Misano Adriatico and its race track, dedicated to Marco Simoncelli, officially marked the beginning of Kessel Racing's competitive season with the first round of the Blancpain GT Series and GT Sports Club. Following on from excellent results in 2016, it is now time to once again compete in the various series, which the team from Grancia will also compete in this year.
Blancpain GT Sprint.
There were two Ferraris 488 GT3s in the Sprint Series race: one with Michael Broniszewski behind the wheel, the other with Giacomo Piccini, 2016 PRO-AM champions, who will try to set the mark once again as champions in their class. In this same class, Kessel Racing lined up Piti Bhirombhakdi and Carlo Van Dam, both of them on their debut in this championship.
GT Sport Club.
Two confirmations and two new faces in the GT Sport Club: alongside Stephen Earle and Alexis De Bernardi, who have for many years been on the starting lines with our cars, were Deborah Mayer and Claudio Schiavoni, who raced and won the Abu Dhabi Gulf 12 Hours last December. With their 458 GT3, they were ready to compete with highly competitive rivals.
The GT Sprint Qualifying Race took place on Saturday night and saw Kessel Racing victorious with the success of Broniszewski-Piccini, with Bhirombhakdi and Van Dam crossing the finish line in second position. In the Main Race Bhirombhakdi and Van Dam achieved second place in the PRO-AM class, whereas the 2016 champions Broniszewski and Piccini finished their race in fourth position in the PRO-AM class after contact with an Audi. In the GT Sports Club races, Stephen Earle crossed the checkered flag in third position in the IRON class during the first race on Saturday. The other drivers put on a good show too with De Bernardi finishing in seventh place, Schiavoni in sixteenth and Deborah Mayer in nineteenth position. Stephen Earle won in the IRON class during the race on Sunday and De Bernardi came tenth. Fifteenth position for Schiavoni and seventeenth for Deborah Mayer.
RONNIE KESSEL (Team Principal): The first race of the year is always the most difficult because you need to find confidence once again in the track, the car and the team. In the GT Sprint Qualifying Race we did really well and achieved first and second places. We could have repeated this today, in race two, if only we hadn’t had a puncture. It was also a great weekend in the GT Sports Club, with Earle winning in race two and stepping onto the podium in race one. The other drivers did well too, by demonstrating great determination once again. I am also very happy to have a “lady” in the team for the first time in Kessel Racing history.
The next Blancpain GT Series race will take place on 22nd and 23rd of April at Monza.