Caldarelli and Beretta complete VIR double while Oregon Team prevail in GT Open at Spa
Lamborghini claimed yet another clean sweep of the Fanatec GT World Challenge America season, with K-PAX Racing’s Andrea Caldarelli and Michele Beretta taking both race wins at Virginia International Raceway, with Caldarelli strengthening his overall points advantage as a result. The latest triumphs were historic ones as well as K-PAX Racing picked up their 11th consecutive Pro class success in GTWC America.
Beretta and Caldarelli stormed to pole position for the opening 90-minute race by nearly half a second from their nearest rivals. Second qualifying was far more competitive and the #1 lined up sixth fastest. For the sister K-PAX #3 car of Jordan Pepper and Misha Goikhberg, it managed third and fourth in the two sessions respectively.
Beretta took the start in Race 1 and held onto his lead at the first corner, as the #3 car of Goikhberg made it a Lamborghini one-two by seizing second place on the opening lap. From then on, it was a dominant drive from the #1 which stretched its lead to over two seconds before the TR3 Racing Huracán GT3 EVO of Ziad Ghandour went off and brought out the full course yellow. Not long after the restart, there was another FCY, bunching the pack up once more.
The #1 maintained the lead at the second restart and built a lead of over six seconds from the BMW of Michael Dinan, who had got ahead of Goikhberg as racing resumed. Beretta then handed over to Caldarelli at the mandatory pit-stops, with Caldarelli extending the advantage of the #1 until the finish, coming home over 17 seconds clear of second place. Goikhberg and Pepper claimed the final step on the podium in third.
Caldarelli ran sixth in the early stages of the second race as two full course yellow periods affected the opening quarter. Caldarelli came in to serve his compulsory pit-stop before swapping with Beretta, who came back out in third place.
Beretta then made it up to the lead after passing Ashton Harrison’s Acura, but was under heavy pressure from former Lamborghini Super Trofeo North America driver Steven Aghakhani entering the final half an hour. Thankfully for Beretta, Aghakhani made a mistake with 24 minutes remaining, and the #1 was able to come home comfortably for the win. Next up in the GT World Challenge America season is a trip to upstate New York for rounds seven and eight at Watkins Glen on the 22-24 July.
Oregon Team take GT Open one-two while Bortolotti scores home DTM podium
Oregon Team’s Leonardo Pulcini and Benjamin Hites recorded their third win of the International GT Open season, with a supreme performance in the 140-minute endurance race at Spa-Francorchamps. Having set the fastest time between the two drivers in the combined qualifying session, the #63 Huracán maintained its lead at the start, with the #19 of Kevin Gilardoni moving into second place.
Hites then fell into the grasps of the chasing Audi of Max Hofer and lost the lead before the first of two safety car interventions. Pulcini moved back to the top of the order after the first round of pit-stops, with the #63 in charge ahead of the #19. Glenn van Berlo took over from Gilardoni, maintaining second but, when Gilardoni returned to the wheel, he was handed the same five-second penalty for exceeding track limits as the race-leading #63 of Hites. Despite this, the Oregon Team cars serenely came home one-two on the road, but with van Berlo and Gilardoni demoted to third post-penalty.
In the championship, Pulcini and Hites now lead the standings with 68 points, 10 points clear of the sister Oregon Team crew of van Berlo and Gilardoni who are second heading into the next round of the season at the Hungaroring on the weekend of the 9-10 July.
At Imola, for the third round of the DTM campaign, Lamborghini Factory Driver Mirko Bortolotti consolidated second place in the drivers’ standings after a double points finish. Despite setting the sixth quickest time in qualifying, Bortolotti was forced to start 16th after a 10-place grid penalty following a tyre mix-up by his Grasser Racing Team in FP2. Nevertheless, Bortolotti had a storming race and fought his way onto the podium in third following a typically impressive drive.
He was the last to make his mandatory pit-stop and rejoined eighth in the field. A series of fastest laps and a number of on-track overtakes allowed the #63 to charge up the order and onto a well-deserved third place at the finish. GRT scored a double points finish, with Clemens Schmid finishing sixth. The second race proved a more difficult affair, with Bortolotti again the highest placed Lamborghini in 10th at the finish.