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Jerez Weekend Notebook

Sportscar365’s weekend notebook from the Lamborghini Super Trofeo World Final at Jerez…

Photo: Lamborghini

***Circuito de Jerez hosts the Lamborghini Super Trofeo World Final for the first time this weekend, with the annual event returning to Spain for the first time since it was held at Valencia in 2016.

***The final rounds of the three main regional Super Trofeo series of North America, Europe and Asia were held on Thursday and Friday, with the World Final following on Saturday and Sunday. Drivers will all compete in two World Final races, which will comprise entries from all three regional series.

***Bonaldi Motorsport’s Danny Kroes and Sergei Afanasiev secured the Super Trofeo Europe Pro title with sixth in Race 1 and second in Race 2, beating Kikko Galbiati and Vito Postiglione. The Pro-Am title went to Shota Abkhazava, Am class was won by Nico Gomar, and LB Cup was won by brothers Benoit and Francois Semoulin.

***Postiglione missed out on the Europe Pro title once again when co-driver Galbiati picked up a puncture just before the pit window in Race 2. Jonathan Cecotto and Frederik Schandorff dominated the first race from pole, while Race 2 was won by another Bonaldi pairing, Stuart Middleton and Jack Bartholomew.

***Gama Racing’s Evan Chen and Chris van der Drift won both Super Trofeo Asia races and picked up the championship in the process, beating FFF Racing Team’s Juuso Puhakka and Takashi Kasai by four points. Afiq Ikhwan Yazid and Toshiyuki Ochiai won the Pro-Am championship, Huilin Han claimed the Am class and LB Cup honors went to Clement Li.

***Chen defended from Puhakka for victory in Race 1, with the two crews heading into the final race on equal points. Puhakka led that affair from pole before handing over to Kasai, who initially defended from van der Drift until the New Zealander made his way past with a switchback maneuver and subsequently remained in the lead until the checkered flag.

***Since the inaugural edition of the Super Trofeo World Final in 2013, European teams have won 12 class titles and North American teams have won eight. Theoretically, the two series could come level on titles this weekend if Super Trofeo NA entrants win the Pro, Pro-Am, Am and LB Cup classes.

***Super Trofeo NA Am champion McKay Snow crashed his car during pre-event testing but was able to take part in the rest of the weekend, including Thursday’s two Free Practice sessions, by using a spare chassis from Lamborghini North America.

***Corey Lewis described his and Richard Antinucci’s Pro title-winning performance as a “total team effort”. “We were able to keep the points where they needed to be, and it came down to the wire. Richy did a great job today, and all season long.”

***“I tried to stay focused my entire stint,” Antinucci added. “There was a lot to manage while I was in the car, and Corey left me with a lot of tire.”

***Change Racing owner Eddie Littlefield was elated with his team’s double championship, between Lewis and Antunicci’s Pro class win and McKay Snow’s Am class title.

“It has been an amazing year,” he said. “They hung in there all season and it came down to the end. No matter what might have gone wrong during the year, they stayed the course and kept us going in the right direction. I am proud of everyone involved with the teams.”

***Snow’s championship win came despite rival Steven Aghakhani taking all available 32 points over the two days, with 15 points for both of his class wins and one point for each of his pole positions.

***The problem that plagued Sandy Mitchell and Andrea Amici on the way to the grid for Race 2, and prevented them from starting on pole, transpired to be an oil pressure issue. The car stopped at Turn 1 and was towed back to the paddock, allowing the pair to start the race from the back of the field and make their way up to fourth after an otherwise flawless run.

***Ashton Harrison and Stephanie Cemo’s first race ended prematurely when Harrison was pushed into the gravel trap at the end of the back straight by Sheena Monk. Prestige Performance’s Wayne Taylor Racing crew fixed a broken wing mirror and realigned the wheels with enough time to get the car back out for Race 2. Harrison told Sportscar365 she was impressed that Monk immediately came and apologized to her for the incident.

***Monk, meanwhile, had broken suspension on her Dream Racing Motorsport car. She pitted and the team replaced the broken parts, dropping the car five laps down.

***While many Super Trofeo North America teams’ main focus this weekend was on Friday’s title-deciding races, Race 2 winner Cedric Sbirrazzuoli says his attention is firmly on the World Final races, saying “it’s nice to get a win but what counts is the next two days”.

***Ron Atapattu is the only Super Trofeo driver racing this weekend who drove in the Lamborghini Super Sport Trophy series of the late 1990s and early 2000s. The SRO-run championship was based around the Lamborghini Diablo.

***Atapattu, who made the mid-season switch to Pro-Am alongside Patrick Liddy after previously competing on his own in LB Cup, returned to racing this season to market elephantea, his premium tea company that serves as part of the Sri Lankan-American’s elephant conservation awareness program.

***A number of IMSA staff are on-site this weekend, including retiring president Scott Atherton. Brandon Huddleston, from IMSA’s marketing department, keeps up his streak of attending every Super Trofeo World Final while Mark Raffauf, IMSA’s senior director of racing operations, is working with Chris Ward, Lamborghini America’s senior manager of motorsport.

***Several Lamborghini GT3 drivers are also in attendance, including Andrea Caldarelli, whose FFF Racing Team is a front-runner in Super Trofeo Asia, and recently-crowned International GT Open champion Albert Costa, who Sportscar365 understands could likely return to GT World Challenge Europe next year. The long-time Emil Frey Racing driver paired with Giacomo Altoe in the GT Open title-winning Lamborghini.

***While the three fields will be combined for Saturday and Sunday’s World Final races, they will be split into sessions for Pro and Pro-Am cars, and sessions for Am and LB Cup cars.

***Qualifying will take place between 11:10 a.m. and 1 p.m. local time (5:10-7 a.m. EDT) on Saturday before the first Am/LB race at 3 p.m. (9 a.m. EDT) and Pro/Pro-Am race at 5 p.m. (11 a.m. EDT).

***The second and World Final races, which actually decide who are crowned the event winners, will both take place on Sunday. Am/LB Race 2 is scheduled for 11:30 a.m. (6:30 a.m. EDT) and Pro/Pro-Am Race 2 at 3 p.m. (10 a.m. EDT). Note that Daylight Saving Time ends in Europe on Sunday morning, reducing the time difference to EDT from +6 to +5 hours.

Jake Kilshaw is a UK-based journalist. He is a graduate of Politics and International Relations.

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