- Late-race overtake hands Gdovic and Ortiz dramatic Pro-Am victory
- Am title goes the way of Change Racing’s Gomez, Hennessy give US RaceTronics LB Cup title
VS Racing’s Karol Basz and Mattia Michelotto claimed a resounding victory in the season-ending Lamborghini Super Trofeo World Finals at Misano Adriatico, winning both of the 50-minute races from pole position. The success comes just one week after VS Racing wrapped up the International GT Open championship title, which caps off a sensational season for the team.
North America take home the rest of the silverware. Precision Performance Motorsport’s Brandon Gdovic and Bryan Ortiz won the Pro-Am title, Victor Gomez (Change Racing) the Am crown and John Hennessy taking Lamborghini Cup title for US RaceTronics.
Michelotto started Race 1 from pole position and duly maintained his advantage at the start, which was held under the floodlights due to a delay in the Saturday schedule. The #6 VS Racing Huracán headed the squabbling #127 Change Racing Huracán of Super Trofeo North America champion Richard Antinucci and the #33 Bonaldi Motorsport entry of Danny Kroes into Turn 1. The pair went side-by-side at the first corner, with Kroes shortcutting the apex to grab second, a place he would quickly have to cede to Antinucci. Antinucci was the first to make his stop at the start of the window, while Michelotto stayed out, electing to extend his four-second margin even further. Basz took over and increased the gap to 7.1s over Antinucci, who managed to peg back the Polish driver in the second stint, eventually getting to within 2.8s at the flag. Completing the podium in the Pro category was Kroes and his team-mate Daan Pijl; the pair continuing their strong end-of-season form which produced a clean sweep of the Super Trofeo Europe races.
Basz and Michelotto started Race 2 from pole as well, with the former producing a carbon-copy start to lead Antinucci and Dario Capitanio (both Dream Racing Motorsport) into the first corner. Further around the opening lap, the main contenders for the Super Trofeo Europe title came together at Turn 14, as Weering slid into the side of Gilardoni under braking, with a secondary impact breaking Weering’s rear suspension and forcing both into retirement. Contact also took out a trio of other potential winners inside the first quarter of an hour, as Bonaldi Motorsport team-mates Daan Pijl and Milan Teekens were caught up in a collision with Novamarine GSM Racing’s Kikko Galbiati at Turn 4. Pijl and Teekens were out on the spot, while Galbiati’s race ended soon after in the pits. Much like the first race, Antinucci struggled to match the pace of Basz and Michelotto and, despite making his stop first, emerged from the pit sequence six seconds adrift. That margin extended to well over 11 seconds before being reduced to nine by the finish as Basz and Michelotto secured the race win and title.
Karol Basz, (#6 VS Racing), said: “It’s an amazing day for us, for Mattia who did a great job all weekend. We are World Finals winners and now we get to celebrate!”
Team-mate Mattia Michelotto, (#6 VS Racing), said: “Thank you to Karol and to VS Racing, the car was fantastic in both of the races this weekend.”
Precision Performance Motorsport’s Brandon Gdovic and Bryan Ortiz prevailed in an enthralling Pro-Am title battle thanks to a late-race pass from Gdovic on main rival Claudio Senhoreti with just two laps left in the second race. Gdovic and Ortiz came out on top in a classic tortoise and hare race in the Pro-Am class, edging the charging Loris Spinelli (MCR Racing) to the line by a little under two seconds. Gdovic started the #146 machine third behind the VIP car of Davide Valsecchi and the pole-sitting Leipert Motorsport entry of Dan Wells, but Ortiz got the better of both cars after the pit-stop phase. Spinelli, on the other hand, took over from Brazilian co-driver Claudio Senhoreti – who started further down the field – and produced a typical charging drive in his stint to make up six places and almost claim the win.
Race 2 was a more tense affair, with Spinelli starting fourth overall and Ortiz way down in 19th. As expected, Spinelli held a comfortable advantage in sixth overall, before handing over to Senhoreti at the pit-stops. The Brazilian did well to cling onto the lead but was passed by the Leipert Motorsport car of Dan Wells, who swapped with American Oscar Lee with six minutes remaining. Charging through the field was Gdovic, who took over from Ortiz at the earliest opportunity. Gdovic closed in on Senhoreti in the closing stages, and made an assertive dive to the inside of Turn 4 to claim second place behind Wells/Lee, thus sealing the title.
