It was a perfect day at Misano for Luigi Lucchini (#7 BMS Scuderia Italia SRL Ferrari 458 GT3), who led from the front to win the Blancpain GT Sports Club Qualifying Race, with Coach McKansy (#17 HP Racing International Lamborghini Huracan GT3) withstanding pressure from behind to take second place.
Artega Rennsport’s Klaus Dieter Frers (#3 Ferrari 488 GT3) took a third consecutive Iron Cup victory, ahead of Stephen Earle (#111 Kessel Racing Ferrari 488 GT3), as the pair ran nose-to-tail in eighth and ninth over the course of the 25-minute race.
Luigi Lucchini had a comfortable gap back to Coach McKansy, who fought valiantly with the chasing Ferraris of both Patrick Van Glabeke (#488 AF Corse Ferrari 488 GT3) and Mario Cordoni (#70 AF Corse Ferrari 488 GT3), with the former taking home his first podium of the season in third.
The race got underway cleanly, with most drivers holding station as they settled into the 4.2 km circuit. As the leader pulled away, Coach McKansy, Mario Cordoni, Patrick Van Glabeke and Boutsen Ginion’s Karim Ojjeh (#2 BMW M6 GT3) were locked in a tight battle for the final two podium spots.
The safety car emerged in the final 10 minutes while Pierre Feligioni’s (#6 Boutsen Ginion) stricken Lamborghini Gallardo Extenso R-EX and Roberto Rayneri’s (#60 GDL Racing) Mercedes SLS AMG GT3 were recovered, but when racing got back underway Patrick Van Glabeke was able to position himself up the inside of Mario Cordoni to take the final podium spot.
The Italian then had to defend from Karim Ojjeh, with the championship leader making it stick on the second time of asking on the final lap, claiming fourth at the chequered flag. This saw the Monza double-winner cross the line in fifth, with Claude-Yves Gosselin (#4 Boutsen Ginion Lamborghini Extenso R-EX) collecting the final point in sixth, just 0.154 seconds ahead of Jürgen Häring’s (#66 Herberth Motorsport) Porsche 991 GT3 R.
In the Iron Cup, Klaus Dieter Frers finished ahead of Stephen Earle, with Louis-Philippe Soenen (#50 AF Corse Ferrari 488 GT3) showing strong race pace to finish just behind in third, whilst Bernd Kleinbach (#100 Attempto Racing Porsche 991 GT3 R) came home fourth in class.
Coach McKansy was the highest-placed Titanium Cup runner, with Karim Ojjeh and Mario Cordoni rounding out the class podium positions.
Overall winner, Luigi Lucchini, #7 BMS Scuderia Italia SRL, said: “It was really a fantastic race, the team did a great job. We know the track very well because I’ve done Misano a lot of times in other championships and we’ve got a good set-up. It wasn’t easy but it was comfortable. I wasn’t sure if we’d be in this position coming here to be honest, but overall I’m happy and looking forward to tomorrow.”
Titanium Cup winner, Coach McKansy, #17 HP Racing International, said: “This was my first time in second position and it was a great experience. After the restart I had a lot of pick-up on the front tyres but I just managed my pace and it was a good to finish where we did. It was really tough with the guys behind as they were very quick, but we got there and I was happy with my performance.”
Iron Cup winner, Klaus Dieter Frers, #3 Artega Rennsport, said: “This is a wonderful start to the weekend, it was very similar to Paul Ricard which was amazing. The tyres felt good, the car was great and I’m just very happy with how things went. I could have gone a little bit harder, but there was no need for it, it was a perfectly controlled race and I’m very pleased.”