The Ferrari 488 GT3 of Tempesta Racing enjoyed a winning debut in the first round of the Blancpain GT Series Endurance Cup today at the Autodromo Nazionale di Monza. Crewed by Chris Froggatt, Chris Buncombe and Jonathan Hui, car no. 93 triumphed in the Pro-Am category after a tough race with the rain triggering lots of accidents and four outings of the Safety Car.
Difficult qualifying. After a qualifying session heavily affected by interruptions and torrential rain, all the Ferraris started from the back. Indeed, the best placed was SMP Racing’s car in twenty-fourth. The 488 GT3 of Tempesta Racing started from thirty-eighth with Buncombe at the wheel. However, after a cautious race albeit one spent on the attack, it won the Pro-Am category, finishing twentieth overall.
The other Ferrari in the class, AF Corse no. 52, was dogged by bad luck. Niek Hommerson, Louis Machiels and official Competizioni GT driver Andrea Bertolini started from the back of the field after crashing during qualifying. Then, after 27 minutes the car was hit by the Mercedes no. 12 when it lost control on braking for the first chicane.
Molina overtakes. The other finishing positions for the 488 GT3s confirmed how difficult the race had been for the Maranello cars. In the overall standings, the no. 72 of SMP Racing closed in twenty-third, also penalised by a stop&go, with the only happy note of the day the relentless pace in the rain of official Competizioni GT driver Miguel Molina. The Spaniard pulled off some spectacular passes to soar up the standings.
In the AM category, the two Ferraris of Rinaldi Racing, respectively the 488 and 33, and that of HB Racing, closed in sixth, seventh and eighth place. In particular, the 488 GT3 driven by Pierre Ehret, Martin Berry and Jose Manuel Balbiani was hampered by a puncture that forced Ehret to complete two-thirds of a lap on three wheels.
In the Silver Cup, the Ferrari no. 333 of Rinaldi Racing, driven by Rinat Salikhov, Denis Bulatov and David Perel, crossed the line in eighth, after being close to the podium an hour in.
Set for a fightback. The next round of the European series organised by SRO will be held in the UK, at Brands Hatch, from 4 to 5 May.