The good weekend of the #22 Solaris Motorsport Corvette started from the FP1, where the american coupè signed the fifth time, just 4 tenths far from the top. After an useful FP2 in which the team tested the car in some long runs, the intermediates of the qualifying put Puglisi easily in the Top 8, but twice the red flag stopped the Italian driver during his fast lap. So, at the end of the session with worn tyres, the #22 Corvette was only 11th for the Saturday Race grid. Francesco Sini has brought back the smiles into the team during the second qualifying session, where he was able to catch a great 5th time for the Sunday race.
Puglisi had a good start in the Saturday race, he was fighting for a good position in the Top 10 improving his pace lap by lap. His comeback dream was stopped on lap 5, when in Tamburello chicane the back of the Corvette was hit strongly by the Mercedes of Aidan Wright, arrived too fast at the brake point. Puglisi was forced to pass in the gravel and to retire some turns after, when a blown tyre – damaged in the contact – stopped the Z06R outside of the Acque Minerali bend.
Race 2 saw another great start for the Solaris Motorsport Corvette and Sini was able to keep in fifth position, trying to catch the podium. Unfortunately, once again a tyre puncture – probably due to a debris on track – stopped the dreams of glory of the Italian team. In a weird fate, again on lap 5 a blown tyre slowed the Corvette, forcing Sini to recover in the pits on the three wheels and change the damaged tyre. The American coupè came back on track lapped in 36th position and with a race totally to rebuild. Sini and Puglisi, entered during the mandatory pit stop, didn’t give up and they started a huge comeback, that brought the Corvette in the 22th position under the checkered flag.
“We had all the bad luck we could have this weekend, we hope to be par with the faith now! The expected results didn’t arrive, but the Corvette showed a great potential also in a curvy track like Imola.” commented Francesco Sini. He try to be optimistic: “I’m happy about Marcello, he found a great with feeling with the team and he was competitive early. He was the good surprise of the weekend!” Sini had also a though for his team, forced to work until Sunday late night to repair the Corvette damaged during Race 1: “The guys showed again their big hearth, working on the car with great professionality. I’d have liked to thank them with a good race result, but it wasn’t properly our weekend!”
On his debut on the Corvette GT3, also Marcello Puglisi had to split his thoughts between the satisfaction for the the good performances and the disappointment for the race events that slowed the Solaris Motorsport Z06R: “I’m definitely happy about the team, all my previous impressions were confirmed! It’s a great team and the showed it on Saturday night when they worked a lot on the car to give to me and Francesco again a competitive car! Amazing! – said the Trescore Balneario native driver – Unfortunately, we suffered bad luck all weekend long: I had two red flags during my both fast laps in qualifying…what i could do? During the race, I was hit without guilt. In qualifying session I could set a lap very close to the Francesco’s one and gain a position in the Top 8, but I had to sign my fastest lap with worn tyres and I lost the fourth row for few tenths. When we were out of trouble, anyway, we showed we can be competitive and so I’m confident for the next race. In Imola we gained experience and kilometers, now I want to put all in practice in Mugello!”
Roberto Sini, Solaris Motorsport Team Principal, is optimistic: “As English people are used to say, that’s racing! The most important thing is to have shown we can be competitive also in curvy track like this. Marcello was really good, he took few time to bring confidence with the Corvette and we has able to set good times early. He had quickly a good feeling with the team, the Corvette and…Francesco! On his side, Francesco gave the maximum, we could point on the podium in Race 2 but we suffered a puncture. By the way, this weekend gave us the awareness to be back on top and in Mugello we want to try to reach great results.”
Next round of the Italian GT Championship is scheduled in Mugello on July, the 11th and 12th, It’s an high speed track and he could be a circuit in favour to the American Coupè of the Solaris Motorsport.