Brandon Gdovic, (#146 Precision Performance Motorsport), said: “We thought we had a pretty decent car last night, we made a couple of adjustments overnight and it was like we took a wheel off the car. But we managed to make the pass with two laps to go; I had to make my move when I could as there weren’t going to be many shots at it. This is my second World Finals win but it was awesome to bring Bryan his first one, so it’s pretty cool.”
Bryan Ortiz, (#146 Precision Performance Motorsport), added: “This was a far more difficult race than yesterday, and starting from the back was not easy with the car not handling as well as we thought it would. I struggled in my stint and Brandon also struggled but he made the move when he needed to with a couple of laps to go. I’m very, very happy.”
In the Am category, Super Trofeo Europe regular Massimo Ciglia took the early advantage on Saturday evening by winning the opening 50-minute race from pole position. The #27 Oregon Team driver got a superb jump at the start to head Wayne Taylor Racing’s Jordan Missig into Turn 1 for the first time. Missig had passed VS Racing’s Andrzej Lewandowski of the line and tried to wrestle the lead away from Ciglia as the pair charged towards the fast right-hand kink of Turn 11. Missig then spun across the track, having dropped two wheels on the grass, hitting the barrier hard and forcing him out of the rest of the weekend. After a safety car intervention, Ciglia maintained his lead either side of the pit window but was under enormous pressure from Gomez in the second stint. With just nine minutes left, Gomez got past Ciglia to take the lead, but Ciglia fought back and dived down the inside of Turn 8 to reclaim the position. From then on, Ciglia was able to build a margin of over three seconds, reduced to 2.6s by the finish following a pit-stop time infringement penalty. Wayne Taylor Racing’s Ashton Harrison finished third on the road ahead of Lewandowski, but both received five-second penalties for contact with each other during a lively scrap, elevating Leipert Motorsport’s Gabriel Rindone to the final step of the podium.
The second race was a similarly fought encounter at the front, as the top three of Ciglia, Gomez and Rindone leapt away at the start as Harrison again found herself in trouble with a spin at Turn 13 on the opening lap. Rindone led the way but only after shortcutting the second turn as both he, Ciglia and Gomez entered Turn 1 three-abreast. Rindone was handed a three-second post-race penalty for his actions, but eventually finished in seventh following a spin in the second stint. Ciglia also suffered a spin, just before the pit window closed as he looked to gain time on the new leader Gomez. This cost the Oregon Team driver valuable time and gave Gomez the lead after pit phase, which he kept until the end. Automobile Tricolore’s Raffaele Giannoni finished second to Gomez and ahead of Ciglia who missed out on the World Finals title by just one point. An impressive recovery drive from Harrison gave her a second successive fourth place finish.
Victor Gomez, (#129 Change Racing), said: “I’ve always raced in America and never in Europe so I am so excited to be here and competing. The first corner absolutely crazy, I got a great start, got sandwiched and then somebody hit me, so I honestly didn’t know what was going to happen. I just kept it cool all race, kept my composure and I am so happy to be the World Finals winner. The team has faced almost every problem with the car this weekend, but they got it done and we’re here with the win!”
In the LB Cup, Hennessy took a dominant victory in the opening race, winning by a comfortable margin of over 14 seconds from MCR Racing’s Mike Mennella and Bart Collins, while the father-and-son combination of FFF Racing’s Luciano and Donovan Privitelio completed the podium in third. All the action was then saved for the final race as Race 1 winner Hennessy found himself facing the wrong way just three corners in following contact with main title rival Mark Kvamme (Precision Performance Motorsport), dropping him down the order. Kvamme was handed a five-second penalty which ultimately made little difference as Olson, who had recovered brilliantly to take the lead in the second stint, crashed out spectacularly into the pit wall exiting the final corner. That incident came after a frenetic battle which included Privitelio, Hennessy and Gerard van der Horst. Hennessy stayed out of trouble to win the race and the title, with van der Horst second ahead of Privitelio.
John Hennessy, (#103 US RaceTronics), commented: “Nobody told me that this was going to be as much fun and this much hard work as it was! I’m not kidding you; it was amazing. All I wanted to do at the start was just get through the first two or three turns cleanly, but then all of a sudden, I got clipped. I’ve never had to work my way back through the field like that before, I channelled my inner Lewis Hamilton there. I’m so happy!”