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Lamborghini Super Trofeo Europe, Oregon Team completes double victory at Paul Ricard

Kevin Gilardoni and Leonardo Pulcini survived a post-race time penalty to claim their second consecutive victory of the Lamborghini Super Trofeo Europe weekend at Paul Ricard and move into the lead of the Pro standings. The duo, at the wheel of the #11 Oregon Team Huracán Super Trofeo Evo, started second on the grid with Pulcini overtaking the pole Leipert Motorsport car of Noah Watt at Turn 2 and maintaining the advantage either side of the pit-stop window to take the spoils.

Such was the topsy-turvy nature of the race that Johan Kraan Motorsports’ Max Weering finished second despite losing time avoiding an incident in front of him, while VS Racing’s Mattia Michelotto and Michael Dörrbecker claimed their maiden podium in third after a time penalty for Jonathan Cecotto and Kevin Rossel (GSM Racing).

Having claimed their first win of the season on corrected time following a penalty for on-the-road winners Cecotto and Rossel, the #11 Oregon Team Huracán Super Trofeo Evo started strongly with Pulcini at the wheel. The Italian claimed the lead from Watt on the exit of Turn 2 but did so by leaving the track, therefore receiving a three-second penalty, applied after the race. Close behind Watt was Cecotto who showed strong speed in the opening stint but was unable to find a way past the Leipert car. Leading the Pro-Am category in a superb fourth was Bonaldi Motorsport’s Miloš Pavlović, putting aside a disappointing Race 1 early on.

No sooner had the race started to settle into a rhythm was it neutralised after the GT3 Poland Huracán of Artur Hawryluc spun at start of the Mistral Straight, his car stopped and unable to continue. The safety car was therefore deployed, bunching the pack up once more before restarting just six minutes before the pit window opened.

Those further back in the field sensibly opted to make their compulsory stop early in the 10-minute window, with Target Racing’s Raúl Guzman the first of the top Pro runners to pit, having lost a place at the safety car restart to the Micanek Motorsport car of Josef Zaruba. Sensing his opportunity to make progress before his stop, Cecotto piled the pressure onto Watt for second but the order remained the same once each pitted and swapped with Kevin Rossel and Sebastian Balthasar respectively.

Rossel and Balthasar – to their detriment and Gilardoni’s advantage – fought hard for second place but ultimately cost themselves too much to inherit the victory. Their chances were given another blow when both receive time penalties for being under the minimum pit-stop time. Balthasar was handed a 0.477s penalty, while Rossel had to serve 1.482s at the end of the race.

Still, they battled until Rossel out-braked himself at the chicane and lost a place at Beausset to Johan Kraan Motorsports’ Maxime Oosten who had taken over from Milan Teekens for the second sint. But the action was not over there, as the second Johan Kraan Motorsports car of Max Weering joined the fight, as did the Target Racing machine of Glenn van Berlo who had moved into third and fourth respectively.

Oosten then attacked Balthasar around the outside of Signes but couldn’t complete the pass; instead, the Dutchman waited until the main straight to pull alongside the Leipert Motorsport car in an attempt to overtake at Turn 1. But slight contact was made and Oosten spun at Turn 2, with Weering having to take to the escape road in avoidance. That allowed van Berlo up into third place, which became second after a lovely divebomb pass on the inside of Balthasar at the final corner one lap later.

However, any chance van Berlo had of winning disappeared after contact with the LB Cup backmarker Pierre Feligioni at the chicane. Rossel – who had earlier in the lap passed Weering for third after contact between the Dutch driver and Balthasar – had to avoid the pair but dropped back behind Weering on exit. Michelotto, who took over from Dörrbecker was fourth, but that ended up being third following Cecotto and Rossel’s time penalty.

Race winner Leonardo Pulcini (#11 Oregon Team) said: “I had a very good jump, but I think I got hit from behind so that’s why I cut the chicane to receive the three-second penalty. I pushed so hard and could pull a gap, but luckily the safety car came in [early] and I could build a gap and have the fastest lap of the race. At the end of my stint, I was suffering a bit with the tyres so I decided not to push anymore so that Kevin had something to work with.”

Team-mate Gilardoni added: “As Leo said yesterday, we didn’t win on the track but today we won on the track so I am so happy because you never know what the car will be like in the second stint. I started to push hard from the first corner, but I found a limit for myself and I kept to that limit.”

The Pro-Am victory went the way of Micanek Motorsport’s Zaruba and Bromek Formanek following a last-lap collision between the #22 Huracán and the VS Racing of Karol Basz and Andrzej Lewandowski Lewandowski qualified 17th and struggled to make sufficient inroads to the leading Micanek car of Zaruba, but Basz forced his way through for the on-the-road win with the places later reversed by the stewards.

Having been beaten at the start, Giannoni eventually came home to win the Am class ahead of Rindone, while Leimer’s team-mate Laurent Jenny faltered in his stint. Giannoni wins Am ahead of Leipert Motorsport team-mates Rindone and Calvin Ray. Jenny finished fourth at the finish, with Boutsen Ginion’s Claude-Yves Gosselin and Renaud Kuppens fourth.

In the Lamborghini Cup, Donovan and Luciano Privitelio claimed their first class triumph for FFF Racing, beating the class points leader Fabri by almost five seconds. Feligioni, after his contact with van Berlo was fourth.

Lamborghini Super Trofeo Europe: Gilardoni and Pulcini take victory at Paul Ricard

Oregon Team’s Kevin Gilardoni and Leonardo Pulcini claimed their first Lamborghini Super Trofeo Europe victory of the season, profiting from two penalties for on-the-road winners Jonathan Cecotto and Kevin Rossel (GSM Racing). Gilardoni and Pulcini started the race fourth on the grid but lost ground early on after contact at Turn 1 but stayed out of trouble and remained fast throughout to come out on top.

