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GT World Challenge Europe

Monza Post-Race Notebook

Sportscar365’s post-race news and notes from the GTWC Europe 3 Hours of Monza…

Photo: Dirk Bogaerts/SRO

***Although its Monza victories came two years apart, Dinamic Motorsport became the first team to win on consecutive GTWC Europe Endurance Cup visits to the same circuit since Marc VDS triumphed at Silverstone in 2011 and 2012 with BMW Z4 GT3s.

***Dinamic has joined HTP Motorsport as a triple Endurance Cup race winner (Monza 2019, Nürburgring 2020, Monza 2021). When asked for his reaction to the organization’s second Monza victory, team manager Alessandro Antonelli gave a brief yet effective response: “This is our territory”.

***Runner-up Jules Gounon reckoned AKKA-ASP would have been in a better position to win had the timing of its Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo’s final pit stop been different: “We were unlucky in the last one because the FCY came one lap after our pit and if we had pitted under FCY we would have been P1,” Gounon told Sportscar365.

***Despite missing out on the win, Gounon enjoyed his first race event as a Mercedes-AMG factory driver alongside Daniel Juncadella and Raffaele Marciello. The Frenchman set a new series lap record of 1:46.442 in qualifying on Sunday morning.

***The fastest lap of the race was set by Iron Lynx Ferrari driver Antonio Fuoco. The Italian posted a 1:48.332 whilst chasing Ricardo Feller for third in the final stint.

***The race produced four safety cars and five Full Course Yellows in total. The spare FCY was a quick one at the end of the first hour to clear debris from the exit of Variante Ascari, after a puncture for Martin Tomczyk’s Walkenhorst Motorsport BMW M6 GT3.

***Punctures were a major factor in the race and impacted the results of several high-profile Pro cars from the likes of Walkenhorst, Haupt Racing Team and WRT.

***WRT director Vincent Vosse, who was following the race from Barcelona straight after his team’s European Le Mans Series victory, wants analysis into how so many wet tires picked up pictures during the second-hour drying phase. “Our top car was stopped by a tire issue that is not new and affected many other cars,” he said. “It’s a pity, because we lost a good result, many points and had quite some damage on the car. This tire problem absolutely needs to be addressed by the manufacturer.”

***HRT Mercedes-AMG driver Luca Stolz wasn’t certain on the source of his puncture, which took him out of the lead: “There was a lot of debris on-track and I tried to avoid it as well as I could,” Stolz told Sportscar365. “When I had the puncture the cars around me had lots of punctures, so not sure if it was stress or debris.”

***Pirelli racing manager Matteo Braga, who was not on-site at Monza, commented: “Getting the most out of the tires in these extreme conditions and making them work even outside the optimal window was particularly delicate today, but both the P Zero and Cinturato provided enough grip to overcome these challenges.”

***Several teams are understood to have been taken by surprise at the amount of rain that fell in the race, with many setting their cars up in anticipation of a fully dry event.

***AKKA-ASP’s Pro Mercedes was one of those cars and Gounon said he struggled with oversteer during the final stint battle when the track was still slippery in places. “We never thought about rain to be honest. We chose a very aggressive setup on the aero because we know that the top speed is not really a strong point of the Mercedes. So we ran with nearly no wing sitting on the back. In those conditions, it was really tricky.”

***Another factor thrown into the mix was a variation in track surface wetness in different areas. The first sector through Curva Grande was particularly wet, however the back section leading to Parabolica heavily favored the early adopters of slick tires.

***JOTA’s first race with its new McLaren 720s GT3 effectively ended before it could begin, as gearbox problems prevented the team from challenging. Ben Barnicoat said: “On the way to the grid we had an issue to the car. We just risked it to see if we could have a bit of luck and it might start working again in the race, but unfortunately on the way into the first corner when I was downshifting, we lost all drive to the gearbox and I just took to the gravel as a safety thing.”

***Dinamic’s victory ensured that Porsche 911 GT3 Rs won four different GT3 races in four countries this weekend after Manthey Racing (NLS, Nürburgring), TFT Racing (Michelin Le Mans Cup, Barcelona) and PC Okazaki (Super Taikyu, Sugo)

***The No. 56 Dinamic Porsche finished 10th in the hands of Romain Dumas, Mikkel O. Pedersen and Andrea Rizzoli. Dumas tweeted that he lost traction control and all the information on the car’s dash for his final stint.

***Madpanda Motorsport changed its Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo’s engine after qualifying due to a fault, forcing it to start from the pit lane. After initially challenging for a Silver podium, the team’s race ended with an electrical issue 50 minutes from the end.

***As many cars encountered punctures, Garage 59’s Pro-Am winning Aston Martin Vantage GT3 handled the drying track well, according to team principal Andrew Kirkaldy. “We were relatively fortunate in that the car is not overly hard on the wets,” he told Sportscar365. “And it started raining again a little bit, which kept the tire alive.”

***Kirkaldy said that Garage 59 split the strategies of its Silver and Pro-Am cars, with the former going onto slicks “about an hour” earlier than its teammate. According to Kirkaldy, this “helped us to know where we were” for the second half of the race.

***GPX Racing’s new era with ART Grand Prix support and Martini backing endured a rocky start after two left-rear punctures caused damage that halted its Porsche’s race.

***GPX must modify its Martini livery for the Paul Ricard 1000km, in accordance with French alcohol marketing rules. The team will temporarily erase the red part of its design and the Martini branding on its car, equipment and team kit. It resembles Williams taking alternative measures for its trips to Grand Prix locations with strict alcohol laws.

***Fanatec GT World Challenge Asia powered by AWS is “on hold until we can run”, according to SRO founder and CEO Stephane Ratel. Travel restrictions between East Asian countries have blocked inter-regional motorsport there for more than a year.

***Ratel plans to contest more Fanatec GT2 European Series races after enjoying this weekend’s inaugural round where he took a podium with his own Audi R8 LMS GT2 in his first race since 2015. However, he admitted that the first GTWC Europe meeting of the year was a busy one to also compete in. GT Sports Club, which includes GT2 Europe, has a standalone fixture at Hockenheim next.

***Paddock chatter suggests that a slightly expanded grid of 15 to 16 cars could enter the Hockenheim GT2 races. A dozen cars were at Monza, from four homologated brands.

***The next Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS round is the Sprint Cup season-opener at Magny-Cours on May 7-9. The next Endurance Cup race is the Paul Ricard 1000km on May 28-30.

Daniel Lloyd is a UK-based reporter for Sportscar365, covering the FIA World Endurance Championship, Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS and the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, among other series.

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