FCY 2. The second Full Course Yellow followed a few minutes later, due to two almost simultaneous collisions involving four cars, two coming out of the Tosa corner and two at the Rivazza. Less than a lap after the restart behind the Safety Car on lap 19, a new session of Full Course Yellow was called, this time due to a multiple collision during the downhill restart towards the Rivazza. Niek Hommerson took advantage of the episode before handing over to Louis Machiels who was in second place in the Pro-Am. A lap later all the teams were imitating AF Corse no. 52, creating quite a lot of confusion in the pit-lane. The two Pro-class Ferraris made the most of the stage to take the race lead. While Nicklas Nielsen took the wheel of AF Corse no. 51, Sergey Sirotkin drove SMP Racing’s 488 GT3 Evo 2020. In the Pro-Am class, Hui inherited first position from Froggatt, while Machiels started from fourth and Mastronardi, who had replaced Ehret, from sixth. At the stroke of the first hour of the race, the green flag came out again to mark the resumption of hostilities.
Under attack. The lack of further interruptions allowed Kelvin Van der Linde to take advantage of the Audi’s superior speed to very quickly pass both Sirotkin and Nielsen and move into the lead. For the two Ferraris, any attempt to resist was futile with more than half the race still to go. In the Pro-Am, the central period of the race saw Rino Mastronardi proceeding brilliantly in third position. At the same time, Hui, after a difficult start to his stint, was in fourth and Machiels seventh.
Penalties. At mid-race, with Nielsen in second position, the marshals penalised car no. 51 with a drive-through for breaking the speed limit behind the Safety Car during Calado’s stint. The Dane, who visited the pit-lane on lap 44, was in fourteenth position. AF Corse’s car was not the only one to be penalised, with Sky Tempesta Racing and Rinaldi Racing also forced to take a drive-through for the same reason. These decisions changed the face of the Pro-Am crew standings, with the last scheduled stop further shuffling the pack.
Extended stop. A particularly long stop by SMP Racing knocked the 488 GT3 Evo 2020 back to twenty-second place. A little less than an hour from the end, when all the teams had made pit stops, Pier Guidi’s Ferrari was ninth, while Rigon’s was twenty-first. In the Pro-Am class, Daniel Keilwitz was leading Ferrari’s attempted fightback to the podium, closely followed by Edward Cheever, while Andrea Bertolini had to battle up from seventh.
A collision between Maxime Soulet’s Bentley and Fabian Schiller’s Mercedes at the Rivazza, 48 minutes from the chequered flag, led to another Full Course Yellow and the subsequent Safety Car that recompacted the group. When the race resumed with 35 minutes to go, Pier Guidi’s attempted comeback was frustrated by heavy traffic due to the difficulties in passing on the Imola circuit.
Another FCY. As Cheever passed Keilwitz and took second place thanks to Karim Ojjeh’s spin, another Full Course Yellow was called. During this period, an investigation into car no. 72 for “blocking in the pit lane” was announced, which turned into a drive-through a few minutes later.
The restart took place with only ten laps available to the drivers to decide the final finish order, but the nature of the track prevented any upsets in the standings. At the chequered flag, AF Corse no. 51 was seventh in the Pro class, while SMP Racing no. 72 finished in fifteenth. In the Pro-Am class, Sky Tempesta Racing took second, with Chris Froggatt, Edward Cheever and Jonathan Hui, despite suffering a mid-race drive-through. Rinaldi Racing took fourth place, while fifth went to AF Corse’s second car, no. 52. Bortolotti-Van der Linde-Vaxiviere won the race in an Audi.
Next round. The GT World Challenge Europe will stay in Italy, moving just a few miles up the road to the Misano Adriatico circuit where the first round of the Sprint series will take place from 7 to 9 August. The Endurance Cup will return to the track on 5 and 6 September at the Nürburgring circuit, for the 6 Hours.