning. The Audi drivers proceeded Amici-Di Folco-Middleton at the flag, but Imperiale Racing’s trio were handed a penalty due to an overtaking move under the yellow flags of the British driver and were relegated to P3. Therefore, the second position went to Fisichella-Gai-Zampieri (Ferrari 488 GT3 Evo) that recovered well from the starting P7 despite the car's excessive oversteering in the initial stint. The reliability of the car, the constancy of Zampieri and the careful losing stages of the home-hero, Giancarlo Fisichella, handed Scuderia Baldini fifteen important points at the return in the championship after one year of absence. They led the Lambo of Imperiale Racing, which had a good debut in the Endurance series thanks to a good first stint by Di Folco in P3, the lead by Middlenton in the central part of the race and the skilled third stint of Amici, who did not make any mistakes.

Schreiner-Hudspeth-Fuoco (Ferrari 488 GT3 Evo-AF Corse) ended at the feet of the podium. The driver from Cosenza came to the fore in the third stint posting the best time in the third last lap. They led Earle-Perel (Ferrari 488 GT3 Evo-Kessel Racing), which won the PRO-AM class. The first stint from the South African driver has been amazing and he recovered well from P9 up to P4, a problem to one tyre forced him to pit and to hand the car over the car to Earle. The closing stint saw Perel keeping the lead of PRO-AM and crossing the finish line in fifth place leading Demarchi-Risitano-Barbolini, that were at the debut in the category in the Ferrari 488 Challenge Evo. The SR&R trio took the win in GT Cup, while Neri-Fascicolo-Nilsson were seventh overall and first of GT4 in the BMW M4 GT4 of Ceccato Racing. The eighth place of Perolini-Negro-Veglia (Lamborghini Huracan) allowed them to take the second place of PRO-AM, but the result could have been different for LP Racing’s drivers if it was not for a brake issue.

BMW colors were hit by bad luck instead. They started the weekend very well with a great pole position secured by Comandini-Zug-Spengler in the BMW M6 GT3 run by Ceccato Racing. The 18 years old German kept P1 in the first stint and handed the car over to Comandini, who had an incident at the Proserpina chicane and hit the tyre wall damaging his car. The Ferrari 488 GT3 Evo (AF Corse) of Mann-Cressoni initially completed a great recovery up to P2 in the first stint with the Italian driver, but the young American slipped down to P4 before retiring due to engine issues later on. Gearbox issues caused also the retirement of the 488 GT3 of Easy Race driven by Greco-Filippi-Crestani at the end of the first stint. The young driver from Piedmont drove a great fraction in P4 until that point.

The next round of the Endurance series will be in Mugello (July 2-4) and will be followed by the races in Vallelunga (September 17-19) and Monza (October 29-31).


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