Mario Cordoni completes perfect Monza weekend with Main Race victory, Stephen Earle collects Iron Cup win after scintillating drive

22 April 2018 Mario Cordoni completes perfect Monza weekend with Main Race victory, Stephen Earle collects Iron Cup win after scintillating drive

Mario Cordoni (#70 AF Corse Ferrari 488 GT3) was untouchable once again in the Blancpain GT Sports Club Main Race at Monza, as he completed a stylish double-victory, with Stephen Earle (#111 Kessel Racing Ferrari 488 GT3) producing a stunning drive from the pit lane to win in the Iron Cup class and finish fourth overall. 

Boutsen Ginion’s Karim Ojjeh (#2 BMW M6 GT3) fought back well to take second overall, with Coach McKansy (#17 HP Racing International Lamborghini Huracan GT3) equalling his best result in the Blancpain GT Sports Club to finish third.

In the Iron Cup, Stephen Earle produced one of the best drives of his career to take the class win, as Louis Philippe Soenen (#50 AF Corse Ferrari 488 GT3) followed the American home in second, with Klaus Dieter Frers (#3 Artega Rennsport), who also started from the pit lane, picking up third in his Ferrari 458 GT3.

Having taken a dominant victory in Saturday’s Qualifying Race, Mario Cordoni led the field away once again and held onto his advantage after the first chicane. Behind him, Karim Ojjeh dropped back from second to fifth at the start, as Edward Lewis Brauner (#991 Herberth Motorsport Porsche 991 GT3 R), Claude-Yves Gosselin (#4 Boutsen Ginion Lamborghini Gallardo Extenso RE-X) and Coach McKansy slotted in front of the Saudi driver.

However, Karim Ojjeh continued to fight back, swooping around the outside of Coach McKansy at Parabolica, then passing Edward Lewis Brauner, before diving up the inside of Claude-Yves Gosselin at the same corner just a few laps later to take back his second place.

Meanwhile, Stephen Earle, who was running an upgraded aero package after receiving damage in the Qualifying Race, had made his way inside the overall top-10, passing Iron Cup rival Louis Philippe Soenen for the class lead.

From the back of the grid, Patrick Van Glabeke (#488 AF Corse Ferrari 488 GT3) was quickly up to sixth place and setting fastest laps as he closed on the top five. However, whilst battling with Coach McKansy, the pair collided, with the Belgian being forced to retire for the second successive race this weekend.

Christian Hook (#33 Rinaldi Racing Ferrari 488 GT3) was also making gains, and after passing Coach McKansy the German soon caught up to Claude-Yves Gosselin, who occupied the final podium spot. The pair came together in the final corner late in the race, with the Frenchman receiving a 30-second time penalty, dropping him out of the top three.

At the chequered flag, Mario Cordoni led Karim Ojjeh over the line, with Coach McKansy promoted to the final podium spot. Stephen Earle stayed out of trouble to pick up an incredible fourth, with Christian Hook taking fifth place.

Claude-Yves Gosselin was sixth, with Frederic Fangio (#53 AF Corse Ferrari 458 GT3) seventh and Boutsen Ginion’s Pierre Feligioni (#6 Lamborghini Gallardo Extenso RE-X) finishing eighth despite being involved in an earlier incident at the second chicane.

Iron Cup drivers Louis Philippe Soenen and Klaus Dieter Frers completed the top 10, to pick up some deserved points.

All of the overall podium scorers were part of the new-for-2018 Titanium Cup, with the class occupying five of the top six positions.

Mario Cordoni (#70 AF Corse Ferrari 488 GT3): “Despite what it looks like from the outside, it’s not so easy to manage from the front, but it was a very nice race with no safety car periods and just one yellow flag. I pulled a good gap at the start and my pace felt as it had all weekend, so from my prospective everything was great. Now, the aim is to be back on the top step of the podium at the next one in Le Castellet, it’s a circuit I really like and I look forward to heading there!”

Stephen Earle (#111 Kessel Racing Ferrari 488 GT3): “It’s always a challenge when you start from pit lane, I knew because of the differences in downforce that I could get passed Klaus pretty quickly. The cold tyres made it difficult, but as the race wore on I was able to pick off the other drivers one-by-one. Unfortunately, the radio wasn’t working at the beginning, which made it very hard to know what was going on with the other guys. Despite this, I just got my head down, hit my brake points, and ended up fourth overall and first in class. The new aero package is much better, it’s easier to drive now and I had a lot of fun!”