Daan Pijl and Danny Kroes recorded the first Lamborghini Super Trofeo Europe victory for Bonaldi Motorsport in the 2021 season after a superb drive from third on the grid at Spa-Francorchamps. Kroes made a strong start in the #33 Lamborghini Huracán Super Trofeo Evo to move into second place, while quick pit work allowed Pijl to leapfrog the polesitting #7 Novamarine – GSM Racing car of Kevin Rossel and Jonathan Cecotto for the win.
At the start, Cecotto translated his second pole position of the year into an early lead as Kroes dived up the inside of the #2 Leipert Motorsport car of Sebastian Balthasar on the entry to La Source. Further back, there was drama for the Johan Kraan Motorsports car of Maxime Oosten, who spun at the first turn following contact with the Pro-Am polesitter Karol Basz (VS Racing). Basz narrowly avoided another incident during the opening lap as the championship-leading Oregon Team #11 car of Kevin Gilardoni spun at Les Combes, dropping the Swiss driver to 17th place by the time the field returned to the start-finish straight for the second lap.
The pole, and Pro-Am points leader alongside team-mate Andrzej Lewandowski, showed impressive speed in the early going, attacking Balthasar for third overall at Les Combes and then Bruxelles before making a pass off the track at Turn 11. The move was deemed to be done by exceeding track limits and the race stewards instructed Basz to relinquish the position, which he did.
Out front, Cecotto maintained a margin of around two seconds over the chasing Kroes during his stint, but the 2019 champion produced a spirited fightback as the pit window opened after 20 minutes to close the deficit back to just over a second. Both drivers stayed out for the bulk of the 10-minute window, with Cecotto pitting three minutes before the end and swapping with Rossel. Kroes waited until the last possible moment to pull the #33 into the pits, changing with compatriot Pijl, who re-joined marginally in front of Rossel leaving the pits.
The race was, however, soon neutralised following a high-speed crash for the title contending Leipert Motorsport #2 Huracán Super Trofeo Evo of Noah Watt, who had taken over from Balthasar. The Danish driver ran wide at Blanchimont and lost the rear of the car, spinning into the wall before the Bus Stop chicane. Heavily winded in the incident, Watt did manage to extricate himself unaided, but the safety car was deployed as a result.
Having built up a lead of 1.5s, Pijl saw his advantage negated but produced a strong restart with four minutes remaining to ease to his maiden Super Trofeo victory, and the first for Kroes since his triumph in Race 2 at the same circuit in 2019. Behind, Weering fended off a fierce challenge from the Target Racing entry of Glenn van Berlo who, with Raúl Guzman, pulled off a remarkable recovery from 14th on the grid to end up fourth.
Another great fightback drive came from Gilardoni and Leonardo Pulcini who, with Watt and Balthasar’s retirement, extend their points advantage at the top of the standings thanks to a sterling performance from the pair to finish where they started, in fifth.
Race winner Daan Pijl (#33 Bonaldi Motorsport) said: “This victory is redemption for the missed opportunity at Zandvoort. It was a pity that, because of Noah’s crash, I didn’t really get a chance to race. It was actually more exciting to watch Danny’s stint than mine because of the safety car, but we are really happy with the result. The car was great, Danny did a great job passing Sebastian at the start and the team put me out in front of Cecotto at the pit-stops. We need to stay focused for the rest of the weekend and the rest of the season, there’s not a lot more we can learn about the car for tomorrow, we have a lot of data, and we’ll see what happens.”
Team-mate Danny Kroes commented: “Today is my first Super Trofeo win since I think here two years ago. Then, we didn’t win the first race because we got held up in qualifying but today, we won the first race and I think we have chance for tomorrow as well. The pace has been really good, and the team is working hard to get the car even better. I think we can finish it off. [For me], it’s practice for the World Finals, that’s where it counts.”
In the Pro-Am class, Basz and Lewandowski strengthened their points lead with another victory in the #16 VS Racing Lamborghini Huracán ST Evo, beating the Micanek Motorsport entry of Josef Zaruba and Bromek Formanek by just under half a second. Such was the ebb and flow nature of the race, that the Leipert Motorsport car of Dan Wells and Oscar Lee finished just a further half-second behind following the safety car restart. The Toro Verde GT pairing of David Fairbrother and Jordan Witt failed to start the race after a crash at Blanchimont during qualifying. The team could not repair the car in time and will also miss tomorrow’s second 50-minute encounter.
The Am class battle was won by Leipert Motorsport’s Gerhard Watzinger in similarly close fashion, beating team-mates Matthias Hoffsümmer and Ray Calvin by just a quarter of a second. Marc Rostan and Claude-Yves Gosselin finished on the podium in third for Boutsen Ginion Racing. Oliver Freymuth, after losing a wheel in qualifying, was allowed to start by the race stewards and finished a strong fourth for AKF Motorsport. Early leader Gabriel Rindone had been in the mix for victory but was handed a 30-second post-race time penalty.
Boutsen Ginion’s Daniel Waszczinski and Pierre Feligioni recorded their third Lamborghini Cup victory of the year to boost their championship chances. The French duo moved into the lead of the standings as Imperiale Racing’s Hans Fabri could only manage third place behind the returning Gerard van der Horst.
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