SMP Racing driver Denis Bulatov took part in the third round of the Italian GT Championship Endurance, which took place on September 13-15 at the Vallelunga circuit (Italy).Denis drove alongside Rinat Salikhov and David Perel, his teammates in the Blancpain GT Series Endurance Cup. Bulatov and Salikhov will also compete as one crew in the 2019 International Motorsports Games, which will be held on October 31 - November 3 in Italy. Participation in the Italian GT Championship is part of the FIA Motorsport Games preparation program.
Denis Bulatov, Rinat Salikhov and David Perel drove the Ferrari 488 GT3 of the German Rinaldi Racing team. They won one of the qualifying sessions, in the other two they were close to the leaders. In the race, the crew started from fifth position and fought in the top ten during the three-hour race. As a result, they took third place in the overall standings and the first in the GT3A class.
“We decided to take part in the Italian GT Championship Endurance race in order to prepare for the 2019 International Motorsports Games, which will take place on the same track in early November,” SMP Racing driver Denis Bulatov said. “We wanted to drive in a real-life environment, it was like a practice session to find right setups, get familiar with the track and all its features. Since we first participated in this championship, according to the rules we were assigned a 30-second stop-and-go penalty. Therefore, we main goal was to drive to the finish line. We managed to find a very good pace, we were quick in qualifying and had certain hopes for the race, although we did not expect that in the end we would be in third place in the overall standings, and especially that we would take a win in our class. The Italian GT championship, although the grid sizes are low, consists of very professional and experienced drivers, like Giancarlo Fisichella, Jacques Villeneuve and many Italian drivers, who have been driving on these tracks and in these cars for quite long. Therefore, it was very difficult for us to compete with such rivals. At the same time, it helped us understand some of the nuances that will come in handy in the FIA Motorsport Games race.”