The driver of the Rosberg Audi team admitted that in qualifying he drove excessively, trying to compensate for the 25-kilogram error of performance balance inflicted on all Audi runners, and started 21st in the net.
His race seemed to have been severely compromised when he received a puncture in a first-round bout, avoiding Lawrence Vantura’s promoted SSR Porsche, and was forced into boxing by dropping it into the back of the field.
However, it proved to be a disguised blessing when Rolf Ineichen’s Lamborghini with brakes crashed into Thomas Prying’s Rivazza and brought out the safety car.
Gore was able to drive slow enough to make sure the mandatory pit stop window opened when he completed his fifth lap, and thus managed to pass one lap in front of the rest of the field, which was still moving at a reduced speed behind the safety car.
When the 24-year-old caught up with the pack, which then collapsed, he rode his bicycle to those who stopped only for those who gambled for the opportunity to create a buffer from the front.
Although he failed to restrain Abt Audi’s final winner Ricardo Feller after the restart, Gore comfortably repulsed Lucas Auer’s Winward Mercedes and finished second as Auer’s mistake on the final lap allowed BMW Walkenhorst driver Mark Whitman to take third place.
Gore, whose previous best finish was 12th at the Lausitzring last year, explained: “The team did a really fantastic job giving super-precise instructions.
“The radio melted because of how many people were talking!
“But we managed to walk slowly, just pass the pit window, stop, change the tires and still be able to get out without losing Ricky. [Feller].
Dave Gore, Rosberg Audi R8 LMS GT3 team
“We really got back into the fight, sat P4 with the cars in front of me to stay, and everyone behind who had already stopped.
“We overtook an amazing 20 positions, but it worked and the team managed really well.”
He added: “I think we made a pit window in just a couple of seconds.
“Basically, I had to constantly slow down, speed up, drive on the track on my own.
“In the end, we just did it, and it brought us to the podium.”
Gore explained that he did not have the pace to restrain Polesier Feller, who became the second Abt rider to win in Imola after Rene Rast defeated Gore’s teammate Nick Mueller in the first race.
“Abt had a slight advantage over us this week,” he said.
“I don’t think we would be in the top 10 [in qualifying] today, even if we got the perfect circle, today it was strictly an object.
“You could see that we have data from the minisectors that all Abt cars had potential, but only Ricardo made a circle.
“I think it was more just a mega-circle from him than something [innate] with the car it was a really impressive performance ”.
Gore added that Auer’s defense against Whitman “benefited us” because he believed that the M4 GT3 “had a great pace today”.
Maine just misses
Arjun Maini was also postponed early, avoiding Vanthoor, and tried to use the same tactics as Gore when performing on the fifth lap.
However, the driver of the Mercedes Haupt Racing Team came in just before the boxing window opened, which means that although he took a restart before Gore in third place, he will have to stop again.
The Indian, who finished fourth in the first race at the Lausitzring last month, eventually finished last in the 18th place.
His team boss Uli Fritz told Autosport: “We’re still analyzing this, after all, maybe we weren’t greedy enough.
“It could possibly increase the speed for the line, but it’s still dangerous and may also not be in line with the spirit of the rules.
“He didn’t have maybe three seconds, and it was obviously very bad because he had the pace.
“I think he could have finished on the podium, he would have deserved it.
Ricardo Feller, ABT Sportsline team Audi R8 LMS GT3, Arjun Maini, Mercedes-AMG HRT team Mercedes-AMG GT3