Lamborghini recorded a sensational one-two finish on the opening weekend of the International GT Open season at the Circuit Paul Ricard in the south of France, with Michele Beretta and Frederik Schandorff leading home VS Racing team-mates Yuki Nemoto and Baptiste Moulin in Race 2. Schandorff and Beretta had started the second 60-minute race of the weekend from fifth on the grid but produced a superb second-stint charge to take the win by 4.633s at the flag. Moulin took over from Nemoto at the driver-change pit-stop and stole second place at the final corner.
Lamborghini marked its return to GT Open Pro Class with a two-car effort from the Vincenzo Sospiri led team and began the weekend conservatively in free practice on Friday. The pace gathered by the time qualifying came, with Schandorff and Beretta the best placed of the Lamborghini Huracán GT3 Evos in ninth, one place ahead of Nemoto and Moulin.
The race itself began in dramatic circumstances as Schandorff, who started the #63 Huracán, made up three places in the opening corners but was lucky to avoid being caught up in a spectacular accident involving the Christian Klien’s McLaren and the Mercedes of Dominik Schraml at Turn 3.
With points and consistency at a premium in GT Open, both VS Racing crews contented themselves to finishing well inside the top 10, despite the #63 and #19 Huracáns appearing to struggle for pace in the second half of the race. Nevertheless, Beretta and Schandorff ended up sixth at the finish, with Moulin and Nemoto seventh.
The second race was a far more successful one for both the #63 and #19, with Nemoto running third early on behind the squabbling Porsche and McLaren in front. The Japanese driver, who won the Italian GT Championship Sprint Cup title with Tuomas Tujula last year, profited from slight contact between the pair in front to take the lead shortly before the pit-window opened.
Unseen, Beretta had been pumping in strong lap-times behind and made his pit-stop before Nemoto, swapping with Schandorff. On fresher tyres, Schandorff was able to leapfrog Moulin for a net second place, before taking the lead from the Porsche of Al Faisal Al Zubair with just over 10 minutes of the reace left.
Once in the lead, Schandorff maintained his advantage until the end, extending the margin to nearly five seconds, while Moulin barged his way past Al Zubair at the final Virage du Pont corner to make it a Lamborghini one-two finish.
With their victory, Schandorff and Beretta head into round two at Spa-Francorchamps with the joint lead in the overall standings, tied on 21 points with the Bentley combination of Ivan Peklin and Jordan Pepper.
The joy was not just celebrated in the overall Pro result either for Lamborghini, as it was also a one-two in the Am class. Barone Rampante’s Giuseppe Cipriani held off HP Racing International’s Coach McKansey and Jan Seyffert for victory after a thrilling second stint battle. Meanwhile, in the GT Cup Open Am class, Lamborghini Super Trofeo Europe regular Andrzej Lewandowski claimed a commanding victory for VS Racing in his Huracán ST Evo, finishing a full lap ahead of another Super Trofeo car of AKM Motorsport’s Glauco Solieri.
Grasser scores podium in ADAC GT Masters season opener
Lamborghini Factory Drivers Mirko Bortolotti and Albert Costa Balboa began their quest for a first ADAC GT Masters titles with a fine second place in the opening race of the season.
The pair took their Grasser Racing Team Lamborghini Huracán GT3 Evo from fifth on the grid after qualifying to the second step of the podium after an impressive drive in each stint. The #63 ran fourth in the opening laps before moving up to third before half-way.
Following the driver-change pit-stops, that became second until the way, marking a strong start to the season.