Lamborghini Super Trofeo Europe: Stoneman Takes Title at Paul Ricard

Stoneman makes title move with Paul Ricard Race 1 win

Bonaldi Motorsport’s Dean Stoneman claimed his third overall win of the 2020 Lamborghini Super Trofeo Europe season after a commanding performance in the opening race of the weekend at Paul Ricard. Stoneman briefly lost out to title rival Kevin Gilardoni (Oregon Team) after the pit-stops but wrestled the lead back with 20 minutes remaining to secure the victory.

The field of 23 Lamborghini Huracán ST Evos had to battle a falling afternoon sun throughout the 50-minute encounter, with Stoneman fending off Gilardoni’s team-mate Dorian Boccolacci during a lively opening lap. Boccolacci settled for second, while Miloš Pavlović (Target Racing) maintained third place despite running outside of the track limits marker at Signes.

Stoneman quickly opened up a three-second margin over Boccolacci, who in turn had the legs on Pavlović. The Serbian veteran appeared to struggle in his stint as the GSM Racing Huracán of Jonathan Cecotto began to launch an attack for third place. That scrap continued all the way until the pit-stop window, with Pavlović impressively holding off the faster Cecotto behind. Karol Basz, in the Pro-Am title-winning #16 VS Racing car was also in the mix and the trio waited until the final minute of the 10-minute pit window before handing over to their co-drivers.

Stoneman and Boccolacci’s cars had already been in and out of the pits, with the former having to serve an extra three seconds at his box as a solo driver. Despite this, the #11 was handed a 1.698s post-race penalty as his Oregon Team released Gilardoni before the minimum pit-stop time elapsed.

While Gilardoni briefly held the lead over Stoneman, the Bonaldi Motorsport driver was quickly onto the tail of the #11 and swept past back into the lead at the Beausset corner. From then on, Stoneman – who himself received a post-race time penalty of 0.420s – comfortably claimed the victory.

Second on the road was Gilardoni but that became third as Alberto di Folco – alongside team-mate Kevin Rossel – dragged his Target Racing car up to within half a second of the Oregon Team machine, thus inheriting the runner-up spot. Off the podium was Max Weering (Johan Kraan Motosport) who recorded yet another impressive fourth place, ahead of Cecotto’s team-mate Patrick Liddy. Championship newcomers Maxime Oosten and Milan Teekens scored a sensational sixth overall in the second Johan Kraan Motorsport entry.

Stoneman’s win and double pole position means that the British driver closed to within half a point of the Swiss driver in the standing heading into the final race of the season. Whichever crew finishes ahead of the other in Sunday’s second 50-minute encounter, will be crowned champion.

Dean Stoneman (#33 Bonaldi Motorsport): “I’m lost for words. That was a really tough race, the tyres in the last few laps were finished, so I just backed the car right off and brought home really. Good points for the championships, obviously with two poles in qualifying and victory today. The #11 car was quite slow at the end of the pitlane, it was backing off a bit which cost me a lot of time. But we still won, and I can’t wait to fight tomorrow.”

Basz and Lewandowski completed another routine Pro-Am victory for VS Racing, having spent much of the opening stint (with Basz at the wheel) squabbling among the top Pro runners. Lewandowski took over at the stops and brought the #16 car home seventh overall. Micanek Motorsport’s Josef Zaruba finished second in class, 10th overall, just ahead of the Leipert Motorsport pairing of Mikko Eskelinen and Elias Niskanen.

The battle for the Am title took another twist as Leipert Motorsport’s Fidel Leib and Yury Wagner claimed their fourth class win in a row to move to within 1.5 points of Target Racing’s Massimo Mantovani. Only Wagner or Mantovani can win the title as both Leib and Mantovani’s team-mate Dilantha Malagamuwa have not contest all the rounds.

Autovitesse’s Cedric Leimer led the early stages in the class but would receive a five-second post-race penalty for a start infringement. It mattered little in the end as the Swiss driver retired shortly after the pit-stops. This handed the lead to Wagner/Leib, whose task was made easier after Malagamuwa suffered a left-rear puncture. Malagamuwa and Mantovani were classified in eighth but need to finish ahead of the Wagner/Leib combination in Sunday’s second race to win the title.

In Lamborghini Cup, Hervé Leimer took the win ahead of Micanek Motorsport’s Kurt Wagner and Libor Dvoracek, while class champion Hans Fabri finished third after spinning early on.

Stoneman crowned champion at Paul Ricard as Balthasar/Watt claim maiden win

Leipert Motorsport’s Sebastian Balthasar and Noah Watt secured their maiden Lamborghini Super Trofeo Europe win in the final race of the season at Paul Ricard, while Dean Stoneman (Bonaldi Motorsport) wrapped up the title with a second-place finish. Stoneman’s chief championship rival Kevin Gilardoni (Oregon Team) had been running ahead of Stoneman early in the race, but his title aspirations disappeared following a spin at Turn 2.

Stoneman started from pole position but lost out to the Alberto di Folco (Target Racing) and Gilardoni at Turns 1 and 2 and fell to third. Things got worse for Stoneman as the GSM Racing car of Patrick Liddy also got around the British driver at Turn 4 on the opening lap.

