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.