VS Racing secure second Endurance Cup one-two of the year, with Imperiale Racing third
Lamborghini claimed a dominant clean sweep of the Italian GT Championship podium in the second Endurance Cup round of the season, with Michele Beretta, Yuki Nemoto and Edoardo Liberati taking the victory for VS Racing. The crew of the #19 Lamborghini Huracán GT3 EVO started second on the grid but came out on top to beat the sister #63 VS Racing car by 43.618s at the flag.
After taking a one-two in the opening Endurance encounter of the year at Enna Pergusa two months ago, VS Racing came into the weekend in fine form, and began in the same fashion by setting fast times in free practice on Friday. Beretta, Nemoto and Liberati were third quickest in FP1 and sixth in FP2, while the #6 Imperiale Racing combination of Daan Pijl, Raul Guzman and Mateo Llarena – the latter making his first start of 2022 after missing Enna Pergusa with COVID-19 – third fastest.
Qualifying was where the Lamborghini Huracán GT3 EVO came to the fore, as Benjamin Hites, Karol Basz and Mattia Michelotto stormed to pole position in the #63, with the #19 lining up alongside on the front row. The #9 Imperiale Racing machine of Sebastian Balthasar, James Roe and Riccardo Ponzio was fifth fastest, one place ahead of the #6.
The 120-minute race began in perfect style for the leading VS Racing cars, which went side-by-side into the first corner, with Hites withstanding a fierce attack from Nemoto. Hites held onto the lead for the first few corners, but Nemoto seized the advantage on the inside of the left-right turn four. Further back, the pair of Imperiale cars also ran side-by-side on lap one, with Pijl taking fifth place early on.
Nemoto’s pace in the first stint was incredible and the #19 quickly opened up a comfortable margin over Hites, to the tune of five seconds after just 10 minutes of racing. That gap extended to over 10 seconds approaching the start of the first pit window. Liberarti took over from Nemoto and maintained the #19’s lead from the #63, now with Michelotto at the wheel. Pijl swapped with Llarena, leaving the #6 in fourth place overall after the first round of stops.
Despite the unpredictability of endurance races, Lamborghini’s place at the top of the standings never looked in doubt and, with around half an hour to go, Liberati brought the #19 in for its final pit-stop, swapping with Beretta and remaining in front of the #63, which Basz drove to the finish. Guzman took over from Llarena and consolidated the final step on the podium.
The #19 held a lead of over half a minute heading into the last stint, a margin which Beretta extended to over 40 seconds by the end of the race. Basz brought the #63 home a comfortable second, securing yet more valuable points for the championship, while Guzman picked up the first podium finish of the year for the #6 crew.
Lamborghini added another two cars to the top 10 standings, with the third VS Racing Huracán of Andrea Cola and Baptiste Moulin finishing seventh, two places ahead of the GT Cup winning Bonaldi Motorsport Huracán Super Trofeo EVO2 of Miloš Pavlović and Michel Fischbaum.
Both VSR cars are now leading the Endurance Championship standings with 35 points each. The next Italian GT Championship race will take place at Imola for the third round of the Sprint Cup on the opening weekend of September, while the Endurance Cup visits Vallelunga on the weekend of 15-18th September.