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The GRT Grasser Racing Team made an impressive start to the 70th Total 24 Hours of Spa, running in the seventh round of the Blancpain GT Series.

The race began in perfect conditions with bright sunshine and air temperatures of +25°C at the Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps.

Mirko Bortolotti, who shares the #63 Lamborghini Huracán GT3 with Christian Engelhart and Andrea Caldarelli, took the start from eighth. Franck Perera was at the wheel of the fourteenth placed the #82 driving alongside Rolf Ineichen and Phil Keen, with the #19 of Marco Mapelli, Raffaele Giammaria and Ezequiel Perez Companc in P28.

After the opening hour, all cars had made steady progress and at the end of the second hour Bortolotti moved the #63 up to an impressive P3, while Perera in #82 was running in P6. Marco Mapelli handed over the #19 to Ezequiel Perez Companc from P23.

Soon after the fourth hour, the team suffered misfortune as Caldarelli had made heavy contact with Garage 59’s #58 McLaren, causing significant damage to both cars. The teams #63 lead car was forced to pit moments later, whilst also taking a 30-second stop-go penalty due to the collision. After lengthy repairs Caldarelli rejoined the race, but now with a 7 lap gap behind the race front runner. Unfortunately, the team decided to stop the race for the #63 Lamborghini Huracán GT3 because of the technical issues suffered in the earlier accident.

The next phase of the race saw the #19 with Companc running in P19, while Perera in the #82 is P12.

Mirko Bortolotti (Lamborghini Huracán GT3 #63): “I’m super proud of what we did here.  There was a lot of effort and hard work. I’m proud with the performance and the work that we did and all the guys in our team. It was a fantastic quali, a great lap in the Super Pole session, two strong first stints, moving from P8 to P3 and fighting together with the two top cars for basically the lead of the race. Then I handed over the car to Christian who did a great job as well. Unfortunately, after that Andrea had a little accident with #58 McLaren, which destroyed our race. That’s why we had to retire and obviously that wasn’t the best outcome for us but it’s part of racing and something that can happen. So, this is the reason why we cannot achieve what we were aiming for. Never-the-less, as I said I want to thank the whole team and all the fans and supporters for a lot of love during this weekend.”

Andrea Caldarelli (Lamborghini Huracán GT3 #63): “It’s so disappointing and unfortunate how this race ended. I wasn’t expecting that there was a battle ahead between a few cars in front. When we were already full throttle, I had heavy contact with the #58 McLaren. The car just slowed down, and I couldn’t do anything to avoid it. I’m very upset because the car felt very good. But a big thanks to all the team who did a fantastic job, we will come back stronger in the next race.”

Franck Perera (Lamborghini Huracán GT3 #82): “I’m quite happy for my first double stint. We got off to a great start. I passed a couple of cars and moved up through the grid. Unfortunately, on the straights we had a little bit less speed, so a few cars passed me again. We started from P14 and after my first stint I moved the car up to P10. The car wasn’t so easy, I think the pressure was quite high and it was difficult, but I think it was the same for everyone. My second stint was really good too and the car was better, for sure. We continued to fight and moved the car up to P6 after two hours.”

Marco Mapelli (Lamborghini Huracán GT3 #19):“My stint was very good. I gained ten positions and now we are in currently in the top 20. We are trying to stay out of trouble. Our pace is to stay in the top 15. I think we are trying hard to make no mistakes and just keep driving.”

Source. GRT Grasser Racing Team


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