Brilliant practice, good quali were not enough to prompt Imola race rewards in Audi Sport Italia GT Open debut

Brilliant practice, good quali were not enough to prompt Imola race rewards in Audi Sport Italia GT Open debut

26.07.2021: Pit-stop mishap hindered Saturday Top3 chase, while on Sunday Riccardo Agostini was tapped into a spin early on and puncture watered down Lorenzo Ferrari's comeback hopes

• Pit-stop mishap hindered Saturday Top3 chase, while on Sunday Riccardo Agostini was tapped into a spin early on and puncture watered down Lorenzo Ferrari's comeback hopes

It turned out twin top spots on Friday and the start from the front row on Sunday proved the highest point of the first International GT Open entry for Audi Sport Italia, a debut which took place at the familiar venue named after Enzo and Dino Ferrari.


Riccardo Agostini had qualified his R8 LMS GT3 next to series leaders' Schandorff/Beretta. At the end of the opening lap the two leading spots were occupied by the Lamborghini and McLaren's Millroy/Iribe, as the Italian GT Sprint reigning champ was busy trying to fend off pressure from the Mercedes AMG of Loris Spinelli, winner of both previous races, on Saturday at Imola and earlier in Budapest.


On lap three the three-pointed star car pushed the Audi into a spin (for the maneuver Spinelli had a 5-second penalty added to his race time), which dropped the Audi to ninth place. Agostini after twenty minutes had returned to P5, but at the time of the mandatory pit stop he had the unpleasent surprise to be forced to drive in one lap earlier than planned as a rear tyre was punctured.

 

Lorenzo Ferrari, who took the wheel in sixth position was able to put in good laps, but him too on lap 25 had to make an unexpected stop, again due to rear tires puncture: he wound up in a lowly P9 as the race was claimed by Porsche's Soucek / Al Zubair.


Unsurprisingly the Team Lechner duo was among the drivers starting from the front rows saved from serving additionale handicap time at the pit stop: exactly like it was supposed to happen to the Audi R8 LMS, which for this reason was hopeful to celebrate an outstanding result today, although this was before reality struck.



On Saturday Ferrari/Agostini claimed P4 after starting from P3: Ferrari had spent his stint trying to overtake Sunday winners, but to no avail: Agostini hoped to make up the lost ground in the second half of the 70-minute race, but as the driver change time came two kind of separate trouble nagged the crewmen, as a gun and a bolt slowed the team work by over 20 seconds, a gap which proved too much for Agostini, while Spinelli claimed the win in spite of an ailing engine.




INTERNATIONAL GT OPEN | IMOLA (I) | ROUND ONE


1. Loris Spinelli (Mercedes AMG) 41 laps 1.11'33.511s avg. speed 180.310 kph
2. Beretta/Schandorff (Lamborghini) 4.407s
3. Soucek/Al Zubair (Porsche) 6.403s
4. AGOSTINI/FERRARI (AUDI) 11.611s
5. Nemoto/Moulin (Lamborghini) 40.222s
6. Moller/Paverud (Honda) 56.821s
7. Osborne/Moss (McLaren) 1'05.745s
8. Scholze/Liebhauser (Mercedes AMG) 1'06.001s
9. Irebe/Millroy (McLaren) 1'11.134s
10. Giuseppe Cipriani (Lamborghini) –1 lap



INTERNATIONAL GT OPEN | IMOLA (I) | ROUND TWO


1. Soucek/Al Zubair (Porsche) 35 laps 1.00'54.681 avg.speed 169.244 kph
2. Beretta/Schandorff (Lamborghini) 1.507s
3. Loris Spinelli (Mercedes AMG) 11.296s
4. Nemoto/Moulin (Lamborghini) 15.650s
5. Moller/Paverud (Honda) 39.035s
6. Scholze/Liebhauser(Mercedes) 59.465s
7. Osborne/Moss (McLaren) 1'07.830s
8. Iribe/Millroy (McLaren) 1'10.522s
9. AGOSTINI/FERRARI (AUDI) 1'21.865s
10. Giuseppe Cipriani (Lamborghini) -1 lap    



 
Carlo Marzetti photos Audi Sport Italia

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26.07.2021 / MaP

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