Oregon Team pairing Leonardo Pulcini and Kevin Gilardoni extended their Lamborghini Super Trofeo Europe points lead after recording a fourth victory of the season in a rain-affected second race at Spa-Francorchamps. The duo inherited pole position following the withdrawal of main title rivals Noah Watt and Sebastian Balthasar (#2 Leipert Motorsport Lamborghini Huracán Super Trofeo Evo) following their Race 1 crash and led either side of the mandatory pit-stop window.
Watt and Balthasar had taken their second pole position of the season during Friday’s qualifying session, but the team was unfortunately unable to make the necessary repairs to the car in time for the race. Therefore, it was Pulcini who led from the rolling start under menacing rain clouds from the Target Racing car of Glenn van Berlo and Bonaldi Motorsport’s Race 1 winner Daan Pijl. Pulcini quickly opened a lead of just over a second, but van Berlo pegged the #11 Oregon Team car back to eight-tenths as the lead gap ebbed and flowed.
Soon enough, the rain arrived in the final sector, forcing the field to take extra care as the mandatory pit-stop window neared. Some, like Bonaldi Motorsport’s Miloš Pavlović and Daan Pijl elected to make their stops at the earliest opportunity while Pulcini, van Berlo, Milan Teekens (Johan Kraan Motorsports) and Mattia Michelotto (VS Racing) braved the worsening track conditions.
Pulcini was the last of the leaders to pit with 22 minutes remaining and, had it not been for a safety intervention due to Andrea Cola spinning at the top of Raidillon, the #11 would have emerged with a lead of nearly 20 seconds over van Berlo. As it was, the field was bunched up once more, but Gilardoni made a superb restart to gap Cola’s Target Racing team-mate.
From there, it was a case of job done for Gilardoni, who controlled his pace at the front and allowed van Berlo’s team-mate Raúl Guzman to battle with Teekens’ team-mate Maxime Oosten and the leading Pro-Am car of Karol Basz for second. Basz, in particular, was impressive during his stint and he overtook Johan Kraan Motorsports’ Max Weering before taking Michelotto, Guzman and finally Oosten on the very last lap to snatch second.
Basz’s charge wasn’t enough to get the better of Gilardoni however, who, alongside Pulcini have extended their advantage at the top of the overall standings with their fourth success of the year and building a 21-point championship lead over Weering.
Race winner Leonardo Pulcini (#11 Oregon Team) said: “We spent a long time yesterday thinking and talking about this race today, that we need to be smarter than the others. Of course, we are sad that Watt and Balthasar did not race today, I hope Noah is okay. It was a really tricky race, I think we had a very good strategy, and my stint was good, I had a lot of fun driving it. When it started raining, I was talking with my engineer almost every corner about when to pit, but I made the decision to stay out for longer because I saw a bit of sun coming, one corner was raining and another not, so it was tricky. Unluckily the safety car came out, otherwise we would have had a big lead, but Kevin did a great job at the restart. Now we have a good gap in the points, but it is definitely too early to talk about the championship.”
Team-mate Kevin Gilardoni added: “The team did an amazing strategy, and Leo drove so well. We’re so happy and we need to continue this for the rest of the championship. We drove the race completely on slick tyres during the rain. It was so hard to race because one lap it was raining and the other lap it was not. There was sometimes grip, sometimes no grip so it was difficult, but we managed it.”
Basz and Lewandowski’s dominance of the Pro-Am class this season was confirmed thanks to another superb drive to the overall podium, with Basz showing a cool head to snatch the runner-up spot behind Gilardoni at the final corner. The Polish crew started 13th on the grid, while class polesitter Pavlović and Petar Matić started sixth but made early inroads as the conditions deteriorated. The Micanek Motorsport car of Josef Zaruba had been in contention early on but a collision with Michelotto’s VS Racing car at La Source following a botched overtaking attempt caused an early end to their race. That gave Dan Wells and Oscar Lee (Leipert Motorsport) second place and the pair stayed there until the end.
After missing both of Friday’s qualifying sessions due to a loose wheel, AKF Motorsport’s Oliver Freymuth recorded a sensational 11th place finish to secure the Am class victory. Freymuth, like the vast majority of the field, completed the whole on slick tyres and ran as high as eighth in the closing stages. However, the German chose to deploy more caution in the final laps to make sure of the win. Boutsen Ginion’s Claude-Yves Gosselin and Marc Rostan finished second with Leipert Motorsport’s Gabriel Rindone third.
In the Lamborghini Cup, Hans Fabri claimed the victory for Imperiale Racing, ahead of fellow Dutchman Gerard van der Horst. Libor Dvoracek (Micanek Motorsport) had looked set to finish as Fabri’s closest challenger but lost second following a spin at Bruxelles, eventually ending up third.
The next stop for the Lamborghini Super Trofeo Europe season is the famous Nürburgring circuit in the Eifel Mountains of Germany, on the opening weekend of September.
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