RYS Team Kiska KTM drivers Lennart Marioneck and Jonathan Cecotto broke through for their first GT4 European Series Northern Cup victory in a thrilling opening race of the season at the Misano World Circuit Marco Simoncelli on Saturday evening.
The #34 KTM X-Bow GT4 started from fifth on the grid, but by lap eight was already into third place behind the #62 Academy Motorsport Aston Martin Vantage GT4 of Matt Nicoll-Jones and the #112 RN Vision STS Porsche Cayman CS MR GT4 of Pavel Lefterov.
Pole-sitter Duncan Huisman was taken out of the race shortly after the start. The #9 Las Moras Racing McLaren 570S GT4 was hit twice on the opening lap, causing it to retire with damage before completing a single lap. Defending GT4 European Series champion Jörg Viebahn’s team mate Nicolaj Møller-Madsen was another victim on the first lap. The safety car was deployed on the opening lap.
After seven minutes the race was restarted and Pavel Lefterov and Matt Nicoll-Jones started to fight each other for the race lead. On lap eight the British driver moved into the lead, but four laps later the Bulgarian overtook his rival again to retake the lead. Behind them, Jonathan Cecotto closed in rapidly, while six others were fighting for the fourth place held by Bullitt Racing’s Andy Meyrick.
Matt Nicoll-Jones was the first of the leaders to come into the pits for the mandatory pit stop, with Pavel Lefterov only coming in at the very end of the pit window. However, his team mate John-Louis Jasper was unable to stay in the lead and one lap later, on lap 19, RYS Team Kiska driver Lennart Marioneck had taken the lead.
Lennart Marioneck made no mistake and pulled away from William Moore in the #62 Academy Motorsport Aston Martin Vantage GT4 and Alessio Picariello in the #92 PROsport Performance Porsche Clubsport. Behind the top three Ekris Motorsport driver Max Koebolt began to close in on the RN Vision STS Porsche.
A daring move with just minutes left on the clock meant Alessandro Picariello took second place from William Moore, but seconds later the Belgian PROsport Performance driver was given a drive-through penalty for improving under yellow. John-Louis Jasper also received a drive-through for disrespecting the track limits, but this penalty was converted into a 40-second time penalty.
After 32 laps Reiter Young Stars driver Lennart Marioneck crossed the line to take victory for RYS Team Kiska. Marioneck finished 9.067s ahead of Academy Motorsport’s William Moore, with Max Koebolt taking third place in his Ekris M4 GT4, finishing 17.069s behind the race winning KTM X-Bow GT4.
In GT4 Am Giuseppe Ghezzi and Manuele Mengozzi claimed victory in the #76 Autorlando Sport Porsche 911 GT4. The Italians beat the #94 PROsport Performance Porsche of Carsten Struwe and Alessandro Giovanelli, Ghezzi’s team mate in 2016. Autorlando Sport’s Dario Cerati and Maurizio Fondi completed the GT4 AM podium.
Nicolaj Møller-Madsen and Jörg Viebahn gave PROsport Performance its first victory of the season in the second GT4 European Series Northern Cup race at Misano World Circuit Marco Simoncelli. The #91 Porsche Cayman CS MR GT4 took the lead on the final lap of the race, as the #64 RYS Team InterNetX KTM X-Bow GT4 was disqualified for passing the safety car.
Jörg Viebahn started the second race of the weekend from fourth on the grid and moved up into second place on the first lap, behind team mate Alessio Picariello. However, he was unable to keep Academy Motorsport driver William Moore and RYS Team Kiska’s Jonathan Cecotto behind him and soon William Moore was fighting with Alessio Picariello for the lead of the race.
The #92 PROsport Performance Porsche Clubsport could keep the #62 Academy Motorsport Aston Martin Vantage GT4 behind until the pit stops. Alessio Picariello was the last of the frontrunners to make his mandatory stop and team mate Kevin Rossel returned to the track with a small lead over the #64 RYS Team InterNetX KTM X-Bow GT4 of Jamie Vandenbalck.
Five minutes after the pit window closed Jamie Vandenbalck found a way past Kevin Rossel, who lost another position to Academy Motorsport’s Matt Nicoll-Jones not much later. Nicolaj Møller-Madsen was closing in rapidly and with just over 11 minutes remaining he passed Kevin Rossel to take third place.
A collision between Matt Nicoll-Jones and Scuderia Villorba Corse driver Manuela Gostner prompted a safety car and handed Nicolaj Møller-Madsen second place. Race leader Jamie Vandenbalck had to line up behind the safety car, but the young Belgian overtook the safety car and was shown the black flag.
With one lap remaining the race was resumed and Nicolaj Møller-Madsen took the lead, followed by team mate Kevin Rossel in second and Ricardo van der Ende in the #8 Ekris Motorsport Ekris M4 GT4 in third. RN Vision STS driver Pavel Lefterov tried to pass Van der Ende on the last lap, but the Dutchman kept his Ekris in front of the Porsche to claim the team’s second podium finish of the weekend.
In GT4 AM Wolfgang Riesch and Peter Ebner handed HP Racing its first ever GT4 European Series victory. The #88 Porsche Cayman CS MR GT4 finished 55.384s clear of the #75 Autorlando Sport Porsche 911 GT4 of Dario Cerati and Maurizio Fondi, with Antoni and Piotr Chodzen taking third place on the final lap with their #50 Scuderia Villorba Corse Maserati GranTurismo MC GT4.