The AF Corse 488 GT3 Evo 2020, crewed by Andrea Bertolini and Louis Machiels, triumphed in the Pro-Am class in the first of three races in the last round of the GT World Challenge Europe Sprint Cup. The second Ferrari on track, driven by Chris Froggatt and Eddie Cheever III for Sky Tempesta Racing, finished fourth.
Turn of events. After the rain that fell during qualifying, dominated by the Ferrari of Sky Tempesta Racing, the race started on a dry track but with clear traces of wet outside the ideal trajectory in many parts of the circuit. Froggatt started from fifteenth and Machiels from nineteenth. The British driver opened the race well, gaining two positions but on lap 4, braking into turn 5, the championship leader spun off into the sand, provoking a Full Course Yellow. After the intervention of the rescue vehicles, the car returned to the track, albeit one lap behind the leaders. After this mistake by its rivals, the AF Corse crew had a fantastic opportunity to reopen the title battle. Machiels took the lead and held it until the driver change on lap 13, while Froggatt left the wheel to Eddie Cheever III three laps later.
Blazing finale. Bertolini used all his experience to skilfully fend off Baumann’s attempts to pass him in the Pro-Am class. However, with six minutes to go, a Full Course Yellow called to put out a fire in a Bentley stopped at the last chicane, zeroed the gap and gave the Mercedes one last chance as the race resumed with sixty seconds to go. The final lap was quite confusing and saw some contacts between the competitors. However, Bertolini was first under the chequered flag in the AF Corse Ferrari no. 52, ahead of Keen and Baumann. Cheever finished in fourth, one lap back, in the 488 GT3 Evo 2020 of Sky Tempest Racing.
The result, which is still sub-judice, brings Bertolini-Machiels to within twenty-one points of leaders Froggatt-Cheever.