Italian GT: Carrie Schreiner P7 in season opener, Linossi P4 in GTCup
Carrie Schreiner made her Italian GT debut in Monza, claiming a P7 overall and a third place in GT3 Pro-Am. 2019 endurance series champion Francesca Linossi was fourth in GT Cup, as a fully dry race is expected for the afternoon.
On Saturday, the weather remained ominous throughout the afternoon in Monza, forcing the race officials to red flag the first race of the 2021 Italian GT season after only 3 laps behind the Safety Car.
Jacopo Guidetti and Francesco De Luca held pole position in the very fast Nova Race Honda NSX, while Sean Hudspeth had brought the #8 AF Corse Ferrari 488 GT3 Evo to second place in the morning Q1.
Hudspeth, who is sharing the car with German racing star Carrie Schreiner, had topped both practice sessions on Friday – an encouraging sign for the young duo coming into their first Sprint race of the season.
2019 Italian GT champion in the endurance classify Francesca Linossi will be switching to the Sprint races in 2021, as she shares driving duties with young Swede Daniel Vebster in the Easy Race #355 Ferrari in the GT Cup class.
They qualified P4 and P3 after the mixed-weather qualifying sessions.
The sun had finally made its way onto the glorious Monza Park on Sunday morning, when the 34 cars lined up on the grid for the remaining 36 minutes of Race 1.
Nevertheless, heavy rain overnight left the track surface extremely tricky during the first laps.
At the rolling start, Sean Hudspeth had a slow getaway and dropped to fifth, while a really exciting battle for the lead went down to the famous Monza first chicane: Luca Filippi (RAM Autoracing Ferrari) was quick to seize the lead after a great start from the second row, advancing Fabrizio Crestani (Easy Race Ferrari) and Riccardo Agostini, who led the Audi Sport Italia duo.
The pole-sitting Honda NSX had a troubled start and dropped to eighth in the midst of the hectic first laps.
Hudspeth struggled to find the breaking point at Prima Variante and was forced to straightline the first corner in the first three laps. The damp track caught out also
Filippi, Agostini and Llarena, who all received penalties for track limits.
Schreiner’s teammate found himself P9 and had to recover through the field of GT3 cars.
Meanwhile, Vebster was P25 overall – eighth in GT Cup – in the #355 Ferrari 488 Challenge.
On lap 4, Crestani was attacked by Agostini for second place, but the driver of the #3 Ferrari held on with a defensive move at the second Lesmo. Former GP2 and Indycar racer Luca Filippi looked comfortable in the lead, but Crestani found a way past and fired into P1 one lap later.
Former pole-sitter Guidetti (Nova Race) was making up positions when he collided with the Mercedes of Baruch at the first chicane. The AKM Mercedes retired, while Guidetti picked up a front left damage. He would later be handed a drive through for causing the collision – which was served by his teammate De Luca.
When the pit window opened, the #12 Audi Sport Italia dived into the pitlane to perform its driver change. Crestani and Filippi stayed out, the latter being stuck in traffic in the vital moments just before the pit stop.
Both the #8 AF Corse and the #355 Easy Race crews extended their pit window and pitted with 16 minutes left – approximately half-way through the 36-minute race.
Vebster handed over to Linossi in P13 overall, fifth in GT Cup. The class was dominated by the #351 Bonaldi Motorsport Lamborghini Huracan, with Daan Pijl behind the wheel.
Carrie Schreiner got in the driving seat of the AF Corse Ferrari and rejoined P4.
The 21-year old German initially held on to fourth, but was then passed by Lorenzo Ferrari in the #12 Audi Sport Italia R8 with six minutes left on the clock.
After the round of pit stops, Matteo Greco led Alberto Lippi and Vito Postiglione.
Experienced GT driver Toni Vilander made his way up the order with a remarkable comeback after yesterday’s crash by Simon Mann.
Jonathan Cecotto and Luca Ghiotto – making his GT3 debut – found a way past Schreiner in the closing stages and battled for the podium, after Postiglione had clinched second from Lippi.
At the chequered flag, Matteo Greco secured victory for Easy Race, followed by Vito Postiglione (Audi Sport Italia) and Luca Ghiotto.
Schreiner was seventh overall, third in Pro-Am.
“Conditions were really difficult – we struggled in the beginning, both Sean in his stint and myself in my stint, just in the first two laps.” – she said.
“I think later will be dry, so we’re in for a better race”
Francesca Linossi was fourth in GT Cup, P13 overall after a solid race for the Italian driver.
“Today the race was quite good, conditions were difficult but we made the right decision to start on slicks – which made the first laps more critical.”
“My teammate was cautious and that was good, because the track was still wet. At the end it paid off, we were fourth in our class. It’s a good start as we look forward to race 2.” – said Francesca.
The second race of the Monza weekend will go green at 15:30 CEST.
Carrie Schreiner is set to take the start from P10, while Linossi will line up in P19, third place in GT Cup.