Kroes and Afanasiev extend points lead with third Lamborghini Super Trofeo Europe win of the season at Spa-Francorchamps
Danny Kroes and Sergei Afanasiev made it three Lamborghini Super Trofeo Europe wins in four races after a charging drive from fourth on the grid in Race 2 at Spa-Francorchamps. The Bonaldi Motorsport team-mates now lead the standings by 13 points over the Imperiale Racing duo of Vito Postiglione and Kikko Galbiati, who recovered for their Race 1 retirement to finish third.
Alberto Di Folco started the race from pole position in the #9 Target Racing car and comfortably led the opening stint over Race 1 winner Stuart Middleton (Bonaldi Motorsport). The experienced Italian built a gap of over four seconds, which was enough for team-mate Davide Venditti to rejoin in the lead following the mandatory pit-stops. Middleton stayed with Di Folco early on, with the #3 of Afanasiev a further three seconds back in third place. By the time the pit window opened, the leading trio were right together.
Once the pit window closed, Kroes – now at the wheel of the #3 – began to make his move towards the front as he closed on Jack Bartholomew in the #32. Kroes, easily the fastest driver on track, made a daring lunge round the outside of Bartholomew at Les Combes with 7 minutes remaining, before seizing the lead from Venditti on the inside of the same corner two laps later. From then on, Kroes was able to build a healthy margin over Venditti, who had to defend heavily from Bartholomew and the charging Postiglione – who took over from Galbiati at the pit-stops.
Postiglione challenged the rear of Bartholomew for several laps before making a late lunge down the inside of Turn 8 to claim third place. The order remained unchanged until the flag, with Kroes and Afanasiev claiming their third victory of the season, ahead of Postiglione and Galbiati.
Shota Abkhazava continued the impressive run of four consecutive victories for the #12 ArtLine Team Georgia Huracán, pairing with rookie driver Julien Falchero. The duo started the race from eighth on the grid and maintained this position throughout, beating the #67 of Luca Demarchi and Jim Litman.
Mikko Eskelinen and Jake Rattenbury led the Am class early on from pole but were unfortunately unable to repeat their Race 1 result following contact at the Fagnes chicane with the #21 GT3 Poland car of Andrej Lewandowski. The Leipert Motorsport car suffered terminal suspension damage and was forced to retire. That allowed Gilles Vannelet (AGS Events) and the second GT3 Poland car of Robert Zwinger to battle it out for honours. The pair were close for the opening stint and remained so after the pit stops; Vannelet’s team-mate Nicolas Gomar just edging away in the second stint to claim victory by over six seconds.
Defending Lamborghini Cup champion Gerhard van der Horst took victory after Race 1 winners Benoit and Francois Semoulin were penalised for speeding in the pit-lane during the stops. Van der Horst beat the AGS Events car of Joseph Collado, with the Semoulins finishing third in class.
The penultimate round of the Lamborghini Super Trofeo Europe season takes place at the famous Nürburgring circuit on the weekend of 30th August/1st September.
Lamborghini Super Trofeo, Middleton/Bartholomew fight back to claim stunning second win of the season at Spa
Stuart Middleton and Jack Bartholomew claimed a sensational second Lamborghini Super Trofeo Europe victory of the season in the opening race at Spa-Francorchamps, beating Bonaldi Motorsport team-mates Danny Kroes and Sergei Afanasiev. The British pairing started fourth on the grid and held that position until the mandatory pit-stops, with Middleton pulling off a magical manoeuvre to pass three cars in two corners to seize the lead.
Pre-event championship leaders Vito Postiglione and Kikko Galbiati started the race from pole position but fell back early on as Postiglione got a slow getaway from the rolling start. The Imperiale Racing Huracán dropped to eight at the end of the opening lap and was quickly forced out of the race after making contact with the Leipert Motorsport car of Anthony Lambert at the La Source hairpin on the second lap.
Karol Basz assumed the lead in the #8 Imperiale Racing car from Danny Kroes and build a comfortable, if slender 1.525 second lead in the opening laps. Kroes then began to eat into this deficit and was right on the tail of Basz as the pit window loomed. By the time the window opened, the #66 Micanek Motorsport car of Josef Zaruba had joined the leading trio and leapfrogged both the #3 of Afanasiev – taking over from Kroes – and the #8 – now with Bartosz Paziewski at the wheel – to take the lead.
Middleton took over from Bartholomew a lap before and used the evolving track conditions and extra lap to put in a strong out lap from the pits. The British driver then slipstreamed past Paziewski through Eau Rouge and Raidillon to take third place on the exit, before breezing past Afanasiev on the run down the Kemmel Straight. Middleton then went around the outside of Jakub Knoll – in place of Zaruba – to spectacularly grab the lead at Les Combes. Knoll dropped back down the field and finished sixth following a terrific battle for fourth with the Sladecka Motorsport car of Philip/Samuel Sladecka and the Target Racing machine of Alberto di Folco and Davide Venditti. Di Folco came out on top in that battle ahead of Sladecka, with Knoll finishing just ahead of the leading Am class pairing of Mikko Eskelinen and Jake Rattenbury.
Eskelinen and Rattenbury were rarely challenged during the race, having made a good start from the class pole. The pair duked it out with Lambert and Postiglione in the early stages and made the most of the latter duo’s collision to run a solid sixth overall. Robert Zwinger finished second in class and 10th overall, with the #89 AGS Events car of Nico Gomar and Gilles Vannelet completing the podium.
With Harald Schlegelmilch absent in the ArtLine Team Georgia team this weekend, Shota Abkhazava was partnered by Frenchman Julien Falchero in the #12 Huracán, and the pair claimed another victory in the Pro-Am category.
Francois and Benoit Semoulin claimed yet another Lamborghini Cup triumph in their #26 Semspeed car with 13th overall, ahead of AGS Events’ Joseph Collado.
In the Pro category, Kroes and Afanasiev now lead the standings on 83 points, 10 clear of Postiglione and Galbiati and their team-mates Basz and Paziewski.