Yuki Nemoto and Edoardo Liberati crowned in final race of the season
Lamborghini clinched the Italian GT Championship Endurance Cup title courtesy of VS Racing’s Edoardo Liberati and Yuki Nemoto, who claimed their second win of the season in the final race at Monza at the wheel of the #19 Lamborghini Huracán GT3 Evo.
The latest success is Lamborghini’s third Italian GT title in five years, with Alex Frassinetti and Michele Beretta crowned in 2017, before Daniel Zampieri and current Lamborghini Factory Driver Giacomo Altoè repeating the feat the following season.
Liberati and Nemoto – driving as a duo this weekend in the absence of regular team-mate Beretta, who was on Intercontinental GT Challenge duties for K-PAX Racing in the Indianapolis 8 Hours – arrived at Monza holding a one-point margin over the #63 VS Racing trio of Mattia Michelotto, Karol Basz and Benjamin Hites.
Things began strongly for the #19 crew with a smooth pair of practice sessions on Friday, placing sixth and 15th before topping two out of the three qualifying segments on Saturday to take their second pole position of the year. Hites, Basz and Michelotto joined the #19 on the front row of the grid with an impressive combined qualifying.
Adverse weather affected the weekend throughout but, despite rain falling over the course of the morning, a dry line had begun to appear on the circuit, leaving tyre choice a gamble. Of those to take the risk to start on slick tyres, was the #63 of Hites while Liberati struggled not with his own tyres, but with a physical issue in the car.
Hites therefore assumed the lead at the start of the race, which started from behind the safety car, but quickly lost out to the #55 Honda. Behind, Liberati fell to fourth behind the #17 Mercedes.
Having come through what proved to be a difficult stint for Liberati, Nemoto took over and rejoined from the first round of pit-stops in third place, just behind the #63 of Michelotto. The safety car then came out at the top of the final hour, with the order remaining the same at the restart with just over 50 minutes left on the clock.
Michelotto then made an assertive move on the Honda in front to seize control of the race at the first chicane, seemingly sending the title the way of the #63. Nemoto stayed at the wheel of the #19 at the final stops, having made his way up to second place, and then took the lead by getting the overcut on the #63, which suddenly ground to a halt with gearbox problems with 27 minutes remaining.
This caused the fourth safety car intervention, leaving the #19 a free run to race victory and the title. Finishing third was the Imperiale Racing Lamborghini Huracán GT3 Evo of Daan Pijl, Mateo Llarena and Raul Guzman.
As well as the overall Endurance Cup title, VS Racing also celebrated winning the Pro-Am championship in the hands of Andrea Cola and Baptiste Moulin, finishing fifth overall. Meanwhile, in the GT Cup Pro-Am championship, Bonaldi Motorsport’s Miloš Pavlović and Michael Fischbaum were crowned after winning their class and finishing seventh overall.