Two Ferraris took podium finishes in the Pro-Am class in the first of this weekend’s three races in the GT World Challenge Europe Sprint Cup at the Romagna circuit. The 488 GT3 Evo 2020 of Chris Froggatt and Eddie Cheever III set the pace in the race held at sunset while AF Corse’s twin car, driven by Andrea Bertolini and Louis Machiels, fought back to finish third.
Contact. The cars set off with the sun low over the Misano Adriatico circuit, casting an evocative light along the 4,226-metre track but creating an extra difficulty for the drivers. The intense initial stages involved various contacts, with AF Corse’s 488 GT3 Evo 2020 one of the worst affected. It was driven at that point by poleman Louis Machiels who spun after a collision with the Mercedes of Axcil Jefferies. The Belgian driver, having slipped down the standings, immediately tried to close the gap. In the meantime, at the top of the Pro-Am class, Pierburg had to contend with a rampant Chris Froggatt who first passed him and then increased with race pace with a series of high-speed laps, gaining as much as a second per lap over his pursuers. Meanwhile, Machiels was determined to recover and, after a few laps, passed Mowle and then Hook to move into third.
Control. Thirty-three minutes from the chequered flag, the two Ferraris of Sky Tempesta Racing and AF Corse returned to the pits for tyre and driver changes. Eddie Cheever III and Andrea Bertolini then took over from Froggatt and Machiels, respectively, inheriting the positions held by their teammates. Cheever successfully defended the lead while Bertolini tried to pull up on Baumann, second in the Mercedes. Twenty minutes from the finish, a contact between the Mercedes of Hites – vice-champion of the Ferrari Challenge North America – and Owega’s Audi forced the race director to declare a Full Course Yellow, which was followed by the Safety Car to compact the group. Ten minutes later the race resumed, but the positions in the Pro-Am class stayed the same down to the chequered flag.
Triumph. Chris Froggatt and Eddie Cheever III claimed their first win of the season for Sky Tempesta Racing, accompanied on the podium by the AF Corse duo of Louis Machiels and Andrea Bertolini. They respectively finished twelfth and fourteenth overall.
Programme. Qualifying starts at 9 am on Sunday ahead of Race-2, which kicks off at 11:20 am and Race-3 at 3 pm.