Dinamic Motorsport returned to the top step of the podium at Autodromo Nazionale di Monza, the scene of their first GT World Challenge victory in 2019, as Matteo Cairoli, Christian Engelhart and Klaus Bachler won the opening round of the 2021 Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe Powered by AWS.
Bachler took the chequered flag in the team’s #54 Porsche 911 GT3-R just over three seconds ahead of #88 AKKA ASP Mercedes-AMG GT3 driven by Jules Gounon in the car he shared with Raffaele Marciello and Dani Juncadella.
Completing the overall podium positions, and winning the Silver Cup category, was the #14 Emil Frey Racing Lamborghini Huracan GT3 piloted by Rolf Ineichen, Alex Fontana and, driving the final stint, Ricardo Feller. Second in the Silver Cup category was the #30 Team WRT Audi R8 LMS GT3 with the driving trio of Benjamin Goethe, Stuart Hall and James pull.
Class honours in the Pro-Am category were taken by the #188 Garage 59 Aston Martin Vantage AMR GT3 of Alex West, Chris Goodwin and Jonny Adam.
In a race that saw varying track conditions, tyre failures and off-track excursions saw multiple caution periods and safety cars.
Mirko Bortolotti led the field away from the grid in the #63 Orange 1 FFF Racing Lamborghini with Raffaele Marciello in the #88 AKKA ASP Mercedes keeping the Italian pilot within 1.5 seconds on the opening laps. Teams were keeping a close eye on the weather and most were preparing wet weather tyres as the field were completing their opening five laps.
Rain stated falling after ten minutes and, with teams considering bringing cars in to change tyres, inconsistency in the conditions around the circuit meant that the front-runners decided to stay out.
Brendan Iribe, at the wheel of the #70 Inception Racing pole-sitting Pro-Am McLaren 720S GT3 had contact on the opening laps and limped the stricken car back to the pits.
Marciello was on the back of Bortolotti by lap 10 as the #63 Lamborghini was struggling to find grip on the damp surface. The #88 pilot had a look on the outside of the final turn but struggled to keep the power down and had to fall back
There was drama for the #69 RAM Racing Mercedes with 2020 British GT champion Rob Collard at the wheel which went off at Turn 10, bringing out a the first full course yellow followed by a Safety Car. Collard’s Mercedes was badly damaged ad required recovery.
The lead two cars called into the pit lane at the end of lap 10 with the #88 Mercedes exiting ahead of Bortolotti’s Lamborghini. Bad luck was to hit the #63 squad as the car slowed to a halt in the start-finish straight and again after the first chicane. Bortolotti got the #63 car running again and rejoined the field one lap down, the team mystified as to the cause of the issue.
Green flag racing resumed as the field started their 16th lap but a further FCY was called after one lap after the #11 Kessel Racing with Francesco Zollo at the wheel spun into the gravel at Turn 11 with suspension damage.
The #4 HRT Mercedes took the lead as the race approached the halfway mark but a puncture for Luca Stolz meant that Matteo Cairoli in the #54 Porsche was able to pass Jules Gounon in the #88 car for the lead.
A further safety car was called with 45 minutes remaining and Bachler, now at the wheel of the leading Porsche, had his mirrors full of Mercedes with Jules Gounon hungry for his first win with AKKA ASP. Bachler held on, however, and with Gounon facing pressure from Ricardo Feller in the #14 Lamborghini, the Dinamic Motorsport pilot was able to maintain his lead all the way to the chequered flag.
The 29-year-old Austrian driver was delighted to take the second GT World Challenge Europe win at Monza for Dinamic Motorsport.
“In the end it’s teamwork,” said Bachler. “We worked really hard during the last few days. Christian, Matteo and the whole team did a really good job and our strategy was amazing, because the conditions were really tricky for everybody. We made the right decisions at the right moments and this brought us forward more and more. I had the same thing two years ago with this team so it’s an incredible feeling for me. I’m just thankful for this.
The Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe Powered by AWS grid assembles again on May 7 – 9 for the opening two rounds of the Sprint Cup.