April 19, 2021. Christian Engelhart, Matteo Cairoli and Klaus Bachler claimed a brilliant GT World Challenge Europe victory in tricky weather conditions on the opening round of the season at Monza. The Porsche trio applied a solid strategy throughout the wet and dry three-hour Endurance race to climb from 12th on the grid to victory – by just over three seconds from the AKKA ASP Mercedes-AMG of Jules Gounon, Dani Juncadella and Raffaele Marciello.

Nature plays its role

Warm temperatures on Saturday were replaced by dark clouds and the threat of rain on race day. Topping qualifying for the three-hour race was the FFF Racing Lamborghini of Andrea Caldarelli, Mirko Bortolotti and Marco Mapelli.

While the 42 cars started on the P Zero DHE slick, the Cinturato WH rain tyre was soon the only choice. The challenging conditions resulted in a number of incidents and accidents, putting debris on the track that caused some punctures as well.

Staying out of trouble was the Dinamic Motorsport Porsche, which climbed 11 places from its starting position to win from the AKKA ASP Mercedes.

Ricardo Feller, Alex Fontana and Rolf Ineichen won the Silver Cup class thanks to a remarkable third place finish overall in their Lamborghini, while Alexander West, Jonathan Adam and Chris Goodwin gave the Garage 59 Aston Martin the Pro-Am win.

Matteo Braga, Pirelli racing manager

“For everyone, starting the World Challenge Europe season at our home circuit of Monza is a great honour as this is always one of the most spectacular and exciting tracks in the world. This weekend, the weather made it an even bigger challenge than usual. Knowing when to stay on slick tyres and when to move to the wet tyres is a big decision, so congratulations to Dinamic Motorsport and Porsche, who made all the right calls to succeed. Getting the most out of the tyres in these extreme conditions and making them work even outside the optimal window was particularly delicate today, but both the P Zero and Cinturato provided enough grip to overcome these challenges.”

The big number

76: The cars that finished the race racked up 76 laps of the demanding Monza circuit, more than 20 than those covered in a normal Formula 1 race.

GT2 and GT4

Monza also hosted the opening rounds of the Pirelli-equipped GT2 European and GT4 European Series. The series held two 47-minute races over the course of the weekend, with star drivers including sportscar legend Hans-Joachim Stuck and SRO boss Stephane Ratel. The race wins were shared by two Audis, with High Class Racing’s Anders Fjordbach and Mark Patterson winning Race 1 and Peter Guelinckx and Bert Longin (PK Carsport) winning Race 2.

In GT4, Charlie Fagg and Bailey Voisin gave United Autosports a double victory in their McLaren 570S.

Published on: 19 April 2021, 12:31 CET