The polesitting VS Racing #6 Lamborghini Huracán ST Evo of Karol Basz and Andrzej Lewandowski led off the rolling start, withstanding a fierce assault from the Bonaldi Motorsport car of Daan Pijl who went toe-to-toe with Basz as the field entered the first corner. Pijl couldn’t quite stay alongside Basz and was forced to take to the escape road, dropping two places to fourth. That allowed the #2 Leipert Motorsport entry of Sebastian Balthasar to climb up to second place, albeit Balthasar soon being hamstrung by a five-second post-race time penalty for a start procedure infringement. The same penalty also applied to the #7 GSM Racing Huracán of Rossel who, like Pijl, also had to use the extra road at Turn 1 to avoid contact.

Basz was untroubled after his early brush with Pijl and quickly opened up a commanding lead of over three seconds from Balthasar at the end of the opening lap. Behind Balthasar and soon on the tail of the Leipert Motorsport car was Glenn van Berlo (#41 Target Racing), who maintained his third place at the start. The best start in the Pro class went to Mattia Michelotto who leapt from ninth on the grid to fifth by the end of the opening lap, as Gilardoni dropped to eighth following slight contact.

Such was the quality of Basz’s start that the Pole’s nearest challenger in Pro-Am came from Dan Wells in 10th place. However, the order in the Am category was turned on its head after a super start from Imperiale Racing’s Hans Fabri enabled the Dutch driver to leapfrog two places to lead early on.

The pace at the front soon settled down as Basz held a margin of nearly 10 seconds over Balthasar and van Berlo before the pit window opened. Lewandowski took over from Basz who, like van Berlo and Pijl, waited until the last moment to switch over to their co-drivers, Lewandowski, Raúl Guzman and Erik Mayrik respectively.

Mayrink emerged ahead of Guzman leaving the pits – as Lewnadowski maintained the lead – but was divebombed at Turn 6 by Pulcini who had taken over from Gilardoni early in the window and now on warm tyres. Guzman also made the most of Mayrink being displaced to take fifth on the road.

All the while, Cecotto had elevated himself to third following the stops – despite being penalised for a second time for being under the minimum pit-stop time – and began chasing down Noah Watt, who took over the commands of the #2 Leipert car from Balthasar.

Cecotto’s pace was unquestionable, and he duly overtook both Watt and Lewandowski to take the on-the-road victory by over four seconds, but it was not enough of a margin to keep the win once the penalties had been applied. Despite a penalty, Balthasar and Watt moved into the lead of the Pro category points standings, as Johan Kraan Motorsports’ Max Weering was deprived of a fourth-place finish in the final minute and only finished 16th.

Second in Pro-Am was the Micanek Motorsport duo of Josef Zaruba and Bromek Formanek, some 14 seconds in arrears at the finish. The Czech pairing were comfortably ahead of Target Racing’s Dmitry Gvazava and Andrea Cola, who completed the podium.

The Am class went down to the wire as Leipert Motorsport’s Gabriel Rindone came out on top, beating Raffaele Giannoni by just eight-tenths of a second. The battle had been race-long with Giannoni initially leading the way before being usurped by Rindone after the pit-stops. The pair remained close together, with Rindone just edging it at the finish. Calvin Ray made it two Leipert cars on the podium in third.

In the Lamborghini Cup, Hans Fabri moved into the lead of the points with victory for Imperiale Racing, finishing 6.8 seconds clear of Boutsen Ginion’s Daniel Waszczinski and Pierre Feligioni, with FFF Racing Team’s Donovan and Luciano Privitelio third.

Race winner Leonardo Pulcini (#11 Oregon Team) said: “I’m really happy with the victory, even though it wasn’t the way in which we wanted to do it, by finishing second. But I didn’t really expect to be in this position after leaving the pits in P6 or P7. I pushed as hard as I could, the car was amazing and Kevin also did an amazing job. Today we started fourth and we won after pushing a lot, tomorrow we start from second and maybe we can build a gap and do it again.”

Team-mate Kevin Gilardoni added: “It was a really difficult race, especially in the first corner where everyone brakes late and goes straight on and we were like P7 or P8. In the beginning, I struggled with the tyres but then the car was really good after. Our team did an amazing job, and Leonardo as well.”

In the Am class, the drama was just as intense, with Giannoni retiring from the lead on the very same lap as Target Racing team-mate Guzman. The Italian veteran had held a comfortable margin over Autovitesse’s Cedric Leimer but pulled off at the first corner. Leimer then held the lead before coming under pressure from Renaud Kuppens on the final tour. The pair went side-by-side out of the Parabolica curve, with Kuppens stealing the victory by just 0.022s and finishing an incredible eighth overall.

The second 50-minute race of the weekend is scheduled to start tomorrow at 11.20 CET and will be live streamed on the Lamborghini Squadra Corse official YouTube channel and Facebook page.

2021 Lamborghini Super Trofeo Europe Calendar

Round 1: Monza (Italy), 16-18 April

Round 2: Le Castellet (France), 28-30 May

Round 3: Zandvoort (Netherlands), 18-20 June

Round 4: Spa-Francorchamps (Belgium) 29 July-1 August

Round 5: Nürburgring (Germany) 3-5 September

Round 6: Misano Adriatico (Italy), 28-29 October

Lamborghini World Final

Misano Adriatico (Italy), 30-31 October

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