Italian GT: Francesca Linossi wins Mugello race 1, Schreiner recovers after first lap contact
Francesca Linossi closed in on the Italian GT Sprint series title with a stunning victory in Mugello on Saturday, as Carrie Schreiner recovered from a difficult qualifying and a first lap contact to finish ninth overall and fourth in GT3 ProAm.
On a overcast, cold and windy weekend at Autodromo del Mugello, on the scenic Tuscan hills, the Italian GT championship is hosting the fourth and final round of the Sprint series. The format differs from the Endurance series – which also features four rounds on some of Italian most popular racetracks – by contesting two 50-minute races per race meeting, with driver change, rather than a 3-hour race.
Among the huge 42-car field, German GT3 star Carrie Schreiner – previously a popular figure in the ADAC GT Masters paddock and this year also racing in the German-based GTC-Race and in the BMW M2 Cup as a support series of DTM in a guest entry – joined Ferrari powerhouse AF Corse alongside former series champion Sean Hudspeth.
While Schreiner enters both the Italian GT championships, 2019 Endurance series champion Francesca Linossi switched to the Sprint format with the Easy Race Ferrari 488 GT3 Cup in the GT Cup class.
Schreiner's latest appearance in the AF Corse Ferrari saw the young German lady stepping on the top step of the podium in class and on the overall podium as well in the Vallelunga endurance round. She sits sixth in the GT3 Pro-Am standings.
In her latest entry in the series, Linossi was also victorious at Imola, moving the Italian driver – who shares the Easy Race Ferrari with GT3 rookie Daniel Vebster – to the top of the class standings.
Linossi had in fact taken class wins at Monza and Imola, while had a more challenging weekend at Misano.
But, with such a short calendar, the title fight will be a closely fought one, with 3 crews and six drivers in one point.
On Saturday morning, the two qualifying sessions brought mixed feelings for the two drivers: Carrie Schreiner went in for Q1 and was P17 overall, eighth among the GT3 ProAm field. In Q2, though, the returning Sean Hudspeth – who was forced to miss a few rounds due to an ankle injury – unfortunately went out and crashed the #8 AF Corse Ferrari.
“Qualifying was a little bit difficult because it’s really a short driving time here, so it's a bit of a problem to get into the rhythm.” – she told us. “I qualified 17th and unfortunately Sean had the crash in Quali 2.”
Francesca Linossi, on the other hand, was more confident about the races. Her teammate and co-driver Daniel Vebster was sixth in class in Q1, in a red-flagged session. Behind the wheel of the #355 Easy Race Ferrari, Francesca was second in class in Q2.
“Qualifying went really good – I was P2 and my teammate was sixth in class.” – commented Linossi. “We had different strategies and he was on used tyres. It was a bit of a shame for the red flag because he was on a really good lap time and we were a bit unlucky.”
“Most importantly, I think we can really fight for the championship and we hope to do well both on Saturday and Sunday, as the most important thing is to finish”.
When the race went underway in the afternoon, the action was soon interrupted by a lengthy red flag following a massive shunt by the Lamborghini of Mateo Llarena, who had spun at Luco corner and was collected by the incoming pack at high speed.
Four cars were out as a consequence of the accident and Schreiner, who had taken the start of the first stint, was hit by a BMW as she slowed down to avoid the damaged cars.
Daniel Vebster took evasive action and moved into third place in the GT Cup class.
Carrie was able to restart the race, albeit from P37.
After a few laps, Vebster moved into the lead in GT Cup and Schreiner continued to move up the field navigating through the different classes.
Mid-way through the race, Schreiner handed over to Sean Hudspeth, who continued to recover positions, especially after many teams were handed penalties for irregular driver changes.
Francesca Linossi got behind the wheel of the #355 Easy Race Ferrari GT3 Cup and was among the star of the race: with blistering pace, her leadership was never under threat and went on to take class victory and extending her championship lead – also thanks to a difficult race by her closest rivals.
“Our race was way better than expected, since we started from sixth on the grid” – said Francesca Linossi. “After all the mess amidst Safety Cars and red flags we still claimed an important victory for the championship”
“Now we have to wait and see today. We have a good margin now but with the dropped results rule we have something like 14 points of advantage”, she explained, as teams can drop one result from the points table.
“We just have to do our best and manage today.”
Hudspeth moved up to ninth overall and fourth in GT3 ProAm, in a positive first race for the Singaporean driver and Carrie Schreiner after a difficult qualifying and the contact at the start of the race.
“The race turned out to be quite good.” – said Schreiner. “We went from 17th to ninth – of course we were also a bit lucky, but it was okay in the end!”
In the overall standings, there was drama for the victory when Alex Frassineti and Luca Ghiotto took a last minute win, but were handed a 5 second penalty for a Safety Car restart that demoted them to second and promoting Audi Sport Italia’s Daniel Mancinelli and Vito Postiglione to the top step of the podium.