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Oregon Team partnership claim two podiums to take early championship point lead
Marzio Moretti and Sebastian Balthasar (Oregon Team) claimed their first victory of the 2023 Lamborghini Super Trofeo Europe campaign in an entertaining second race of the weekend at Paul Ricard. After finishing second in the opening race on Saturday, the pair drove a calculated but aggressive second 50-minute encounter, working their way up from sixth on the grid to take the victory from the Iron Lynx duo of Rodrigo Testa de Sousa and Ugo de Wilde by 2.758s at the flag. Leipert Motorsport’s Brendon Leitch backed up his race one podium with another third place, making the most of a frenetic battle in the closing minutes, which also proved pivotal in the battle for Pro-Am honours.
Defending Pro class champion Loris Spinelli took pole position in his Pro-Am VS Racing Huracán, and duly led the early stages of the race, either side of a safety car period – brought out after Arkadia Racing’s Hugo Condé stopped at turn 12. This negated Spinelli’s margin at the front – which had been 4.7s – and left team-mate Andrzej Lewandowski vulnerable after the mandatory pit-stops. Having followed Spinelli throughout the opening stint, De Wilde swapped with Testa de Sousa and the #10 Iron Lynx machine closed onto the back of Lewandowski. Behind, Moretti had taken over from team-mate Balthasar; the German driver made ground at the start of the race, getting ahead of Boutsen VDS driver Thomas Laurent, Target Racing’s Largim Ali and Amaury Bonduel (BDR Competition) to run third. He also fended off an attack from Karol Basz (Micánek Motorsport) which proved crucial in maintaining track position after the stops.
Moretti then made the most of Testa de Sousa getting caught behind Lewandowski and grabbed second when the Portuguese driver ran too deep at turn five. Moretti then wasted little time in passing Lewandowski, producing an assertive move at Beausset to seize the advantage, with Testa de Sousa following soon after with an inside overtake at the Virage du Pont heading back onto the pit straight. The lead battle was then between Moretti and Testa de Sousa, with Moretti doing more than enough to secure the victory by nearly three seconds at the finish.
The final step on the podium was less sure, as Swedish touring car convert Oliver Söderström tried to cling onto third place from the recovering Bonduel in the final laps. Söderström, at the wheel of the #9 Target Racing machine, caught Lewandowski but made a clumsy move down the inside of the Polish driver at the final corner, hitting the rear of the #16, which cost the VSR driver the Pro-Am lead. Söderström was penalised 10-seconds post-race for the incident. While Lewandowski faced the wrong way, Söderström and Bonduel were delayed, handing third place to Leitch, with VSR’s Mattia Michelotto making it three-wide over the start-finish line. Bonduel then drove around the outside of Söderström at the chicane to take fourth, and the latter fell down the order soon after, finishing 16th. Michelotto and Gilles Stadsbader, therefore, finished fifth, ahead of the Rebelleo Motorsport pairing of Daan Arrow and Abbie Eaton, with Stéphane Tribaudini and Loris Cabirou (CMR) seventh. Frederik Schandorff and Alex Au finished second on the road in Pro-Am but inherited the class victory following a post-race time penalty for Iron Lynx’s Emanuele Zonzini and Emanuel Colombini. Brutal Fish Racing’s Martin Ryba and Edoardo Liberati finished second while Lewandowski and Spinelli could only manage fourth in class.
In the Am class, Leipert Motorsport’s Gabriel Rindone made amends for a disappointing retirement in the opening race to claim his first win of the season. The Italian drove a clean race from pole position to head Lamborghini Roma by DL Racing’s Ibrahim Badawy, the Egyptian racer taking his second runner-up finish in as many days. Race one winners Pierre Feligioni and Renaud Kuppens (Boutsen VDS) led early on but still collected more valuable points with third.
Donovan and Luciano Privitelio again proved the forces to be reckoned with in Lamborghini Cup, recovering from a difficult start to the race to complete a clean sweep of victories. Jürgen Krebs (Leipert Motorsport) and Petar Matić (Bonaldi Motorsport) exchanged turns in the lead during the first stint, but Matić’s team-mate Paolo Biglieri was penalised with a drivethrough for overtaking under the safety car. That elevated the Brutal Fish Racing car of Jason Keats and Charlie Martin to second, with Krebs completing the podium.
Marzio Moretti (Oregon Team) said: "This is my second victory in the Super Trofeo, after last year's win in Spa. A victory that is just as special as the first one because the team worked so hard. Yesterday, despite finishing in second place, I was convinced that we weren't in the best position with our car. So, with determination, we worked throughout the afternoon, evening, night, and the morning of the race to find the right setup. And today, we were rewarded with this success. Sebastian made a perfect start and managed the tires well. The team made an excellent strategy, and in the end, I made the two decisive overtakes."
Team-mate Sebastian Balthasar (Oregon Team) added: Yesterday was a really good start for us in the season but today we closed everything out. I had a really good start and managed to keep third position and then Marzio did a great stint when he got in the car and made the moves when he needed to in the final laps to take the victory, so a really solid strategy from us today. We have a great team, and they did a fantastic job, especially after the safety car, we stopped in the middle of the window, so we had a good setup to attack the second half. It was also quite important to keep position at the start of the race because you risk losing it at the end, but I also needed to save the tyres, so it was key to stay ahead [of Basz.]”