The Solaris Motorsport Vantage GT3 showed a great potential since the two free practice sessions, in which it finished second and third to open the weekend in Imola. Good news came also from qualifying: Francesco Sini posted the third fastest time for Race 1, just .06 seconds from the first row, and Max Mugelli, slowed by traffic on track, was in fourth row for the start in Race 2.
The start of the first race saw Sini conquer the second position early on, just behind Bortolotti’s Lamborghini and the battle at the top for the first part of the race. After the the stop for the drivers change, Mugelli came back on track in third position and he was able to keep it until two laps to go when, slowed by a lapped car and with some brake issues, he was forced to leave the podium to Albuquerque’s Audi, finishing fourth under the checkered flag. After the race, following the disqualification of the #32 Lamborghini in P2 due a technical infraction, Sini-Mugelli stepped up to P3, giving Aston Martin the first podium of the season in the Italian GT Championship.
There were a lot of expectations for an interesting Race 2, but the heavy rain and some decisions taken by Race Direction didn’t allow the Solaris duo to express all their potential. The race started under safety car due to the prohibitive track conditions and was kept under yellow until the opening of the pit stop window. The Vantage GT3 was the first car to enter the pits, aiming at an aggressive race strategy, but the red flag came when not all the cars had pitted stopping the Sini-Mugelli comeback. The Solaris Vantage was among the fastest cars on track in sixth position when the race ended after 7 out of 11laps behind the Safety Car.
“I’m torn, the Francesco Sini Team Manager could consider this weekend substantially positive, but the Francesco Sini driver wouldn’t agree.” said after the races Francesco Sini “We conquered the first podium of the season, we are just at the second round and so we are happy about it. We also survived the crazy Sunday Race 2 without damages and we brought home some points. If I think about what happened in the Saturday post race, about the position lost in Race 1 due a lapped Porsche and the way the Race Direction managed Race 2, well, as a driver I’m a little bit disappointed.” continued Sini. “The positive thing is being aware that we have a very good car, which allows us to fight at the top on dry and on wet. I was competitive in qualifying and during the race. Now we are focused on Misano, where we want to keep our momentum, hoping in an honest and correct competition between all the drivers and the teams.”
“I’m satisfied about the podium gained in Race 1. It was a positive weekend for us and in Race 1 we demonstrated we can be as competitive as the best rivals. Maybe we expected to be faster in race conditions, but a brake failure slowed our pace. The team did a great job, Francesco is very competitive and he can take the maximum advantage of the characteristics of our Aston Martin and this makes me very confident about the next races” commented Max Mugelli, very disappointed about the way the Race Control managed the Sunday Race. “In Race 2 the only protagonist was the rain. When we were behind the safety car, it was very difficult to manage the car on track, you risked aquaplaning everywhere on the circuit. Probably there weren’t the right safety conditions to race and we should have postponed the start. Also the red flag was waved in a bad moment, with some drivers classified despite they were retired or didn’t pit yet.”
“It was a complicated weekend, difficult to decipher, but, by the way, we showed what we can do. The races were spoiled by extra race factors and I hope Imola was just a unfortunate and unlucky race weekend. When all of us race in the same conditions, we are able to give to the fans an incredible show. Anyway, I’m satisfied because performances are giving us reason, of course we need to improve and grow up more, but we are on the right way.” said Roberto Sini, Solaris Motorsport Team Principal
The Italian GT Championship will come back on track in two weeks, in the 11th and 12th of June weekend with two exciting races at Misano World Circuit.
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