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.
The second race of the weekend is scheduled to take place tomorrow morning at 11:55 CEST.