Di Folco and Gilardoni, although in front of Stoneman, incurred the wrath of the stewards after gaining their positions off-track. Di Folco was ordered to cede his place back to Stoneman – who had slid back ahead of Liddy at Turn 2 – while Gilardoni’s hopes vanished with a spin exiting the same corner a lap earlier.

Gilardoni ran slightly wide at the sweeping right-hander, going onto the kerbs on the outside. His Oregon Team #11 car bounced over a secondary lot of kerbs, pitching the car into a spin across the paths of both Liddy and Stoneman. The car fell to 11th place but made a strong recovery in the hands of team-mate Dorian Boccolacci to finish eighth by the flag.

Having been let past by di Folco, Stoneman was in the lead, but Di Folco did not let the champion-in-waiting get away. Di Folco, who claimed victory with Danish team-mate Kevin Rossel at the Nürburgring, was never more than half a second adrift of Stoneman before the pit window opened.

Stoneman pitted one lap before di Folco and faced the problem of a malfunctioning pit-lane speed limiter which forced him to manage the speed himself.

Rossel took over from Di Folco and remained in the lead as the #2 Leipert Motorsport car of Watt emerged in second place after being handed over to Balthasar. Stoneman wasn’t far behind and the top three were right together entering the closing stages of the 50-minute race.

While Stoneman was happy to sit back in third, Balthasar was all over the back of Rossel and made an initial lunge for the lead at Turn 5 with 10 minutes remaining. The German ran too deep and was forced to slot back into second behind Rossel, but an identical dive on the following resulted in contact between the pair and Balthasar in the lead.

The incident was briefly investigated but no further action was taken, allowing Balthasar to streak home over five seconds clear of Stoneman who also got past Rossel for second. Cecotto, who had taken over from Liddy began making inroads into the podium fight along with Rossel’s Target Racing team-mate Miloš Pavlović.

Pavlović tried to pass Rossel at the Turn 9 chicane, and then again at the fast Beausset corner, narrowly avoiding contact. The contact did come however at Turn 12, with Pavlović getting ahead for third and Rossel dropping two places to fifth.

Pavlović’s third place didn’t last long as the Serbian spun wildly out of Turn 2, which gave Cecotto the final place on the podium and Rossel fourth at the end.

But Balthasar and Watt kept their noses clean to secure the victory, with Stoneman overhauling a 0.5-point deficit coming into the final race of the season, to claim the championship.

Sebastian Balthasar (#2 Leipert Motorsport): “We had great pace today, I have to say a big thank you to my team Leipert Motorsport, it was amazing. I was told to just go for it, make a gap and go for the victory, [it was a] really nice race. In the beginning, we struggled a bit but then Noah got up to P3 and we went for it [in the second stint], had a good pit-stop and we did it.”

Noah Watt (#2 Leipert Motorsport): “I had no idea how he did it, it was a crazy race. At the start I had some problems getting some heat into the tyres but when I got that, I really got into a good flow and found the speed. But then at the end of my stint, the tyres seemed pretty dead, especially in sector three. He came out [of the pits] and did a purple sector, I’ve no idea how he did it. I want to give a big shout out to all my family and sponsors and of course the team for providing us with a car capable of winning. It’s the perfect way to end the season.”

Dean Stoneman (#33 Bonaldi Motorsport) on winning the title: “At last! It’s been a challenging season with some pretty big ups and down. That last race there was very tough, yesterday we struggled with the tyres a bit and it was exactly the same today. The pit-lane speed limiter wasn’t working either, so I had to manually the pit-lane entry, the timer wasn’t working on the dash, so I also had to rely on the team on when to go, when to stop. It was a bit of a mish-mash but at the end of the day, second in the second race and with the championship is amazing.”

Leipert Motorsport’s Yury Wagner secured the Am class title after he and team-mate Fidel Leib claimed their sixth victory in a row. The pairing started from pole but fell behind the #63 Autovitesse entry of Cedric Leimer in the early stages.

Unfortunately for Leimer, his chances of the race win fell by the wayside after receiving a drivethrough penalty for speeding in the pit-lane during his compulsory stop. Leimer did, however, finish second in Am, just ahead of the Boutsen Ginion Racing car of Claude-Yves Gosselin and Giuseppe Fascicolo. Erstwhile points leader Massimo Mantovani and Dilantha Malagamuwa had a frustrating race in their #53 Target Racing car and finished fourth in class.

In Pro-Am, VS Racing’s Karol Basz and Andrzej Lewandowski claimed their ninth class win in 10 races to cap off an utterly dominant season, while Leipert Motorsport’s Elias Niskanen and Mikko Eskelinen finished second, just 0.422s ahead of Josef Zaruba’s Micanek Motorsport entry.

Brothers Donovan and Luciano Privitelio came out on top in Lamborghini Cup, winning the class for FFF Racing some 13.641s clear of champion Hans Fabri (Imperiale Racing). Pole-sitter Hervé Leimer (Autovitesse) completed the podium.

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