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Hites, Schmid and Van Berlo claim GT World Challenge Europe Silver Cup title with Barcelona podium
VS Racing’s Mattia Michelotto and Edoardo Liberati moved to within five points from the top of the Italian GT Championship Sprint Cup standings ahead of the final round of the season thanks to a victory and second place at Mugello.
Meanwhile, in Barcelona, Lamborghini celebrated a title triumph in the Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe Endurance Cup as GRT Grasser Racing Team trio Glenn van Berlo, Benjamin Hites and Clemens Schmid wrapping up the Silver Cup championship. The #85 Lamborghini Huracán GT3 EVO2 qualified on pole position and finished second in the three-hour encounter behind the sister GRT Huracán of Sam Neary, Fabrizio Crestani and Gerhard Tweraser.
At Mugello, Michelotto and Liberati were among the fastest from the start of the weekend, with the former setting the best time in qualifying on Saturday morning for the opening one-hour race. Michelotto maintained his lead at the start of the race either side of an early safety car intervention and held a healthy margin at the head of the field. Michelotto then switched with Liberati as the safety car came out a further two times in the final 10 minutes, leaving the #63 fourth. However, the leading VSR Lamborghini of Artem Petrov and Riccardo Cazzaniga was penalised 60-seconds for pitting outside the mandatory window, handing Liberati and the sister VSR Huracán of Baptiste Moulin fighting for the podium. On the final lap, Moulin allowed Liberati to pass for second, bagging valuable points ahead of race two.
Michelotto and Liberati started second on the grid for Sunday’s second race and the latter held onto his position throughout the opening stint before handing over to Michelotto early in the pit window. Again, the safety car was deployed during the pit-stop phase, with the #63 moving up to second place behind the leading Ferrari of Stuart White. From the restart, Michelotto staved off an attack from the second Ferrari of Luka Nurmi at the first corner and then seized the lead of the race with just under nine minutes remaining from White. Michelotto then kept it clean to race home by some 3.5s from the BMW of Jens Klingmann and Bruno Spengler. The result means that Michelotto and Liberati are just five points adrift of the BMW pairing with two one-hour races at Imola left to race.
For the final round of the GTWC Europe Endurance Cup campaign at Barcelona, GRT Grasser Racing Team’s Van Berlo, Hites and Schmid knew they needed to finish on the podium and ahead of their nearest championship rivals to secure the Silver Cup crown. They did just that by completing a Lamborghini one-two at the end of the three-hour race in Spain.
The pair of GRT Lamborghini Huracán GT3 EVO2s had dominated the three-part combined qualifying session on Sunday morning, filling the first row of the grid and maintaining those positions off the rolling start. Van Berlo led the early going but dropped down to third in class at the end of the first hour. Despite this early hiccup, the #85 was never seriously challenged en route to the title, secured by a second-place finish to cap off a super season. The #58 GRT machine of Tweraser, Neary and Crestani claimed the class victory to hand the Austrian team its third success of the season and sixth podium in five races.