Oregon Team’s Gilardoni and Van Berlo claim points lead with victory in last race before the summer break
Oregon Team’s Kevin Gilardoni and Glenn van Berlo picked up their maiden International GT Open race victory, and Lamborghini Squadra Corse’s fourth, of the season in the second race of the weekend at the Hungaroring.
The success moves the #19 crew to the top of the championship standings heading into the long summer break.
Having missed out on a second-place last time out at Spa-Francorchamps for the standalone endurance event of the year, the #19 pairing of Gilardoni and Van Berlo came into the weekend with a point to prove. As expected, the Swiss-Dutch partnership used free practice on Friday to find their rhythm and build pace in the car, finishing eighth and 11th respectively, before qualifying an impressive third on the grid for the opening race on Saturday.
The sister #63 car of Leonardo Pulcini and Benjamin Hites started from pole position and looked like taking their fourth win of the season after taking the chequered flag first on the road. Unfortunately, the duo was handed a 15-second post-race time penalty for a jump-start. That handed the #19 fourth place overall, with Pulcini and Hites had to make do with eighth.
Both Oregon Team Lamborghini Huracán GT3 EVOs started alongside each other for Sunday’s second encounter, with the #19 seventh on the grid, one place ahead of the #63. Van Berlo made up two places on the opening lap and maintained fifth place while things turned decidedly against the #63 as Hites was forced to pit with a problem after two laps.
At the mandatory pit-stops, Gilardoni took over from Van Berlo as the top four cars all made their stop at the same time. Gilardoni rejoined in second place, as others served their handicap time in the pits, just under six seconds off the leading car. Gilardoni brought the gap down by around a second per lap and was soon all over the back of the Kessel Racing Ferrari. He eventually made it into the lead with 19 minutes remaining.
From there, it was a case of keeping it clean towards the flag in the final quarter of an hour, which Gilardoni duly did to the tune of 20.556s from the McLaren of Joe Osborne and Nick Moss. Having been severely delayed in the opening section of the race, Pulcini and Hites recovered to finish 13th.
With their victory, Gilardoni and Van Berlo now lead the GT Open standings with 81 points, three clear of the Moss/Osborne McLaren pairing and 10 ahead of the #63 crew of Pulcini and Hites. The championship resumes after the summer break with the fifth round of the season at the Red Bull Ring in Austria on the second weekend in September. Then it’s onto the final stretch, with visits to Monza and Barcelona rounding out the 2022 campaign.