24th June, 2018 – European Lamborghini Super Trofeo, Misano Adriatico
Felipe Ortiz and Tuomas Tujula scored their first Lamborghini Super Trofeo victory in convincing style in the night race at Misano on Saturday. A successful weekend for VSR also saw podium finishes for Necchi, Lewandowski, Kasai and MacBeth as well as pole position for Liberati.
The third round of the Championship saw driver changes for two of VSR’s four cars. MacBeth joined Kasai in the number 46 Pro-Am and Necchi rejoined Lewandowski in the Am car. Torrential rain cancelled out the first of Friday’s free practice sessions and left the circuit damp for the second, limiting useful running to qualifying. For Misano the strong Lamborghini Super Trofeo field was split in two with separate qualifying sessions and races for the Pro and Pro-Am cars and the Am and LB Cup cars.
Am qualifying took place on Friday night and Necchi was quick to show the speed of the VSR car, taking a place on the front row for Saturday’s race in the dying seconds of the session. Lewandowski followed suit, putting himself on pole for race two with a great lap halfway through his session. With Lewandowski absent on Saturday it fell to the vastly experienced Necchi to complete the full race. At the start he slipped to third and spent the first half of the race battling to regain second place from Leimer while Lauck streaked away up ahead. As soon as the pit window opened Necchi came in for his obligatory stop and his speed on his out-laps allowed him to pass Leimer for second. Just before the pit window closed Scholze took over the lead from Lauck and Necchi began eating into the twelve second gap between them. With fifteen minutes left the gap was down to eight seconds, with five minutes to go Necchi had reeled Scholze in. The battle for the lead captivated the crowds but yellow flags at several points around the track limited the overtaking possibilities for Necchi who took the chequered flag in second place, just half a second behind Scholze.
Lewandowski lead from the start of race two until he was hit by Leimer on the fourth lap. The accident allowed Solieri to sneak past into the lead and the two maintained their positions until the pit window opened. Lewandowski stopped on lap thirteen and handed over to Necchi who was passed illegally in the pits by Lauck. When the pit window closed Necchi was in fourth place but on lap twenty passed Konopka for third. He then set about chasing down Solieri, four seconds ahead and race leader Lauck. By the end of the race he had closed the gap to Solieri to two seconds and a penalty for Lauck gave the VSR car second place at the flag.
Qualifying for the Pro and Pro-Am cars was on Saturday morning. Ortiz was the top performer of the VSR drivers in Q1, claiming a well-earned spot on row two for the Pro entry. The Pro-Am drivers Kasai and Koller qualified sixth and seventh in class, separated by less than half a tenth of a second. Ortiz survived a messy start which saw Championship leaders Postiglione and Zampieri crash out and slotted into fifth place behind De Narda. He harried the Antonelli driver throughout his stint and was just ten seconds behind the leader when the pit window opened. He came in immediately to hand over the Pro car to Tujula. Kasai and Koller followed him in a lap later. Koller had endured a tough opening stint, being hit by one car and then overtaken illegally under the safety car by three others. In the second half of the race MacBeth and Liberati worked hard to chase down a Pro-Am podium as up-front Tujula was closing in on the leaders. When the pit window closed he was twelve seconds behind Perez and catching fast on Jasper in second. By lap nineteen he had overhauled Jasper in a decisive move and was just eight seconds behind Perez. Three laps later it was all over for the Colombian as Tujula caught him and immediately passed him to take the lead. The Finnish driver then cruised to the flag, taking victory for himself and team-mate Ortiz by over fifteen seconds and putting their torrid start to the season behind them in the best possible manner. In the Pro-Am battle Liberati worked his way back through the field to arrive behind MacBeth and join in his scrap for third in class with Zonzini. It was the San Marino driver who held on, leaving MacBeth and Liberati to claim 4th and 5th in class respectively.
The second qualifying session saw Liberati take a majestic pole position for the number 8 Pro-Am car, quicker than everyone by nearly half a second. Tujula qualified on row four in the Pro car and MacBeth in the second Pro-Am entry earned himself a slot on the sixth row. Liberati held the lead with ease when the lights changed and pulled out a gap to Basz and Kujala during his stint. Behind him Tujula made up two places, passing Zonzini and profiting from Lind spinning out to run in fifth, just behind Altoe. MacBeth was on the move as well, overtaking Jeffries to break into the top ten. When the pit window opened the American stopped first followed by Tujula and finally Liberati on lap eighteen. Koller took over the lead of the race but a small error as the Pro cars caught him lost the VSR Pro-Am car some time. Ortiz maintained Tujula’s pace and on lap twenty-two wrested third place from Blomstedt. Kasai continued MacBeth’s progress and overtook Roda on lap twenty-four to move into second in Pro-Am. Ortiz, the fastest man on the track in the final stage of the race, closed to within eight seconds of the battle for the lead when the chequered flag fell. Kasai and MacBeth finished seventh overall and second in class allowing Kasai to close the gap to the Pro-Am Championship leaders to just ten points, whilst Koller finished fifth in class.
The next round of the European Lamborghini Super Trofeo Championship will take place in a month’s time at Spa-Francorchamps.