Lamborghini Super Trofeo Europe: Gilardoni and Pulcini take victory at Paul Ricard

 Oregon Team’s Kevin Gilardoni and Leonardo Pulcini claimed their first Lamborghini Super Trofeo Europe victory of the season, profiting from two penalties for on-the-road winners Jonathan Cecotto and Kevin Rossel (GSM Racing). Gilardoni and Pulcini started the race fourth on the grid but lost ground early on after contact at Turn 1 but stayed out of trouble and remained fast throughout to come out on top.

The polesitting VS Racing #6 Lamborghini Huracán ST Evo of Karol Basz and Andrzej Lewandowski led off the rolling start, withstanding a fierce assault from the Bonaldi Motorsport car of Daan Pijl who went toe-to-toe with Basz as the field entered the first corner. Pijl couldn’t quite stay alongside Basz and was forced to take to the escape road, dropping two places to fourth. That allowed the #2 Leipert Motorsport entry of Sebastian Balthasar to climb up to second place, albeit Balthasar soon being hamstrung by a five-second post-race time penalty for a start procedure infringement. The same penalty also applied to the #7 GSM Racing Huracán of Rossel who, like Pijl, also had to use the extra road at Turn 1 to avoid contact.

Basz was untroubled after his early brush with Pijl and quickly opened up a commanding lead of over three seconds from Balthasar at the end of the opening lap. Behind Balthasar and soon on the tail of the Leipert Motorsport car was Glenn van Berlo (#41 Target Racing), who maintained his third place at the start. The best start in the Pro class went to Mattia Michelotto who leapt from ninth on the grid to fifth by the end of the opening lap, as Gilardoni dropped to eighth following slight contact.

Such was the quality of Basz’s start that the Pole’s nearest challenger in Pro-Am came from Dan Wells in 10th place. However, the order in the Am category was turned on its head after a super start from Imperiale Racing’s Hans Fabri enabled the Dutch driver to leapfrog two places to lead early on.

The pace at the front soon settled down as Basz held a margin of nearly 10 seconds over Balthasar and van Berlo before the pit window opened. Lewandowski took over from Basz who, like van Berlo and Pijl, waited until the last moment to switch over to their co-drivers, Lewandowski, Raúl Guzman and Erik Mayrik respectively.

Mayrink emerged ahead of Guzman leaving the pits – as Lewnadowski maintained the lead – but was divebombed at Turn 6 by Pulcini who had taken over from Gilardoni early in the window and now on warm tyres. Guzman also made the most of Mayrink being displaced to take fifth on the road.

All the while, Cecotto had elevated himself to third following the stops – despite being penalised for a second time for being under the minimum pit-stop time – and began chasing down Noah Watt, who took over the commands of the #2 Leipert car from Balthasar.

Cecotto’s pace was unquestionable, and he duly overtook both Watt and Lewandowski to take the on-the-road victory by over four seconds, but it was not enough of a margin to keep the win once the penalties had been applied. Despite a penalty, Balthasar and Watt moved into the lead of the Pro category points standings, as Johan Kraan Motorsports’ Max Weering was deprived of a fourth-place finish in the final minute and only finished 16th.

Second in Pro-Am was the Micanek Motorsport duo of Josef Zaruba and Bromek Formanek, some 14 seconds in arrears at the finish. The Czech pairing were comfortably ahead of Target Racing’s Dmitry Gvazava and Andrea Cola, who completed the podium.

The Am class went down to the wire as Leipert Motorsport’s Gabriel Rindone came out on top, beating Raffaele Giannoni by just eight-tenths of a second. The battle had been race-long with Giannoni initially leading the way before being usurped by Rindone after the pit-stops. The pair remained close together, with Rindone just edging it at the finish. Calvin Ray made it two Leipert cars on the podium in third.

In the Lamborghini Cup, Hans Fabri moved into the lead of the points with victory for Imperiale Racing, finishing 6.8 seconds clear of Boutsen Ginion’s Daniel Waszczinski and Pierre Feligioni, with FFF Racing Team’s Donovan and Luciano Privitelio third.

Race winner Leonardo Pulcini (#11 Oregon Team) said: “I’m really happy with the victory, even though it wasn’t the way in which we wanted to do it, by finishing second. But I didn’t really expect to be in this position after leaving the pits in P6 or P7. I pushed as hard as I could, the car was amazing and Kevin also did an amazing job. Today we started fourth and we won after pushing a lot, tomorrow we start from second and maybe we can build a gap and do it again.”

Team-mate Kevin Gilardoni added: “It was a really difficult race, especially in the first corner where everyone brakes late and goes straight on and we were like P7 or P8. In the beginning, I struggled with the tyres but then the car was really good after. Our team did an amazing job, and Leonardo as well.”

In the Am class, the drama was just as intense, with Giannoni retiring from the lead on the very same lap as Target Racing team-mate Guzman. The Italian veteran had held a comfortable margin over Autovitesse’s Cedric Leimer but pulled off at the first corner. Leimer then held the lead before coming under pressure from Renaud Kuppens on the final tour. The pair went side-by-side out of the Parabolica curve, with Kuppens stealing the victory by just 0.022s and finishing an incredible eighth overall.

The second 50-minute race of the weekend is scheduled to start tomorrow at 11.20 CET and will be live streamed on the Lamborghini Squadra Corse official YouTube channel and Facebook page.

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

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