After a week of testing in extreme heat at VIRginia International Raceway, the weather turned friendly for Saturday’s Round 5 of Fanatec GT World Challenge America Powered by AWS. The beautiful day was capped off with victory from the pole for Andrea Caldarelli & Michele Beretta, who share the No. 1 K-PAX Racing Lamborghini Huracán GT3 EVO.
“That was an interesting race, had its ups and downs, but obviously we’re very proud of the No. 1 car with Andrea and Michele,” said K-PAX Racing Program Manager Darren Law. “It was a great run, and they had a solid first and second stint without really any problems, so no need to say much more than that for them.”
Beretta held the lead from the start in the No. 1 Huracán GT3 EVO, followed closely by teammate Misha Goikhberg in the No. 3, who took 2nd place before the first turn of the fist lap after starting 3rd. The duo fought at the front through several rounds of full course yellows, constantly battling competitors on the restarts.
Just before the halfway pit stop cycle began, Goikhberg was spun and had to nurse a cut tire back to the pits, losing time. He turned over driving duties to co-driver Jordan Pepper, with Beretta handing the No. 1 over to Caldarelli on the following lap. Caldarelli drove off into the sunset, building to a lead of 17.57 seconds before the checkered flag on lap 47. Pepper was charging towards the front, but complications presented themselves, and Jordan had to call off his pursuit.
“Earlier, Misha [Goikhberg] was hit by another car and was spun, that did some damage to the right rear corner of the car,” explained Law. “It was enough that Jordan [Pepper] had to back off to bring it home to maximize our points for the season.”
Despite the 7th overall, 2nd in class finish for the No. 3 Huracán GT3 EVO, K-PAX Racing captured a strong result in the big picture.
“It was great for the team and we extend our lead in the championship as well as our win streak,” said Law.
That win streak features victory in every single round of the GT World Challenge America season so far, five wins total. To date, K-PAX Racing now holds 70 wins and 172 podiums in the series.
Andrea Caldarelli – No. 1 Lamborghini Huracán GT3 EVO (Race 1 – 1st) – “It went quite well. Michele [Beretta] did a good job to keep it in front. The start was intense with all of the fighting at the front. We knew that it was going to be a very hard race because we were struggling on pace a bit, as we saw this morning in qualifying. But we did some setup changes, and it was quite a lot better. We are here to improve all the time, and I think we took some steps forward. Looking forward to tomorrow.”
Michele Beretta – No. 1 Lamborghini Huracán GT3 EVO (Race 1 – 1st) – “It felt good in the first few laps. I think the safety car laps did not help, we could have really built up a good gap with our pace. It was very tricky on the restarts, with the low pressure and a lot of pickup on the tires, so I had to be very careful. I tried to pull away the maximum I could, because I knew that the second stint would be the tougher one, especially for Andrea [Caldarelli] with the speed of our competitors. He drove well and we were able to take the victory.”
Jordan Pepper – No. 3 Lamborghini Huracán GT3 EVO (Race 1 – 3rd) – “We finished P3, which was very good on one hand, but still frustrating because we had the pace to get to P2. The car was very good and Misha [Goikhberg] did an incredible job at the start. Then we got bashed off & taken out again just before the pit window, and I pushed as hard as I could in the car, but there was definitely something wrong in the rear and nothing more I could do, so we’ll take P3.”
Misha Goikhberg – No. 3 Lamborghini Huracán GT3 EVO (Race 1 – 3rd) – “Everything seemed under control at first, we had good pace and it felt like we would have driven away to fairly controlled one-two. Unfortunately we kept getting yellows, so whatever gaps we made would evaporate, and then on my last restart I was passed. After that I was fighting in traffic the rest of my stint, and then on my in-lap I was hit, which set us back.”
Source. K-Pax Racing