GT3 Europe: AF Corse Wins Another Wet Race

Just like yesterday the changing weather conditions played a big role in the FIA GT3 European Championship. Shortly after the GT3 cars had started the formation lap the rain started to come down and red flags were shown around the track. All cars returned to the grid, where the teams were given time to switch from slicks to wets. After a ten minute delay and a new formation lap the race was started.

The weather still surprised a couple of drivers. Into the first corner Ni Amorim and David Mengesdorf made the mistake of using the curbstones. Both drivers spun, but were lucky not to be hit or hit anything themselves. As the Lamborghini and Audi rejoined the race Michael Lyons spun his AF Corse Ferrari at turn 2. Lyons kept his car out of the barriers and also rejoined.

On lap 5 Giuseppe Cirò made a mistake, allowing Gregory Guilvert to take second place. He was unable to challenge his teammate Dino Lunardi though. Four laps later Guilvert made a mistake into turn 1 and he spun his Audi as well. Lunardi kept his cars between the white lines and after 30 minutes he was almost 14 seconds clear of Cirò’s Ferrari.

Just before the pit window closed Lunardi and Cirò pitted. The gap between the Audi and the Ferrari at the pit entrance was 10 seconds, but due to a longer minimum mandatory pit stop duration the Audi rejoined the race 27 seconds ahead of the Ferrari. AF Corse did however change from wets to slicks during their pit stop, while the Sainteloc Racing team hoped for more rain and decided to keep wets on their Audi’s.

On a drying track and on slicks Gaetano Ardagna Perez had no problems catching the Audi, now driven by Jerome Demay. On lap 25 the AF Corse Ferrari passed the Sainteloc Audi without a problem and at the finish line the gap between first and second had already gone up to just over seven seconds.

As Ardagna Perez pulled away at the front Dominik Baumann (Mercedes) and Hari Proczyk (Lamborghini) also managed to pass Demay. The gap between the leading Ferrari and the two cars behind was 20 seconds though and the Baumann and Proczyk were unable to close the gap in the remaining laps of the race.

A couple of minutes before the end of the race the rain returned to Zolder and the drivers were forced to slow down and to drive very cautious. Baumann did make a mistake however, which allowed Proczyk to move up into second position with just one minute remaining in the race.

After a very slow last lap Ardagna Perez crossed the line to take his second victory of the weekend. Proczyk finished in second position, 13 seconds behind the AF Corse Ferrari. Baumann was the third driver to cross the line, just over 26 seconds behind race winner Ardagna Perez.

The next round of the FIA GT3 European Championship will be held at the Navarra circuit at the end of next month.

(Image: Gerlach Delissen)