RYS Team Kiska KTM drivers Lennart Marioneck and Jonathan Cecotto broke through for their first GT4 European Series Northern Cup victory in a thrilling opening race of the season at the Misano World Circuit Marco Simoncelli on Saturday evening.
The #34 KTM X-Bow GT4 started from fifth on the grid, but by lap eight was already into third place behind the #62 Academy Motorsport Aston Martin Vantage GT4 of Matt Nicoll-Jones and the #112 RN Vision STS Porsche Cayman CS MR GT4 of Pavel Lefterov.
Pole-sitter Duncan Braams was taken out of the race shortly after the start. The #9 Las Moras Racing McLaren 570S GT4 was twice on the opening lap, causing it to retire with damage before completing a single lap. Defending GT4 European Series champion Jörg Viebahn’s team mate Nicolaj Møller-Madsen was another victim on the first lap. The safety car was deployed on the opening lap.
After seven minutes the race was restarted and Pavel Lefterov and Matt Nicoll-Jones started to fight each other for the race lead. On lap eight the British driver moved into the lead, but four laps later the Bulgarian overtook his rival again to retake the lead. Behind them, Jonathan Cecotto closed in rapidly, while six others were fighting for the fourth place held by Bullitt Racing’s Andy Meyrick.
Matt Nicoll-Jones was the first of the leaders to come into the pits for the mandatory pit stop, with Pavel Lefterov only coming in at the very end of the pit window. However, his team mate John-Louis Jasper was unable to stay in the lead and one lap later, on lap 19, RYS Team Kiska driver Lennart Marioneck had taken the lead.
Lennart Marioneck made no mistake and pulled away from William Moore in the #62 Academy Motorsport Aston Martin Vantage GT4 and Alessio Picariello in the #92 PROsport Performance Porsche Clubsport. Behind the top three Ekris Motorsport driver Max Koebolt began to close in on the RN Vision STS Porsche.
A daring move with just minutes left on the clock meant Alessandro Picariello took second place from William Moore, but seconds later the Belgian PROsport Performance driver was given a drive-through penalty for improving under yellow. John-Louis Jasper also received a drive-through for disrespecting the track limits, but this penalty was converted into a 40-second time penalty.
After 32 laps Reiter Young Stars driver Lennart Marioneck crossed the line to take victory for RYS Team Kiska. Marioneck finished 9.067s ahead of Academy Motorsport’s William Moore, with Max Koebolt taking third place in his Ekris M4 GT4, finishing 17.069s behind the race winning KTM X-Bow GT4.
In GT4 Am Giuseppe Ghezzi and Manuele Mengozzi claimed victory in the #76 Autorlando Sport Porsche 911 GT4. The Italians beat the #94 PROsport Performance Porsche of Carsten Struwe and Alessandro Giovanelli, Ghezzi’s team mate in 2016. Autorlando Sport’s Dario Cerati and Maurizio Fondi completed the GT4 AM podium.
Results remain provisional pending technical examination and decisions from the stewards.
Jonathan Cecotto (#34 RYS Team Kiska KTM X-Bow GT4): “I started in fifth position and at the beginning I lost a lot of positions because other cars were faster on the straights. I was able to recover one position at a time and my lap times were good. We just put it all together and brought home the win.”
Lennart Marioneck (#34 RYS Team Kiska KTM X-Bow GT4): “Johnny did an awesome job in the first stop and I think the pit stop was also quite good, since I only had to overtake one more car to get into the lead. I am very happy and pleased to be in P1.”
Giuseppe Ghezzi (#76 Autorlando Sport Porsche 911 GT4): “It was a great race from the beginning. The car was great and I have to say thanks to the team. Our objective for tomorrow is to do the same.”
Manuele Mengozzi (#76 Autorlando Sport Porsche 911 GT4): “It was a passionate race. For me as a gentleman driver to drive here and race these professionals was an honor.”
Source. SRO Motorsports Group