What a difference a day makes. Yes, there were the usual skirmishes, but the second race at the Autodromo Nazionale di Monza was remarkably less eventful than the first one. At the start Gabriele Piana took the lead in the #2 Hofor Racing by Bonk Motorsport BMW, and would easily hold on to that first position until the mandatory driver change. Co-driver Michael Schrey finished the job in the second half of the race, eventually winning by a 7.777-second margin. A great first win in the GT4 European Series for the new BMW M4 GT4 G82.
Yesterday’s winners, the crew of the #3 Team Speedcar Audi, had no role to play in Sunday’s race. Robert Consani was hit by another car at the start, causing a puncture. The necessary wheel change meant the Audi dropped a lap, and shortly afterwards the car had to retire. It became a day to forget for Team Speedcar when Fabien Boeri in the #83 sister car – then in second position in Am – had to park the car in the grass shortly before the end.
The second overall and Silver podium position was claimed by the impressive #17 V8 Racing Chevrolet Camaro. Dante Rappange had opened up quite a gap in the first half of the race, and Kenny Herremans managed to fend off the late attacks of Berkay Besler in the #12 Borusan Otomotiv Motorsport BMW. With a second place in Race 1 and a third in Race 2, the Turkish squad could be happy with its performances during the opening weekend.
In Pro-Am, the #36 Code Racing Developments Alpine took a dominant win. Loic Villiger and Antoine Leclerc had crossed the line in first after the opening race as well, but a post-race penalty for causing a collision made them drop to ninth. The second race was incident-free, however, and at the finish Leclerc had quite a comfortable lead over the #42 Saintéloc Junior Team Audi, which had inherited the Saturday win. Third was the #16 NM Racing Mercedes-AMG, a great recovery after the issues of Saturday’s race.
The Am category was again won by the #10 AVR-Avvatar Porsche. In the opening stages Alban Varruti briefly lost the lead to the #83 Team Speedcar Audi, but after the driver change Julien Piguet delivered a strong stint, claiming the win from the #55 Autosport GP LS Group Performance Alpine and the #72 GPA Racing Aston Martin.
With the opening weekend of the 2023 GT4 European Series now done and dusted, lessons will have to be learned and trophies to be polished. Circuit Paul Ricard will host the second round of the championship, during the first weekend of June (3-4).