Marioneck-Cecotto win season opener
Lennart Marioneck and Jonathan Cecotto claimed the first GT4 European Series “Northern Cup” victory at Misano. Starting from fifth on the grid their RYS Team Kiska’s KTM X-Bow moved up third at the eight lap behind the Academy Motorsport Aston Martin Vantage GT4 of Matt Nicoll-Jones and the RN Vision STS Porsche Cayman CS MR GT4 of Pavel Lefterov, while Las Moras Racing McLaren 570S GT4 of polsitter Duncan Braams was out of the race shortly after the start, as well as the reigning champion Jörg Viebahn’s team mate Nicolaj Møller-Madsen.
With the safety car deployed on the opening lap and the race restarted after seven minutes, Lefterov and Nicoll-Jones started to fight each other for the race lead. On lap eight the British driver moved into the lead, but four laps later the Bulgarian overtook his rival again to retake the lead. Behind them, Cecotto closed in rapidly, while six others were fighting for the fourth place held by Bullitt Racing’s Andy Meyrick.
Nicoll-Jones was the first of the leaders to come into the pits for the mandatory pit stop, with Lefterov only coming in at the very end of the pit window. However, his team mate John-Louis Jasper was unable to stay in the lead and on lap 19 Marioneck took the lead.
Marioneck made no mistake and pulled away from William Moore in the Academy Motorsport Aston Martin Vantage GT4 and Alessio Picariello in the PROsport Performance Porsche Clubsport. Behind the top three Ekris Motorsport driver Max Koebolt began to close in on the RN Vision STS Porsche.
With a daring move in the last laps Picariello took second place from Moore, but seconds later the Belgian driver was given a drive-through penalty for improving under yellow. Jasper also received a drive-through for disrespecting the track limits, but this penalty was converted into a 40-second time penalty.
After 32 laps Reiter Young Stars driver Marioneck crossed the line to take victory for RYS Team Kiska. Marioneck finished 9.067s ahead of Moore, with Koebolt taking third place in his Ekris M4 GT4, finishing 17.069s behind the race winning KTM X-Bow GT4.
In GT4 AM Giuseppe Ghezzi and Manuele Mengozzi claimed the victory in the Autorlando Sport Porsche 911 GT4. The Italians beat the PROsport Performance Porsche of Carsten Struwe and Alessandro Giovanelli. Autorlando Sport’s Dario Cerati and Maurizio Fondi completed the class podium.
“I started in fifth position and at the beginning I lost a lot of positions because other cars were faster on the straights,” – Cecotto said – “I was able to recover one position at a time and my lap times were good. We just put it all together and brought home the win.”