First Top-10 in Italian GT for Vicky Piria and Francesca Linossi
The streak of bad luck was finally broken and Vicky Piria and Francesca Linossi could complete their first Italian GT race within the top-ten in GT Cup, as they finished seventh in class after a Safety Car-disrupted second race at Misano.
They almost had it in the bag on Saturday and they finally made it on Sunday: Vicky Piria and Francesca Linossi claimed their first top-10 in Italian GT, after another hectic race at Misano World Circuit.
The two fast ladies just needed a break from an unlucky streak that started in Monza, when Piria made her GT racing debut: a slow pit stop in Race 1 and a heavy accident - that fortunately had no consequences for the driver - in Race 2 meant that the Tsunami RT duo could not capitalize on their pace at the season opener - but they were back with a bang in Misano.
The famous racetrack close to the Adriatic sea has historically been familiar territory for Piria, who also secured her best result of her W Series career at her home race in 2019.
While still getting to grips with some peculiarities of GT racing, the experience of 2021 class champion Francesca Linossi has helped the team to make a big step forward, as both drivers were now running on very similar lap times.
Starting from P11 in race 1, Piria handed over the #301 Porsche 991 GT3 Cup car to Linossi half-way through the race in sixth place - but with ten minutes left on the clock a technical failure meant another DNF for the Tsunami crew.
“We were running well, after Vicky’s stint we were sixth, but the car got worse lap after lap” – Francesca Linossi told us on Saturday evening.
“We were P6 after everyone had pitted which really would have been a good result”, Vicky Piria echoed. “We had a few fast cars behind, but nothing that Francesca couldn’t have handled. Then she started to feel some issues at the rear of the car and something in the axle broke.”
“I am still happy about this race, because I needed to finish a stint well and then I endured the heat today in a GT car, which is really tough. So I’m happy about my performance personally and it’s encouraging because as a crew we can really do well. We just need a bit of luck.”
The issue was ultimately found and the gearbox changed overnight; Linossi was ready to take the start from P5 in class on Sunday.
In another scorching hot day at Misano, there was drama even before the race started, as polesitter Alberto Maria Di Folco (#6 Imperiale Racing Lamborghini) came to a halt during the formation lap and left a clear way on front row to Riccardo Agostini (#3 Easy Race Ferrari).
A perfect start from Agostini meant that the #3 black Ferrari led Di Amato and Klingmann into Turn 1. Linossi was stuck in the midfield traffic and lost a few places, completing the first lap in P9 in GT Cup.
The race was on hold soon after, as the Safety Car was deployed on Lap 2 when the #398 Autorlando Porsche of Macripò was off at speed into the barrier at Curvone.
Poppy (#302 AB Motorsport Porsche) led GT Cup, ahead of Pieri, Coluccio and Tabacchi.
Action resumed with 32 minutes to go - but it was soon back behind the pace car as Alessandri was sent airborne after contact with Lo Canto: the Fulgenzi Racing Porsche barrel rolled several times before landing on its roof at Turn 2, but the driver was quickly out under his own power.
The lengthy interruption was then followed by yet another big crash as soon as the race went back to green: Lo Canto tagged the Porsche of Race 1 winner Pieri, sending him across the grass and into the barriers.
This meant that most of the first half of the race was actually run behind the Safety Car - but Francesca Linossi was still able to gain back a few places and place the #301 leopard-pattern liveried Porsche in seventh place in class.
As the race restarted with 25 minutes to go, the pit window had opened and the first drivers came in for the driver change.
Linossi battled hard with the Bonaldi Motorsport's Lamborghini of Andres Mendez, before entering the pits with 17 minutes on the clock. Vicky Piria got behind the wheel and rejoined in P7.
Meanwhile, Coluccio had retaken the GT Cup lead, but was chased by Berton after both passed Poppy.
The overall fight for the lead was also on fire: Daniel Vebster took over from Giacomo Agostini and retained the lead, but was under immense pressure from the Scuderia Baldini Ferrari driven by Nelson Panciatici - with the #55 Nova Race Honda NSX of Guidetti also closing in quickly.
Panciatici intensified the pressure and Vebster almost crashed into the back of the GT Cup Porsche of Amaduzzi - giving an opportunity that was quickly grabbed by Jacopo Guidetti, who took the overall lead at Turn 8. Timo Glock was also on the move and passed the #99 Nova Race Honda of Greco, before hunting down Vebster who was now struggling with tyre deg.
Guidetti/Moncini took victory by under half a second margin over Panciatici and Glock, after some very tense final laps. Galbiati/Meijer preceded Vebster/Agostini and Urcera/Di Amato.
The GT Cup class was just as exciting: Tsunami RT's Lorenzo Bontempellli found himself in the lead after the round of pit stops, but could not hold off Vito Postiglione in the Ebimotors Porsche with 3 minutes to go.
Vicky Piria had to battle with Pegoraro and Gattuso but had a very solid stint and kept P7 in the GT Cup ProAm category until the chequered flag.
"I lost a bit at the start, unfortunately I found myself stuck behind some cars at Turn 2, which is typical of Misano", Linossi explained. "However I had good pace and I could have passed some cars in front but I did all my stint behind Safety Car - I think I did three laps under green. I didn't have much running time today, but Vicky was really strong in the second half of the race."
Linossi/Piria now sit 12th in the GT Cup ProAm standings, having collected 7 more points at Misano.
"Today was good - it's great to finally finish the race", said Vicky Piria. "Francesca had lots of Safety Cars in her stint - which actually saved me a bit of tyres for my stint. She climbed back to P7 and I basically just kept position."
"I had two Lamborghinis ahead that were running more or less on my pace, but it wasn't enough for me to close that gap", she continued. "I just had to finish my race and bring it home, because I was lapping on the same pace as others."
"Overall I'm really happy because I had the opportunity to get some good laps, work on some driving techniques that I had to refine after qualifying, so it was almost a test for me - but it was really positive because times were good. Francesca and I were on the same lap times so I'm happy about that and there are all premises to do well. We are a strong crew and that makes me happy - and obviously I'll be even happier when we finish in the top-three."
Now the Italian GT Sprint series will have a big break in the calendar, as cars will hit the track at Autodromo Nazionale Enzo and Dino Ferrari in Imola on 1-4 September.
"For Imola, I just hope we get a bit more luck and we aim for the podium at the next one" - said Linossi.