Contact denies Wakefield's Inception Racing a Gold Cup podium in Imola

An incident caused by the number 87 Mercedes AMG heading down into Rivazza denied the Inception Racing McLaren 720S a second-place class finish in the Gold Cup season opener in Imola.

By Tony Harber
Wednesday, 6th April 2022, 8:00 am
Inception Racing team's number 7 McLaren 720S on the track at Imola. Picture: Optimum Motorsport
Inception Racing team's number 7 McLaren 720S on the track at Imola. Picture: Optimum Motorsport

Brendan Iribe and Ollie Millroy were joined by Silver-rated driver Frederik Schandorff for the GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS first round event to compete in the newly formed Gold Cup Class.

A competitive category with 13 entrants made for an intense battle come Sunday morning, which held the three qualifying sessions; of which an average was formed in order to determine the starting grid for the race.

Traffic and multiple yellow flags disrupted all three runs, including Frederik’s flying lap where the Dane posted the third fastest overall time, thus seeing the trio start Sunday afternoon’s main event fifth in class and 30th overall.

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Staying clear of first lap drama which saw the Iron Dames’ Ferrari spin at turn 18, Brendan jumped up to fourth within the Gold Cup Class field before pitting to hand over to Ollie.

Both Ollie and Frederik’s stints were characterised by yellow flags and safety cars, with Ollie coming to a complete halt out on track with the rest of the field after debris was thrown by an incident while following the safety car on the back straight.

Capitalising on the course conditions, Ollie pitted to make the final driver change to Frederik. Now at the wheel and heading into the final hour, the Dane suffered an unfortunate hit from the Akkodis ASP Mercedes AMG, causing a large laceration to the side of the McLaren. He still showed his pace as he charged through the field to move up to second in class with less than 10 minutes of the race remaining.

The incident caused more damage than what was anticipated and heading into the final minutes of the race, the left-hand side door came loose and ultimately, opened. With the contact that could have ended the race, the team pitted to repair the damage in order to try and finish.

In what could have resulted in a podium, a seventh-place finish and points haul was still a tremendous accomplishment.

The Wakefield team is now preparing for the first round their IMSA Sprint campaign, where California will host the second-shortest event on the calendar, the 100-minute Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach.