It was a lights-to-flag victory for Augusto Farfus and Lourenço Beirão da Veiga in the #51 Teo Martin BMW at Monza. While they were never far out of view for their competitors, the duo were firmly in control of the second International GT Open race of the weekend at Monza. Côme Ledogar (#24 Garage 59 McLaren) had a good start when the lights went out for 61 minutes of racing, but Farfus held the inside line and the lead on the run to the Variante del Rettifilio chicane.
While it is the first chicane that usually offers lap one drama, the start was relatively clean until a collision on the exit of Curva Grande. Martin Konrad (#74 MS Racing Mercedes), Andrea Fontana (#23 Imperiale Lamborghini) and Eduardo Liberati (#11 Ratón Racing Lamborghini) came together on the approach to the second chicane, sending Konrad into the Armco twice. Liberati and Konrad were both out on the spot, while Fontana limped back to the pits, only to retire the car.
Miraculously, the clean-up operation for this incident did not require a safety car.
For the entirety of the first stint, Farfus would lead Ledogar at the head of the pack, with Fran Rueda (#51 Teo Martin BMW) and Mikkel Mac (#488 Spirit of Race Ferrari) in third and fourth respectively.
Seb Morris gradually closed in on the top four during his stint in yesterday’s race-winning #39 Wessex Vehicles Lamborghini Gallardo R-EX, and began to challenge Mac for fourth as we approached the 25 minute mark and the opening of the pit window. While Morris looked quicker, he didn’t find a way by, and opted to pit early in the window, at the same time as Rueda.
Two laps later, Farfus handed the leading car over to Lourenço Beirão da Veiga. With no penalty seconds added to their pitstop time, the advantage was certainly in favour of the #51 Teo Martin entry, whose closest competition, the #88 Côme Ledogar McLaren, was a Pro/Am entry.
Sure enough, once Ledogar handed over the 650S GT3 to his teammate Alexander West, the Garage 59-entered machine started dropping down the overall order, as expected.
With the McLaren out of the overall podium picture, the pair of Teo Martin BMW’s headed the order, with Beirão da Veiga (#51) heading Victor Bouveng (#65). Despite Miguel Ramos’ (#488 Spirit of Race Ferrari) best efforts to close in on the pair of M6 GT3’s, the Spanish outfit flew home in formation to take a 1-2.
For Ramos, third place was uncertain until the very last turn thanks to a hard-charging Craig Dolby, who put on a brilliant performance to compensate for the penalty seconds accrued by the Wessex Vehicles Gallardo following their success the previous day.
Dolby systematically closed in on Ramos at the rate of a second per lap, before eventually making a move at Variante del Rettifilio on the penultimate time of asking. While the Gallardo driver had the inside line, he marginally out-braked himself, and had to bounce over the inside curbs. Ramos got back ahead, and while Dolby closed in once again on the final lap, Ramos held off the hard-charging Brit to take third overall, and in the Pro class.
Philipp Frommenwiler (#54 Emil Frey Lexus) took fifth over the #63 Imperiale Lamborghini of Marco Mapelli and Giovanni Venturini. For Frommenwiler and teammate Albert Costa, defeating championship leader Venturini could prove critical in their quest to take the championship.
Alexander West (#88 McLaren) took victory in Pro/Am, eight seconds clear of Garage 59 stablemate Duncan Tappy (#24 McLaren). Vitantonio Liuzzi rounded out the class podium in the #555 FFF Racing Team Lamborghini.
In AM, António Coimbra (#99 Sports & You Mercedes) put in a strong stint, catching Fu Songyang in the #5 SF Racing Ferrari, and making the move to take class honours.
With just five points between Giovanni Venturini – on 97 – and the Lexus duo of Fran Rueda and Albert Costa (92), it is all to play for heading into the final round of the championship at Catalunya October 28-29.
Photo courtesy of GT Open