Trent Hindman and Riccardo Agostini pulled out a win by the narrowest of margins Saturday at Virginia International Raceway, getting the best of the Super Trofeo field in an event that saw intense battles throughout all of the race’s 50 minutes.
The fourth race win in a row for the No. 1 Prestige Performance entry, representing Lamborghini Paramus, brings the pair closer their first Super Trofeo championship, as the season enters its final three races tomorrow.
Agostini started the race from the front of the field after setting the pace in this morning’s qualifying session, but victory was hardly straightforward for the championship leaders.
After holding a comfortable gap until the mandatory midrace pit stops, Agostini clipped the pit entry commitment line during his stop, earning a drive-through penalty for the No. 1 entry.
Hindman served the penalty almost immediately after trading positions with Agostini, dropping back as far as fifth overall, before setting off in hunt of the race leaders.
Knowing he had his work cut out for him, Hindman began turning quick laps, setting a new race lap record on his way back to the front of the field. With just minutes to go, he had his Lamborghini Huracán within sight of race leader Austin Versteeg.
Hindman was tight on the tail of the young, Pro-Am driver at the checkered flag, and although he didn’t finish first on track, he was granted the overall victory after Versteeg received a one-second time penalty for a too short pit stop.
“We were very fast, very competitive today,” said Agostini. “Trent did an amazing job because obviously it wasn’t easy to close the gap and win the race in the end. Congrats to him and everyone that did a great job today.”
Versteeg looked to have achieved his first overall victory in spectacular fashion but fell just short of that accomplishment thanks to the post-race time penalty.
Still, the driver of the No. 7 DXDT Racing entry, representing Lamborghini Dallas, was happy with his performance and the close battles he enjoyed with some of sportscar racing’s greatest drivers.
After working his way up from a backward shuffle in the first stint, Versteeg ran second behind sports car veteran Andy Lally in the No. 16 Change Racing entry, representing Lamborghini Carolinas, for much of the second stint.
With just four laps to go, Versteeg, knowing that Hindman was closing in, pressured Lally into a mistake, taking the lead and a chance to earn his first overall Super Trofeo win.
“We didn’t have a great first qualifying and I knew it was going to be hard, starting from sixth,” said Versteeg. “It was full out all the time. Flat out throughout the entire race. Andy [Lally] is amazing. It’s awesome to be out there with someone from the WeatherTech series and learning from him as I’m driving.”
Yuki Harata continued his run of good results in the Am category, earning a more comfortable third consecutive win to extend his championship lead.
The class pole-sitter had a blistering start in his No. 55 Dream Racing Motorsport entry, representing Lamborghini Las Vegas, jumping from ninth on the grid to fifth in one lap.
The Japanese driver battled with Pro-Am drivers throughout the first stint, before settling into a more relaxed pace in the race’s second half, conserving his tires until he reached the checkered flag.
“Somehow, I started from ninth and after the first corner, I was fifth. That was a pretty good start,” said Harata.
“The first stint, I had a big enough gap, but the second stint was getting closer and closer to the second guy. It was a tough race for me. So hot. It was amazing.”
Dream Racing Motorsport earned a second win on the day, with Ryan Hardwick taking victory in the LB Cup class.
The No. 2 Dream Racing Motorsport entry, representing Lamborghini Atlanta, returned to the top step of the podium for the third time this season, marking a return to form for Hardwick, after a pair of difficult outings at Road America earlier this month.
“It feels good after the last round for sure,” said Hardwick. “The race was good. It was a little bit easier than what I thought it was going to be. Too bad for J.C.[Perez] that he had the penalty. We battled for half the race and I was looking forward to another battle toward the end, but we’ll take it. A win’s a win.”
Hindman and Agostini will start on pole in tomorrow’s race yet again, hoping to repeat their success and continue to grow their championship lead.
Versteeg will be hot on their heels, however, and eager to prove himself after narrowly missing his first overall win. The 19-year-old will start second in Sunday morning’s race, which will roll off at 8:50 a.m. ET.
RESULTS: Race 1