Lamborghini Celebrates Another Pair Of International GT Open Titles
Pulcini and Hites crowned champions in Barcelona finale as Gilardoni and Van Berlo win race two
Lamborghini clinched its fifth overall International GT Open Championship title in the final round of the season at Barcelona, courtesy of Oregon Team’s Leonardo Pulcini and Benjamin Hites. The pairing aboard the #63 Lamborghini Huracán GT3 Evo were crowned drivers’ champions as team-mates Kevin Gilardoni and Glenn van Berlo won the last race of the year.
As well as the drivers’ title for Pulcini and Hites – who recorded four race wins throughout the season – Oregon Team also clinched the Teams’ title thanks to a stellar year for the sister car of Gilardoni and Van Berlo.
Pulcini and Hites came into the final weekend of the year holding a four-point cushion over nearest rivals, the McLaren pairing of Nick Moss and Joe Osborne, knowing they needed only to outscore them and the sister Oregon Team Huracán to be crowned. The #63 put themselves in the pound seat by qualifying second on the grid for the first of the two races, three places ahead of the McLaren, while the #19 of Gilardoni was only ninth.
At the start, Pulcini maintained his second place despite a four-wide battle heading into the braking zone for turn one on the opening lap. From then, the #63 held station until the mandatory driver-change pit-stops where it also had to serve its compulsory success handicap. For the #19, it was a difficult opening stint from Gilardoni who dropped to 14th at the start before handing over to van Berlo at the stops.
Following an opening segment to the race which featured two safety car interventions, Pulcini handed over to Hites who consolidated third place as Van Berlo spun while fighting for fourth place with Moss. The #63 finished on the podium in third, with the #19 dropping to ninth at the end.
The title, therefore, went down to the final race of the year on Sunday, with the #19 the highest placed Lamborghini on the grid, in third, with the #63 down in ninth. However, the title would fall the #63’s way with a fifth-place finish as the #19 stormed to its third win of the season by 1.570s.
Off the rolling start, Van Berlo maintained position as the #63 of Hites struggled and dropped to 12th at the end of the opening lap. The #63 had work to do and, with Pulcini taking over from Hites at the pit-stops and serving its 10-second handicap penalty, it rejoined behind the McLaren of Osborne. The two cars remained close together, one place apart which was enough for the #63 to be crowned.
Meanwhile, Van Berlo had handed over to Gilardoni and, without a success penalty to serve, cycled into the victory battle after the pit-stops. Gilardoni then closed in on and passed the leading Porsche to make sure of the win and consolidate third in the drivers’ standings.
For Oregon Team, it was a double title triumph as it also wrapped up the Teams’ title alongside the drivers’ crown for Pulcini and Hites.
Speaking about the title success, team principal for Oregon Team Jerry Canevisio said: “This was the first season of GT3 for us, in a championship which proved to be a high level of competition. We fought well, staying in the hunt throughout the season and able to fight for the title with both cars. In the end, we took both the drivers’ and teams’ titles and for us, this is a fantastic double satisfaction!”
Elsewhere, Barwell Motorsport’s Sandy Mitchell and Adam Balon finished second in the British GT Championship standings following the final endurance race of the season at Donington Park. Having won the last two British GT titles, Barwell came into the weekend facing an uphill challenge to win the championship, and an inopportune red flag in qualifying meant the #72 car started only 10th.
Mitchell and Balon finished fifth in the race to end a season which produced one race win – at the Silverstone 500 – plus a further two podiums at Snetterton and Brands Hatch.
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