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SSR Performance’s Franck Perera leads dominant lights-to-flag in Saturday’s curtain raiser
Lamborghini Squadra Corse recorded an historic first-ever race victory for the new Huracán GT3 EVO2 courtesy of a dominant lights-to-flag drive from SSR Performance’s Franck Perera as the DTM season kicked off at Oschersleben in Germany.
The result was not only a first for the latest evolution of the Lamborghini Huracán worldwide, but also the Sant’Agata Bolognese firm’s maiden success in the DTM since joining the series last year, as well as the perfect start to SSR Performance’s first in its first race weekend with Lamborghini Squadra Corse.
Giorgio Sanna, Lamborghini Head of Motorsport said: “We are delighted with this historic first victory in the DTM, which coincides with the first win of the Huracán GT3 EVO2. The SSR Performance team has done a superb job in their debut with Lamborghini Squadra Corse, and this makes us optimistic for the rest of the championship. We are aware, though, that the level of competition is very high, but this gives us extra motivation to continue to give our best.”
Both of the Lamborghini supported teams in the DTM – SSR Performance and Grasser Racing Team – arrived at the Oschersleben circuit in optimistic moods having completed a number of productive pre-season tests. Following three private group tests on Thursday, the weekend begun with free practice on Friday morning, which was topped by Lamborghini Factory Driver Mirko Bortolotti in the #92 SSR Performance Huracán. Second practice ended with Grasser’s Mick Wishofer as the highest placed Lamborghini in fourth.
Such is the competitiveness of the DTM, that the top 26 drivers were split by less than one second. This trend continued into Saturday morning qualifying, as Perera edged out Jack Aitken’s Ferrari by 0.018s, with Bortolotti third, a further 0.038s adrift. At the start of the first race, Perera got a good getaway off the line and led into the tricky first corner, with Bortolotti slotting into second place. Perera then maintained his advantage at the head of the field and re-joined from his mandatory pit-stop still in the lead as Bortolotti dropped to eighth after his stop. Perera, in the #94 Lamborghini Huracán, had no such trouble and extended his margin in the second half of the race, eventually coming home a comfortable 3.987s clear of the second-place finishing Porsche.
The three points for pole position and the 25 for the race victory meant that Perera took a maximum score in the opening round of the season, capping off a perfect Saturday’s work for the Lamborghini Factory Driver.
Perera could only manage 18th on the grid in another incredibly tight qualifying session for race two, while GRT’s Clemens Schmid was the highest-placed Lamborghini with third, one place ahead of Bortolotti. In race two, Schmid was the best of the Lamborghini with fifth while Bortolotti was sixth at the finish. Race one winner Perera was 12th.
The second round of the season takes place at Zandvoort in the Netherlands, on the weekend of 24-25 June.
British GT and International GT Open
After getting their British GT Championship season back on track with a podium at Silverstone at the start of the month, Barwell Motorsport’s Sandy Mitchell and Shaun Balfe secured yet more points with a seventh place finish at Donington Park.
The weekend got off to a strong start, with the #72 Huracán GT3 EVO2 setting the combined fourth quickest time in free practice before taking pole position across the two qualifying sessions on Saturday by four tenths of a second. It was a double celebration for Barwell as team-mates Will Tregurtha and Mark Sansom also claimed pole in the Am-Silver category for the race. With a 15-second success penalty from Silverstone to serve during the two-hour race, Mitchell and Balfe were realistically up against it on Sunday but produced a clean drive to come home inside the top 10. Tregurtha and Sansom recovered from an early puncture to finish ninth overall and second in the Silver-Am class.
A pair of Huracán GT3 EVO2s were also in International GT Open action at the iconic Spa-Francorchamps circuit in Belgium, as Oregon Team’s Maximilian Paul, Pierre Louis Chovet, Daan Arrow and Pietro Perolini looked to bounce back from a disappointing start to their campaign. Chovet and Paul qualified fourth for the standalone 140-minute endurance race, but it was the Bonaldi Motorsport Pro-Am duo of Sandro Mur and Martin Kodrić which finished as the best Lamborghini, just off the podium in fourth.