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Weekly Racing Roundup (8.2.21)

Reports from Lamborghini ST Europe and GT4 European Series, plus news and notes…

Photo: Lamborghini

Oregon Pairing Extend Super Trofeo Europe Lead at Spa

Kevin Gilardoni and Leonardo Pulcini furthered their Lamborghini Super Trofeo Europe championship lead by winning the second race of the weekend at Spa-Francorchamps.

The Oregon Team pairing fought back from an early spin to finish fifth in race one, before chalking up their fourth victory of the campaign in the second 50-minute contest.

Daan Pijl and Danny Kroes won the opening race for Bonaldi Motorsport after leapfrogging the pole-sitting Lamborghini Huracan Super Trofeo EVO during the pit window.

Kroes started from third on the grid but overtook Sebastian Balthasar into La Source to begin a pursuit of pole-sitter and early leader Jonathan Cecotto. Further back, Gilardoni rotated at Les Combes and slipped to 17th, before recovering to fifth with Pulcini.

The top two stayed out for most of the 10-minute driver change window, with Kroes coming in a couple of minutes after Cecotto. This ultimately gave the Dutch-driven Bonaldi Lamborghini the jump on the GSM Racing machine which Kevin Rossel took over.

Pijl managed the remainder of the stint, which included a safety car — after Noah Watt crashed at Blanchimont — to take his maiden series victory alongside 2019 champion Kroes.

Watt’s accident forced Leipert Motorsport to withdraw the Danish racer and Balthasar from a rain-affected race two, crucially removing Gilardoni and Pulcini’s main title rivals.

The Oregon pair took full advantage of the opportunity presented to them, as Pulcini led the opening stanza from an inherited pole position before handing over to Gilardoni who completed the job to create a 21-point lead over Max Weering with one round to go.

RESULTS: Race 1 / Race 2

Photo: Jules Benichou/21 Creation

Voisin, Fagg Level the GT4 European Scores

United Autosports’ Bailey Voisin and Charlie Fagg won and finished fourth in the GT4 European Series races at Spa to draw level with Antoine Potty and Stephane Lemeret for the Silver Cup championship lead.

The drivers of the No. 23 McLaren 570S GT4 took a commanding win on Friday from pole, before Joel Sturm and Nicolaj Moller-Madsen took Allied-Racing’s first win of the season in a Porsche 718 GT4 Cayman Clubsport.

Voisin led away from Sturm and CMR Alpine driver Loris Cabirou at the start of race one, with Sturm dropping out of the battle after 20 minutes due to a mechanical issue.

CMR’s No. 30 Alpine A110 GT4 got ahead of the McLaren at the pit stops, but Fagg managed to power past Vincent Beltoise on the Kemmel Straight.

Fagg then managed a safety car period on his way to claiming a third Silver Cup win of the year for the No. 23 McLaren. Timothe Buret got his and Patric Evrard’s AKKA-ASP Mercedes-AMG GT4 past Beltoise in the closing stages to capture second.

The start of the second 60-minute race saw Fagg lead out of La Source from Buret and Moller-Madsen, who switched places shortly before a safety car that was brought out in response to Villorba Corse’s Mercedes-AMG going off at Raidillon.

United Autosports’ other McLaren driven by Dean MacDonald came into the mix at the restart, and his co-driver Gus Bowers was running third behind Sturm’s Allied Porsche and Voisin after the pit stops had played out.

Cabirou, running fourth in the CMR Alpine, closed down the two United cars and gained third when Bowers spun exiting Les Combes with 20 minutes remaining.

Contact with Voisin at Fagnes resulted in a left-rear puncture on the No. 23 McLaren and enabled Cabirou to take second place alongside Beltoise.

The beleaguered United car also lost its chances of a podium when Potty drove past in his CMR Toyota GR Supra GT4. That late switch ensured Voisin/Fagg and Potty/Lemeret left Spa provisionally tied on 133 points at the head of the championship.

RESULTS: Race 1 / Race 2

Photo: Super Taikyu

Other Racing Action and News

***Teruhiko Hamano, Shintaro Kawabata and Keita Sawa won the five-hour Super Taikyu round at Autopolis in their Floral UEMATSU FG McLaren 720S GT3. The No. 81 DAISHIN Nissan GT-R GT3 crossed the line first after executing the best strategy in a soaking wet race, but was disqualified after the checkered flag due to it carrying an insufficient amount of success ballast. Results

***Rob Wheldon and Francois Perrodo shared out the wins in last weekend’s Masters Endurance Legends races at the Silverstone Classic meeting. Wheldon prevailed in race one driving a Lola B12/60 while FIA World Endurance Championship GTE-Am champion Perrodo won the second encounter in a Peugeot 908 LMP1, after previously finishing second to Wheldon. Race 1 / Race 2

***Ahmad Al Harthy’s Oman Racing venture will return to the British GT grid at Snetterton this weekend. Al Harthy, who sidelined his 2020 racing plans due to the coronavirus pandemic, will share a TF Sport-run Aston Martin Vantage GT3 with Charlie Eastwood.

***Gary Paffett will miss this weekend’s DTM round at Zolder due to travel complications. The Muecke Motorsport Mercedes-AMG driver was ruled out due to a 10-day quarantine exemption approval from the Belgian embassy not returning in time for the event.

***2003 Le Mans winner Guy Smith has joined United Autosports for the Road to Le Mans. Smith is sharing a Ligier JS P320 Nissan with long-time United customer Jim McGuire.

***Nielsen Racing is bringing four cars to Road to Le Mans, expanding on its single-car full-season Michelin Le Mans Cup entry. The British squad will run three Ligiers and two Duqueine D08 Nissans. Tristan Nunez and Steven Thomas are sharing the No. 28, while Nick Adcock and Max Koebolt are in the No. 27 Ligier. Mark Crader and Alex Mortimer are driving the Duqueine, all in addition to full-time pairing Colin Noble and Tony Wells.

***The Gulf 12 Hours has revealed a 39-car provisional entry list for its return to Yas Marina Circuit on Jan. 8. The GT3 field includes defending winner 2 Seas Motorsport with a pair of Mercedes-AMGs. JOTA, AF Corse, AKKA-ASP, Barwell Motorsport and Attempto Racing are also listed. GT4 includes the likes of United Autosports, Century Motorsport and Villorba Corse.

On this weekend: IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge plus Lamborghini Super Trofeo North America and Porsche Carrera Cup North America presented by The Cayman Islands (Road America), DTM (Zolder), Intelligent Money British GT Championship (Snetterton), GT America powered by AWS (Nashville)

Daniel Lloyd is a UK-based reporter for Sportscar365, covering the FIA World Endurance Championship, Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS and the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, among other series.

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