A redemption drive from Nick and Joe see the Optimum Motorsport duo win race 2 in Monza
From a DNF of Saturday afternoon to claiming the top spot on the podium on Sunday afternoon, a lot can change in the space of 24 hours and Nick and Joe proved that in GT Open’s second race of the Monza weekend.
A tough, wet Saturday morning qualifying saw Nick start 15th overall for race one. In a race that consisted multiple cars in spinning and finding themselves in the gravel, Nick drove well to avoid any contact in the damp conditions.
The #99 Honda found itself in the gravel at T5, bringing out one of the many Safety Cars of the race, but this was just as the pit window was due to open, however it remained closed for the driver change. Fortunately, moments before the Safety Car deployment, Nick moved up into the top 10.
30 minutes to go and Nick boxed to hand over to Factory Driver Joe, however, after heading out on track and with 18 minutes to go, #72 retired due to a mechanical issue.
Qualifying two on Sunday morning was declared wet, but with no rain in sight it was a tight battle for pole position throughout the latter stages of the session. Ultimately, it was Fumanelli that claimed the front spot on the grid.
On the start, it was Joe that got Fumanelii in the Ferrari on the entry into T1 and stretched his lead to nearly a second come the end of lap 1. But it was three laps later that a note from the stewards came through for the place to be given back to the Italian squad. It was three abreast for the remainder of the stint, with the #24 Porsche also leading before pitting at the halfway stage.
Rejoining the pack after jumping into the hot seat with 25 minutes to go, Nick extended his lead by 8.9s over title rival, Pulcini in the #63 Oregon Lamborghini, only to be slowed by the deployment of the final Safety Car as Olimp’s Audi crashed out into the tyre wall.
Four minutes to go and the Safety Car was in. As the lead car, Nick had control as to when racing was resumed, and he did just that! Entering the Parabolica Nick accelerated, catching the field off guard and flew through the final two racing laps to take the chequered flag and win race two of the weekend.
The British pair keep perfectly alive their title bid, sitting only four points away from Oregon Team’s Lamborghini of Hites-Pulcini.
“From a DNF yesterday, Motorsport lows are lows and the highs are highs, a lot can happen in the space of 24 hours. It was an interesting race.
“Nick’s Safety Car restart is the best restart I’ve seen of any car in any championship and to just made the last two laps an absolute delight to watch and I just knew he was going to win."