COMPETITION GETS FIERCE IN THE SUPER TROFEO AT SPA-FRANCORCHAMPS As the Lamborghini Blancpain Super Trofeo enters the second half of its season, the on-track battles have become even more intense, and this was clearly demonstrated at ...
COMPETITION GETS FIERCE IN THE SUPER TROFEO AT SPA-FRANCORCHAMPS
As the Lamborghini Blancpain Super Trofeo enters the second half of its season, the on-track battles have become even more intense, and this was clearly demonstrated at Spa-Francorchamps, Belgium, on 29-31 July 2010. Black Bull Swiss Racing drivers Mirko Venturi and Tommaso Maino came out on top, securing two victories and enough points to put the team tied top of the Teams' Standings.
Taking part in the Super Trofeo series this weekend was former Formula 3000 driver and Dutch RTL Formula One commentator Allard Kalff. The Dutchman joined by fellow countryman and Autosport.nl journalist Rob Kamphues in the #1 Automobili Lamborghini VIP race car. The pair showed strong form, qualifying third on Thursday and claiming a fourth-place finish in the final race of the weekend. Meanwhile, EVO UK journalists Roger Green and John Barker piloted the #2 Automobili Lamborghini Super Trofeo, achieving a best result of sixth in round 10.
In wet conditions Marc A. Hayek took to the track first for qualifying in the #24 Blancpain Reiter Engineering race car, posting strong times to put the #24 as high as third during the first half of the session. The Swiss driver then handed over to Peter Kox, who set a fastest lap of 2:47.902 to put the pair on the top of the timesheets then improving this to 2:46.687 before the end of the session.
Italian Venturi set the second fastest lap time of 2:47.902 in the #46 Super Trofeo race car, while it was VIP driver Kalff who set the third fastest time of 2:49.016 in his debut piloting the #1 Automobili Lamborghini car. MIK Corse driver new entrant Luigi Moccia lapped the historic circuit in 2:49.493, while EVO UK journalist Barker was just 0.084 seconds behind, setting the fifth fastest lap time.
"Spa is fantastic!" said Hayek. "It's probably the most interesting and most challenging track on the calendar. There is no room to try a different racing line: you have to get it right, and with the weather difficult to foresee, it is made even more of a challenge."
Black Bull Swiss Racing secured its first victory of the season in round 10. From second on the grid Maino put in a strong drive in the #46, handing over to team-mate Venturi in third place. Venturi then charged after the cars ahead, passing Pro-Am driver Ferruccio Bellini in the #3 Bonaldi Motorsport Super Trofeo before reducing the 13-second gap from the leader. In the final lap Venturi caught Moccia in the #22 and passed to claim the team's maiden Super Trofeo win.
Moccia crossed the line second with Nicolas Navarro in the #63 Autovitesse Garage R. Affolter Suisse race car having improved their seventh-place start to complete the top three. Also putting in a strong drive was Touringauto pilot Eugenio Amos, who drove his #69 Super Trofeo race car from eighth to fourth.
Pole-sitter Hayek slipped back to sixth at the start of round 10 before handing over to team-mate Peter Kox. Kox then charged around the Spa-Francorchamps circuit in the #24 Blancpain Reiter Engineering Super Trofeo, posting the fastest lap of the race on lap 13, but only managed to climb to fifth by the chequered flag.
"I had a very good start and managed to keep the lead during the first lap," said Maino. "Fabio [Babini] was faster and I had to let him go, but Mirko [Venturi] was fantastic after the driver change. I am very happy about the win and to share it with Mirko and the team. They have done a great job and the car performed very well today."
The second race of the weekend played host to a battle between the Italian duo of Babini and Venturi: however it was Babini who triumphed and claimed the victory. From second on the grid Babini's team-mate Moccia took the lead, passing
Moccia continued to lead the field, handing over the #22 to Babini during the mandatory pit-stop with Venturi now behind the wheel of the #46. As the clock ticked down the minutes, Venturi charged hard to catch the #22 ahead. On the penultimate lap, Venturi made his move and passed Babini, but the MIK Corse driver reclaimed the lead before the end of the lap. The two 570 hp Super Trofeo race cars were neck-and-neck until the very last corner, but it was Babini who inched across the finish line first to claim MIK Corse's fourth win of the season.
Kox crossed the finish line third in the #24 Blancpain Reiter Engineering car, while 25-year-old Touringauto driver Amos secured a fourth-place finish after a consistent drive in the #69 Super Trofeo.
VIP driver Kalff, who started from the very back of the grid, was aiming for a first-place finish and managed to climb through the pack to as high as second during the 40-minute race. He then handed over to team-mate Kamphues, who struggled in the field and slipped back to finish seventh. Meanwhile in the #2 Automobili Lamborghini VIP car EVO UK journalist Roger Green finished 10th having suffered a puncture in the closing laps.
"It was a very close race," said MIK Corse driver Babini. "Venturi was very fast and I had to push extremely hard to stay ahead of him. It's a good result for the team, who have moved up to first in the Teams' Standings."
The competition got intense in the final round of the weekend. From second on the grid Maino had a strong start in the #46 to take the lead ahead of Moccia in the #22. However, Moccia fought back on the third lap and as the pair battled for first place, the #22 went off track, losing pace and slipping back to fourth. Amos was second in the order with Hayek behind in the #24: as Moccia attempted to get back through the field, he and Hayek collided, putting both the #22 and #24 out of the race.
With the pit lane open at the 15-minute stage in the race, Maino entered to hand the #46 over to team-mate Venturi, allowing Amos to take the lead. With Venturi back out on track, he quickly chased down the #69 Super Trofeo race car, passing Amos to lead the field across the finish line for their second victory of the weekend.
Amos finished second to claim his fifth podium of the season so far, while Bellini improved his fifth-place start in the #3 Super Trofeo to third, making it an all-Italian podium for round 12. Behind, Automobili Lamborghini VIP driver Kalff claimed his highest placing finish of the weekend by crossing the line fourth, while Dominique Lucas claimed fifth in the #19 Autovitesse Garage R. Affolter Suisse race car.
"Tommaso had a fantastic first stint, then when I got in the car the team told me that the only person ahead was Amos, so I pushed to overtake him: the car was perfect!" said Venturi. "At Paul Ricard I promised the Black Bull Swiss Racing team that I would not shave off my beard until we won a race, so yesterday I shaved, and now I have earned the right to shave again today!"
Venturi now leads the Pro Drivers' standings with 90 points, six ahead of MIK Corse and inaugural Pro Drivers' Champion Babini. The double victory for Maino has moved him up to second in the Pro-Am Drivers' Standings with 76 points, where he is tied with Bonaldi Motorsport driver Bellini. Amos continues to lead the Pro-Am Standings, having extended his lead to 14 points, with a total of 90. Touringauto and Black Bull Swiss Racing are tied at the top of the Teams' Standings, both with 90 points each, while MIK Corse is second with 87.
The penultimate race weekend of the 2010 Lamborghini Blancpain Super Trofeo will take place alongside the Le Mans Series at the Hungaroring, Hungary, on 21-22 August 2010.