Late Scare Not Enough to Deny Pescatore Maiden GTSS Victory

Racing Team Solvalou driver Emma Pescatore took her first outright victory in GT Super Series competition in the opening race of the Baku Grand Prix.

Emma would lead just four laps of the twenty lap opening race: the opening lap of the race after passing pole-sitter Rhys Davies at the start, and the final three laps of the race after making a successful pass on the factory Ford driver at Turn 1 with three laps remaining. Davies would take the back on lap two with a bold lunge on the Lynxe development driver at turn fifteen, the sharp left-handed corner that exits the old section of Baku. The MacMillan driver would then make a break for it at the front of the field, growing a lead as large as ten seconds to Pescatore behind before worn tires started to come into play. Davies started to struggle more on his worn Michelin tires than Pescatore was past halfway through the race, which allowed her to catch the Ford in front in the final quarter of the race.

But while the pass for the lead from Pescatore on Davies was made with relative ease, the race for the win was far from over. However the first one to crack from the pressure was from the chasing driver; Rhys hit the outside wall exiting turn 12 allowing Pescatore the breathing room she needed to cruise to victory. The cars in third and fourth, Joey Alliot and reigning World Driver’s Champion Chris Winter, were too far behind to take advantage of his mistake. But coming to the long pit straight that ends the lap around Baku, Emma Pescatore went into a major slide at the flatout turn 18 and managed to correct it and keep her Lamborghini facing the right direction. The prior moment from Davies meant he was too far back to take advantage of the amount of momentum that was lost by Pescatore through turn 18, Davies simply ran out of time to make the slingshot pass on the pit straight work ultimately resulting in what will be Racing Team Solvalou’s second victory of the season.

Rounding out the podium for Race 1 was Joey Alliot in his Carson Speedworks Corvette, after a race long tilt with Winter was decisively decided in the favor of the factory Chevrolet driver after another scare for Solvalou happened at the corner after Pescatore had her drift. Trying to carry as much momentum for a potential straightaway slingshot, Winter understeered into the outside barrier exiting turn 19 which sent his Lamborghini spinning across the track. Managing to get his Lamborghini stopped with only just tapping the wall on the other side of the track, Winter got his car facing the right direction without losing a position and would still finish the race fourth overall. The latter point being most crucial for his championship defense, as Winter put in the fastest lap of the race and therefore will start on pole position for Race Two.

Taking Independent Honors for Race 1 was Harrison Wilkinson in his Team LKM Lamborghini, going lights to flag in class with a healthy buffer of factory cars behind him allowing the British driver to cruise to a quiet seventh place overall. He lead home a big pack of seven cars that were all battling for the bottom half of the top ten, which included both Factory Aston Martins of Matteo Rossi and Nathan McKane. Both drivers dropped one position each in the race, with former GTSS full-time driver Nathan Scott making a late push to make it into the top ten which would ultimately be unsuccessful. Scott still finished second in class in Aoi Formula Group’s first appearance of the season, with Peter Oliver rounding out the Independent’s Podium for Race One, giving Lamborghini a clean sweep of the Independent’s podium after he gained five positions in race one.

Wilkinson and Scott’s teammates will share the sixth row of the grid for Race Two, after they were the eleventh and twelfth fastest laps in Race One and the quickest of the Independent Trophy teams. Starting alongside Morgan Le Fay on the front row of the grid for Race Two will be the teammate to Race One winner Pescatore in Antonio Fazio; this being Fazio’s best chance to score his maiden victory in the series that he’s taken part in since it’s inception in 2016.

Race Results – After 20 Laps

103MEmma PescatoreSolvalou44:20.417
240MRhys DaviesMacMillan+0.317
363MJoey AlliotCarson+2.436
401MChris WinterSolvalou+11.639
528MAndrea ConstantiniScuderia Italia+12.677
625MAnton RobishaudPagani+13.883
788IHarrison WilkinsonLKM+18.315
827MValeri KozarScuderia Italia+20.642
924MAmato AgostiniPagani+21.540
1014MFabian ReiGerald Pereria+21.652
1105INathan ScottAoi+22.922
126MMatteo RossiGulf+24.928
1343MDarren Older Jr.MacMillan+25.998
142MNathan McKaneRavenwest+27.718
1519IPeter OliverOliver+29.354
1618IShouta SakaiTsuchigami+32.391
173IMelanie BourneBoutsen Ginion+39.193
18550IPhil McCrackenCzechmate+42.609
1977IAndrea MassiniMinarae+43.603
2078IMaria RodriguezLynxe+1:03.264
2164MLi QiCarson+1:17.766
224IEliana DiazBoutsen Ginion+1:17.901
2334IArtesia MassOran+1:19.864
2441IKoyomi SetouBest In The World+1:20.707
2513INatsuki YanameWinton+1:25.353
2655IJames DouglasTom Douglas+1:31.950
2715MPaul TravesenGerald Pereria+1:39.706
2817IJames WilmingtonCzechmate+1:45.529
2945IPatrick FeldhofferEuromotor+1:46.498
3070INikov TimeAstana+1.47.451

Fastest Lap – Car 01 (Solvalou Lamborghini – Chris Winter) – 2:10.730