Difficult weekend for Solaris at Mugello

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Solaris Motorsport suffered an unfortunate weekend at Mugello Circuit in the fourth round of the Italian GT Championship. The Italian team paid the price of a lack of notes on a new track and the situation got worse when the rain prevented the team from completing the usual setup routine, leading to a difficult qualifying session and two exciting comebacks from a disappointing starting position.

Two showers hit the track before and during the free practice sessions, making it hard to find the right setup and the right confidence with the track for Solaris Motorsport on a circuit, the Autodromo del Mugello, completely new for the Vantage. The setup was improved lap by lap during qualifying, which was held on a completely dry track. Francesco Sini took the fourth row on the Race 1 grid, while Max Mugelli brought home the seventh row for the Sunday Race.

Race 1 took place under a burning sun that raised a lot the track temperature. The Italian Vantage GT3 did a good first part of the race with Francesco Sini, recovering a lot of positions thanks also to a perfect strategy: after the mandatory pit stop and the drivers change, the Solaris Motorsport Aston Martin was fourth. Max Mugelli, who took the wheel in the driver’s change, was able to keep the position until the checkered flag, defending from the comeback of Venturi’s Ferrari. At the end of the race, the English coupĂ© was penalized due to a 2.7 second early exit from the pits during the mandatory pit stop and was moved back to P7, a result that does not change all the good things showed on track.

With the Race 1 experience and with some upgrades to the setup, the Sunday Race saw an awesome start by Max Mugelli, who was able to gain 5 positions in few corners and place his Vantage in P9. The local hero’s comeback ended on lap 4 due a contact caused by Venturini’s Lamborghini, which was sanctioned with a drive through by the Race Control, that sent the Vantage GT3 in the wall at the entry of the fast Biondetti’s chicane, forcing Mugelli to retire, after walking unhurt from the crash thanks the strength of the Aston chassis.

“It was probably the worse weekend we had this year. We suffered from the fact we didn’t have any reference here and the free practice sessions took place on the wet for sure didn’t help us, increasing the gap with the others. Despite not having a perfect car, we had a good Race 1, we found the way to gain positions and end up close to the podium.” said Francesco Sini. “The penalty was a pity, because we didn’t earn any position or, at least, we could lose just one. Dura lex, sed lex.”

“I’m twice disappointed because Mugello was my home race and I would have liked to make a good race for all my fans that came to the track. Unfortunately things went wrong and now we must look to the future and to the hard work needed to rebuild our Vantage. Not having participated to last week’s test session gave a huge advantage to our opponents and the weather made the rest. We went into qualifying making some experiments on the setup. We raced well the Saturday Race, we finished fourth on track without the penalty. Sunday I had a stunning start and I was waiting for the car to be ready to attack, in order to give Francesco the Aston in a good position and aim again at the Top5.” commented a disheartened Mugelli. “We weren’t at our best and we need to understand why during this summer break. We have all the time to recharge the batteries and to be ready for Vallelunga.”

“It was one of those weekend in which if something can go wrong, it does. We weren’t on top, we missed the right setup, especially compared to the teams had some more references on this track. But I saw the team work hard and react, Max and Francesco used their talent to fix a difficult situation.” commented Roberto Sini, Solaris Motorsport Team Principal. “Luckily we have enough time before Vallelunga, our home race, to be ready and in the best shape we can. We will do some test days before in order to aim at the top step of the podium.”

Source material - Solaris Motorsport
Photo credits - Fotospeedy
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