At Mugello Audi drivers can't avoid Saturday race pitfalls, then rebound on Sunday

At Mugello Audi drivers can't avoid Saturday race pitfalls, then rebound on Sunday

16.07.2017: • Benoit Tréluyer's stints hindered by safety-car periods in both Mugello rounds • Young gun Vittorio Ghirelli put in solid

•   Benoit Tréluyer's stints hindered by safety-car periods in both Mugello rounds

•   Young gun Vittorio Ghirelli put in solid drives at favorite racetrack

The first half of Italian GT came to a close in shining sun at the scenic Tuscan venue, and in spite of a well-regarded outright win claimed yesterday by a Pro-Am BMW pair (Alberto Cerqui and Stefano Comandini), today the series was back to business as usual, as reigning champ Stefano Gai posted his fourth win, which translates in his Ferrari 488 claiming half of the 2017 rounds, as yet. In case you be willing to ask: yes, there is a Balance of Performance in Italian GT, sort of.

Audi Sport Italia duo expected a mixed outcome from the mid-season mark: hoping to confirm the outstanding pace shown at Monza, but well aware of having to face on Saturday the heaviest burden in the field as far as time handicap was concerned. Which turned out quite true: starting from row three Vittorio Ghirelli was stuck in the slow traffic of the inside line and dropped to seventh at the end of the opening lap.

 Unfortunately the long mandatory pit-stop wasn't the best tool to propel Audi team mate Benoit Tréluyer further up the field, and adding insult to injury the quirks of a long and messily managed safety car period undercut even more the Frenchman hopes of staging a comeback, as Tréluyer posted a lack-luster seventh place.

If anything, Tréluyer and Ghirelli knew that on Sunday they would have to cope with a five-second time handicap. Unfortunately, this time out the No 8 Audi had to start from P8: the Gordes, France-based driver had spun at the tricky Arrabbiata corner as he was on pace to qualify his car on the front row.

The 3-time Le Mans winner kept his starting position until the pit stop window was declared open, his stint again punctuated by a --luckily short-- safety-car period. If Tréluyer's stint did not make him an happy man setup-wise, at least delaying the moment to hand over driving duties to Ghirelli as much as possible translated in the R8 LMS climbing as high as third, a mere 3-second gap distancing the Audi from the provisional race leader, the pole-sitting Lamborghini Huracan driven by Frassineti-Beretta.

However, when the full field had completed the pit-stop, Ghirelli was fifth, ensnared in a fierce four-car battle for fourth place which even became white hot on the final lap as the pack stumbled in a mob of backmarkers that were, they too, dogfighting. Ghirelli avoided a couple of spinning cars at Casanova-Savelli esses with less than a minute to go and P5 was the prize for his grit at a racetrack he ranks quite high among his favorites.


1. Cerqui/Comandini (BMW) 24 laps 50:22.997s average speed 149.906 kph
2. Schirò/Cioci (Ferrari) 1.837s
3. Cheever III/Malucelli (Ferrari) 3.099s
4. Gai/Rugolo (Ferrari) 4.089s
5. Beretta/Frassineti (Lamborghini) 7.598s
6. Agostini/Zampieri (Lamborghini)7.612s
8. Cassará/Gentili(Lamborghini) 31.745s
9. Damico/Cazzaniga(Lamborghini)35.985s
10. Takahashi/Karol (Lamborghini) 37.123s


1. Rugolo/Gai (Ferrari) 25 laps
50:49.66s average speed 154.772 kph

2. Agostini/Zampieri (Lamborghini) 9.704s
3. Schirò/Cioci (Ferrari) 12.091s
4. Frassineti/Beretta(Lamborghini) 12.399s
6. Malucelli/Cheever III (Ferrari) 18.078s
7. Baruch/Palma (Lamborghini) 19.786s
8. Cassará/Gentili(Lamborghini) 25.788s
9. Comandini/Cerqui(BMW) 35.465s
10. Necchi/Desideri (Lamborghini) 44.912s


Carlo Marzetti Audi Sport Italia srl · also photo


16.07.2017 / MaP

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