The win that Nova Race posted in Monza yesterday in the Italian Gran Turismo Endurance Championship opener stemmed from strategy and experience: Luca Magnoni and Aleksander Schjerpen had had good grades on Saturday sealing off Qualifying boasting the second fastest GT4 time. However, as Sunday approached, concerns prevailed that the sheer power and slickness of the opponents would have made it difficult even to step on the class podium for the Italian-Norwegian pair. As it is, the Varese, Italy-based team was able to seize the opportunities triggered by the weather vagaries, as drizzle started just as the GT cars were reaching the grid. The Italian crew knows by heart the best qualities of the battle-hardened Ginetta G55, and this allowed the #208 car pit wall to make the right bets whenever uncertainty reigned.
As the safety car that bunched up the field in the early minutes of the race left the track, Magnoni took the GT4 class lead and kept the position in the light rain that welcomed the first 30 minutes. At that point the challenge for the victory in the category reserved to sportscars (as close to street-legal as they go) seemed bound to be a tussle between the British-built Ginetta and two Maseratis, the only cars that did not pit in the middle of the first hour to fit slick tires. A pick that proved the race breakthrough: in the second half of the first hour rain picked up. This enabled Magnoni to “hand the car keys” to team mate Schjerpen as GT4 leader. The Norwegian, making his debut both in the Italian Championship and with Nova Race, did not put a wheel wrong during his stint, and as the white Ginetta proved to be its usual resilient self, he wound up as a rather lonely leader: the Italian cars were encountering troubles, instead. Therefore, when Schjerpen returned to the pit lane as two hours expired, the Ginetta was edging the best Porsche and the BMW that had set the GT4 fastest time on Saturday. The gap to fill was about a lap for runner up Paolo Ruberti and third placed Andrea Fontana. Such a cushion looked manageable up to the checkered flag: what Magnoni had to do throughout his second day stint was keeping cool and avoid any mistake that could put Ruberti and Fontana back into play, something that the Varese driver did unflappably taking the flag to win his home race.
LUCA MAGNONI :”Winning on home turf is a great statisfaction, especially taking into account that at this venue we started as underdogs. This time out it’s a double joy, because on top of an amazing outcome, this victory somehow is rewarding an hectic wintertime: the team moved from Reggio Emilia to its new Varese-based premises and moreover it took a lot of hard work to set things straight to finalize an interesting race programme. At long last, this season the Italian GT Championship seems to blossom and the GT4 is following suit, which makes us happy as the team is a proven pillar of this category”.
ALEKSANDER SCHJERPEN : “I am elated: I immediately clicked in with my new team, our collaboration has unfolded perfectly. They have a very professional way of taking motorsport, and none the less you can enjoy the atmosphere in the garage. If you add to the equation that in our first meeting together I posted my maiden Italian Gran Turismo win in such a rugged series, the less you can say is that it’s been a great way to kick it off”.
Source. Nova Race