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  • Writer's pictureRACERS

Vicky Piria shines amid unpredictable weather at Swiss Porsche Sprint Challenge debut in Imola

On her first racing outing of the year, Vicky Piria showcased her pace in dry and wet weather in the Swiss Porsche Sprint Challenge at Imola, overcoming a tyre gamble in Race 1 to finish sixth, and dominating Race 2 from start to finish to secure her first victory in the championship.

Vicky Piria, Enrico Fulgenzi Racing, Porsche 992 GT3 Cup, Porsche Sprint Challenge Suisse, 2024 Imola
Photo credits: EF Racing

The Swiss Porsche Sprint Challenge weekend at Autodromo Enzo and Dino Ferrari in Imola was marked by unpredictable weather, making it a true test of skill and strategy for all drivers. Among the competitors, Vicky Piria stood out with her remarkable performance in both qualifying and races, showcasing her expertise on the Imola circuit.

Piria, in fact, made a return behind the wheel of a GT race car as the Italian racer made an appearance in the Porsche Swiss series, contesting the third round at Imola in the Open GT category.

Coming off two seasons in the all-female single seater championship W Series, Piria made the switch to GT competitions in 2022, as she competed for the first time in Italian GT at the wheel of a Porsche 991 GT3 Cup car in the GT-Cup class. Her development season saw plenty of improvements, with a maiden podium at the season finale in Mugello.

Vicky returned to the Italian GT championship in 2023 – stepping up to the endurance series. More progress was made and, in a new partnership with Enrico Fulgenzi Racing at the wheel of the new Porsche 992 GT3 Cup car; Vicky would take her first race wins in the GT Cup ProAm class and was ultimately second in the drivers standings, equal on points with the class champions.

A major development in her career marked the start of the 2024 season: Piria in fact joined the Italian SKY Sport broadcast team as a F1 presenter. Despite her new commitment, she was committed to continue her racing programs – even adding the new E1 Series, an electric boat championship launched by Alejandro Agag, to her already rich resumé.

Piria's first racing weekend on four wheels, however, would be on more familiar ground: the Imola circuit, hosting the third round of the Porsche Sprint Challenge Suisse.

The series has a proven record as a platform for up-and-coming and experienced sports car drivers alike; across its GT3, Open GT and GT4 categories, the entry lists included several quality competitors at the 4,909m Emilia Romagna circuit.

Driving the #200 Porsche 992 operated by Enrico Fulgenzi Racing, Piria's weekend started with the pre-event test on Friday, where she had four sessions available to re-familiarize with the car. Vicky was consistently in the top five, making big improvements throughout the day.

The lap times continued to drop in the second day of official practice on Saturday: Piria further climbed the order and was third fastest in two out of the four sessions, clocking a personal best of 1:45.391 in the final run.

With weather conditions changing dramatically on Sunday morning, though, she would have to start all from scratch just ahead of qualifying.

The qualifying session was in fact held under wet conditions, but Vicky Piria excelled: she delivered an impressive 1:59.538 lap, securing the second position in class for Race 1, only behind Porsche Cup Brazil protagonist Marcelo Tomasoni. Her prowess continued in the second-best lap classification that set the grid for the second sprint race Q2, where she would start from third in class with a 2:01.233 lap. These results set a strong foundation for what would become an eventful yet successful weekend.

Race 1 began under uncertain skies, with many teams, including Piria's, opting for rain tyres due to the wet track. However, as the weather began to clear, it became apparent that slick tyres would be more advantageous.

During a safety car period, EF Racing team made the strategic call to switch her to slicks. Unfortunately, a problem with the wheel gun caused a delay in the pit stop, preventing her from rejoining the pack before the safety car pulled off.

Despite the setback, Piria's speed on the slick tyres shone through: she mounted an impressive comeback, steadily climbing up the ranks. Her pace was relentless, and she managed to secure sixth place. The race was prematurely ended by a red flag, denying her of the opportunity to potentially finish in second place, a position well within her grasp given her speed in the closing stages of the race.

Race 2 provided a stark contrast to the previous contest earlier in the day, with dry conditions allowing all drivers to start on slick tyres. Starting from third on the grid in her class, Piria made a fantastic start, immediately overtaking pole sitter Tomasoni. Once in the lead, she maintained an unmatchable pace, consistently lapping at 1:46.5 throughout the race. Her flawless drive saw her lead every lap, ultimately crossing the finish line first.

This victory marked another significant milestone for Vicky Piria, as she reached the top step of the podium in her very first appearance in the Swiss Porsche Sprint Challenge championship and in a solo drive that allowed her to maximize track time.

Her performance over the weekend highlighted her ability to adapt to changing conditions and underscored her talent in sports car racing, as she will be aiming for new outings despite her busy schedule.

Vicky Piria, Enrico Fulgenzi Racing, Porsche 992 GT3 Cup, Porsche Sprint Challenge Suisse, 2024 Imola
Photo credits: DNA Photographers

Additional reporting: Davide Persiani



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