Italian David Tonizza, driving the Ferrari Driving Academy Hublot eSports Team Ferrari F488 GT3, took victory in the first 60-minute qualifying race for the SRO Charity Challenge, finishing over 10 seconds ahead of Arthur Kemmerer in the Mercedes-AMG GT3.
Completing the podium positions was Tiziano Brioni in a Lamborghini Huracan GT3 Evo.
Amir Hosseini, driving the 2015 Racing Line Motorsport Mercedes-AMG GT3, started Race One from pole position, having lapped the iconic 5.793 km Italian circuit in 1:45.566, ahead of David Tonizza in the Ferrari Driver Academy Hublot Esports Team 2018 Ferrari F488 GT3.
39 entries took the start for the 60-minute race from which 20 would advance to the final.
Hosseini got off to a flying start with 2019 eSports Formula One champion Tonizza falling back to fourth, allowing Arthur Kammerer to move into second and Denis Lind to take third. Tonizza took back third as Hosseini stretched his lead to over 1.5 seconds after two laps.
After five laps, Jonathan Cecotto remained the highest placed ‘real life’ driver, holding on to fourteenth position in the Lamborghini Huracan GT3 Evo.
After 15 minutes of racing, Hosseini continued to maintain his lead over over 1.5 seconds over Arther Kammerer in a Mercedes with David Tonizza in third. Tonizza found his way past Kammerer at the start of Lap 11.
Tonizza then set about chasing down Hosseini and, by the seventeenth lap, had pulled the lead gap to the Iranian driver back to less than a second.
As the race entered the final 22 minutes, Tonizza was on the back of Hosseini’s Mercedes but the Iranian driver’s defence allowed Arthur Kammerer to close within 2.6 seconds after 24 laps.
However there was drama at the start of Lap 26 after contact between Tonizza and Hosseini resulted in a spin for the Mercedes driver and the lead being taken by Tonizza’s Ferrari. A suggestion of a review by the race officials meant that Tonizza could not be comfortable with first place on track.
As the clock ticked down towards the final five minutes, Kammerer was pushing Hosseini hard for second place and, at the start of the 31st lap, was on the rear bumper of the Vodafone-liveried Mercedes. Kammerer took the position with 30 seconds to go, the Iranian driver in fuel-saving mode on the final lap.
Hosseini was clearly struggling for fuel as the seconds ticked down and limped home in eighth position, sufficient to qualify for the main race.
Race Two gets underway at 14:20 UK time.