Strong showing in Monza for 2 Seas Motorsport despite heavy rain

September 26, 2021
International GT Open
Race Report

Strong showing in Monza for 2 Seas Motorsport despite heavy rain

Following the impressive debut victory, the 2 Seas Motorsport team returned to International GT Open action for race 2 of the weekend in Monza, competing in very different conditions to the previous day. Ethan Simioni made his debut GT3 qualifying outing, which was eventually red flagged due to heavy rain, before the 1-hour sprint race was also affected by adverse weather. Despite the challenges, Ethan and teammate Martin Kodrić brought the #9 Mercedes-AMG home in an impressive 7th place.

With threatening skies hanging over the Autodromo Nazionale di Monza, Ethan headed out for his first qualifying session and worked to build up speed over the initial laps. With rain starting to fall shortly after the session got underway, these early laps proved critical to the overall grid. Within 10 minutes the light rain had become heavier, and with it the grip of the slick tyres disappeared, forcing the grid back into the pitlane to switch for wets and all-but-confirming a starting grid slot of 13th for Ethan. Further laps were then completed in wet conditions but, with conditions worsening and visibility reduced to almost nothing, the session was brought to a premature end.

In what turned out to be almost an exact repeat of qualifying, the second race of the weekend started in the dry but with the very real threat of rain. Before the formation lap was completed, teams and drivers were forced to make a call as rain started to fall. With the track dry in parts and the rain not heavy at that stage, the decision was made to stay on slick tyres, and Ethan took the rolling start. This decision saw him move up the order as high as 6th as he wrestled to find grip around the 5.793km circuit, but with the shower becoming heavier over the course of the lap, he then pitted at the end of lap 1.

With several the GT Cup Open Europe cars taking the gamble to start on wet tyres, the order of the field was heavily disrupted for the opening half of the race, but with Ethan now running strongly on wet tyres on a drenched circuit, the young Canadian settled into his race rhythm and reeled in the cars ahead. Over the following laps, he made up eight position and was running just outside the top 10 as the pitstop window opened. With Ethan now in traffic and an additional 10-second success penalty to serve after winning the first race, a strategy call by the 2 Seas Motorsport team saw the #9 Mercedes-AMG brought into the pitlane with just over 35 minutes remaining. This early call would give Martin the maximum track time possible to recover from the additional pitstop time.

With limited visibility and grip levels extremely low, Martin worked his way around the circuit and navigating the hazardous standing water. The strategy call and quick work by the pitcrew had gained a position and as a Safety Car was scrambled to allow a stranded car to be removed from the gravel, the #9 was running 10th.

Martin quickly jumped on the opportunity after the restart following the prolonged Safety Car period, moving into 9th almost immediately. This was closely followed by a move approaching the second chicane to progress up to 8th. As the rain eased slightly, the Croatian driver chipped away at the gap ahead, and with five minutes remaining he had reduced the deficit to just two seconds behind his next target. As the clock ticked down, this gap reduced further, and with one lap to go Martin was fighting hard for the position and, importantly, the duelling pair closed up on the car ahead. Martin crossed the line after 60 minutes in 8th, but a pitlane penalty for the 6th-place Lamborghini promoted 2 Seas Motorsport a further position and signed off the European debut for the team with a 7th-place finish.

“What a weekend. Yesterday was the dream scenario taking the race win with Martin, at Monza on debut, and I am really grateful to the whole 2 Seas Motorsport team who gave us a great car and didn’t put a foot wrong. Today was a baptism of fire with the weather for qualifying and the race, changing from dry to wet so quickly and it was a real challenge, but I loved every minute and really pleased we could score another strong result against a strong field. I have really enjoyed the whole experience and working with Martin and the team, and hopefully we can race together again soon.”

Ethan Simioni, #9 Mercedes-AMG GT3, 2 Seas Motorsport

“Another really impressive performance by everyone in the team, and Martin and Ethan really excelled themselves. We were on the backfoot after qualifying with a lot to do, and the conditions were just getting worse with every lap in the race but everyone stuck to the plan, worked together and kept focus on our own race, and I am really pleased with the results we have achieved this weekend.”

Sh. Isa Al-Khalifa, team co-owner, 2 Seas Motorsport

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