Aleksander Schjerpen has completed the 2019 Italian GT Championship in Mugello as GT4 vice-champion following a strong performance in the final event of the season.
It was an all-new look for Nova Race and teammate Luca Magnoni going into the final round of the season as the team upgraded to a brand new MercedesAMG GT4 and anticipation was high going into the event. With limited testing opportunities ahead of the weekend due to the car’s late arrival, Friday’s Free Practice sessions offered a good opportunity for the team to become accustomed to their new mount along with the support of MercedesAMG.
On Saturday however, their progress was hampered in the morning when rain fell during the final free practice session of the weekend, ruining their chances of evaluating a new direction with the car and leaving them with somewhat of a guessing game going into Saturday afternoon’s dry qualifying. Making the best of their package and the advice of their MercedesAMG engineers, Schjerpen and Magnoni put in some solid laps to secure P4 ahead of Sunday’s 180-minute race.
Conditions for Sunday’s race were almost perfect, with the sun shining down on the Italian track as the lights went out to kick off three hours of hard racing. It was Luca Magnoni at the wheel first to get the race under way. Despite slipping back to sixth, it was a solid opening stint from the Italian as both he and the team continued to learn their new car in a race scenario.
Handing over to Schjerpen for the middle stint, the Norwegian was rapid out of the blocks. Moving up to fourth, sadly his good work would be undone when they fell foul of a badly timed safety car, losing them track position and the chance to fight for a podium during his stint. Recovering as much time as possible, Aleksander handed the car back to Luca at the turn of the final hour to complete the race. Returning to the track in a hot battle for third, fourth and fifth places, Magnoni was fighting hard. However at the chequered flag, the team would miss out on the vital third place by just 1.4 seconds, and with it, the chance to win the overall title.
Aleksander Schjerpen – #208 NOVA Race MercedesAMG GT4:
“For me it was a very interesting trip. We had a new car to learn and a new track where I’ve never raced before. We fought until the end and gave the maximum of our ability. Closing the season as Vice-Champions with two victories is a positive review of my first season in Italy, so I thank those who have been around me, my team, teammate Luca and everyone who supported me.”