LAMBORGHINI CLAIMS FIRST FIA GT1 VICTORY Lamborghini secured its first FIA GT1 World Championship race victory at Spa-Francorchamps, Belgium, on 31 July 2010. Former Formula One driver Ricardo Zonta and team-mate Frank Kechele guided the Reiter...
LAMBORGHINI CLAIMS FIRST FIA GT1 VICTORY
Lamborghini secured its first FIA GT1 World Championship race victory at Spa-Francorchamps, Belgium, on 31 July 2010. Former Formula One driver Ricardo Zonta and team-mate Frank Kechele guided the Reiter Engineering #25 Lamborghini Murcielago 670 R-SV around the historic circuit to claim the team and the marque's first win in the championship, 3.253 seconds ahead of the #3 Triple H Team Hegersport Maserati MC12.
Zonta set the second fastest lap time during Friday's Qualifying Race to put the #25 Lamborghini Murcielago on the front row for today's Championship Race. The #38 All-Inkl.com Muennich Motorsport Lamborghini, piloted by Nicky Pastorelli, secured fifth place on the grid, while the second Reiter Engineering Lamborghini Murcielago of Peter Kox and Marc A. Hayek lined up seventh.
At the start, Brazilian driver Zonta's main goal was to pass the #11 Corvette: a feat that he accomplished on the first lap. Having started the race on used tyres, the Reiter Engineering driver had to look after degradation but still managed to hold onto the lead for the opening laps before he was passed by fellow Lamborghini driver Kox in the #24 Lamborghini Murcielago. Pastorelli made his way through the field up to third, giving Lamborghini 1-2-3 in the order with Kox in the lead.
During the pit-stops, Zonta handed the #25 over to team-mate Kechele, who re-emerged with just the #5 Ford GT ahead. Kechele set off in pursuit, chasing it down and passing for the lead with three laps of the race remaining. The German driver maintained his position until the chequered flag to claim a memorable victory for both Lamborghini and Reiter Engineering.
Zonta and Kechele celebrate their victory
"It's a great feeling to win," said Zonta. "This is a very important victory for us. I feel very connected with the Reiter Engineering team and even more so after this win. I was pushing very hard on the first few laps as I knew that the other cars had new tyres. Mine were wearing down so I made an early pit-stop: Frank took over and did a great job to finish first."
Automobili Lamborghini's Director of Brand and Design, Manfred Fitzgerald, added: "The team has put a huge amount of effort into this project and it has really paid off today. They have done a fantastic job and we're extremely proud of the result."
The #38 All-Inkl.com Muennich Motorsport Lamborghini, piloted by German driver Dominik Schwager following the pit-stops, crossed the finish line ninth. Meanwhile, the #24 Lamborghini Murcielago 670 R-SV was forced to retire from the race following the driver change due to an engine problem.
Round six of the FIA GT1 World Championship will take place at the Nuerburgring, Germany, on 26-29 August 2010.