Lamborghini Blancpain Super Trofeo Europe champion Patrick Kujala secured the win in the opening race of the Lamborghini Blancpain Super Trofeo World Final, Saturday at Sebring International Raceway.
Kujala, driving the No. 132 Bonaldi Motorsport Lamborghini Huracán LP 620-2, delivered a mix of dominance and decisiveness to win the first of two races in the Huracán PRO and PRO-AM ranks in the World Final weekend.
The Finn led fellow European flier Patric Niederhauser, a Swiss driver in the No. 109 Raton Racing Huracán, after taking the lead off the start in the 50-minute race.
Niederhauser pushed but was unable to pass Kujala for the lead in the opening 10 laps of the race.
The decisive moment came right at the 20-minute mark, when the 10-minute mandatory pit window opened, and Kujala stayed out one extra lap while Niederhauser led a handful of cars in on Lap 10.
Niederhauser was later assessed a stop-and-go penalty for speeding in the pit lane during his one scheduled stop.
It’s his second improper pit procedure penalty of the weekend, having also been assessed one in the first Europe/Asia race of the weekend.
Niederhauser had got around Kujala on the pit cycle, and would have been net leader once the cycle completed.
With Niederhauser pitting for the second time on Lap 15 and falling to eighth, Kujala enjoyed a trouble-free drive the remainder of the race en route to the win.
The No. 115 Antonelli Motorsport Huracán of Loris Spinelli and Daniel Zampieri, the latter taking over for Riccardo Agostini following Zampieri’s primary car being written off on Friday, held on for second ahead of the leading North American entry, the No. 50 O’Gara Motorsport Huracán of Edoardo Piscopo and Richard Antinucci.
Niederhauser recovered to fifth by the checkered, one spot behind teammate Alberto Di Folco. However the joy was short-lived, as Niederhauser was disqualified from the race after being underweight in post-race technical inspection.
Corey Lewis continued his strong weekend with his third Huracán PRO-AM win in as many races at Sebring, ending sixth overall after starting 16th in the No. 29 Change Racing Huracán.
Yuan Bo and Edoardo Liberati, the top finishing Asian entrant, ended eighth overall and second in PRO-AM in the No. 208 Top Speed Huracán. A European Huracán, the No. 110 Konrad Motorsport entry of Adrian Amstutz and Giovanni Venturini, completed the PRO-AM podium in 10th overall.
RESULTS: Huracán PRO/PRO-AM Race 1
Ryan Ockey, Hurley Win Opening Huracán AM/Gallardo Race
The first Huracán AM and Gallardo race of the weekend featured a dramatic race, and a controversial ending, that saw the win change hands after the checkered flag.
Damon Ockey dominated most of the proceedings from the overall pole in the No. 09 Lamborghini Huracán LP 620-2, and regained the lead following a delayed single pit window. The pit window was delayed due to a full course caution, and was extended until six and a half minutes were left in the 50-minute race.
Meanwhile Josh Norman, who emerged in second place in the No. 71 BAD Lambo Racing Huracán after taking over from father Dr. Jim Norman, began a charge to hunt down Ockey for the lead.
After gaining more than two seconds in the final three laps, Josh Norman made his passing attempt to the inside at Turn 14 of Ockey, but wound up contacting the O’Gara driver and pushing him into a spin.
Norman won on the road by 11.508 seconds over Ockey’s brother Ryan Ockey, driving in a repaired No. 89 O’Gara Motorsport Huracán following contact on Friday, and top European AM driver Steve Tandy in the No. 106 Imperiale Racing Huracán.
As the field parked for parc ferme, Damon Ockey then parked immediately behind Josh Norman, and pushed the young driver from behind in obvious frustration.
Race control reviewed the incident, then penalized the Norman entry with enough of a time penalty to finish behind Damon Ockey, which dropped the No. 71 car to fifth overall, a spot behind Damon Ockey.
With the penalty assessed, the final overall podium was Ryan Ockey, Tandy and Josh Hurley in third overall and the winning Gallardo driver in the No. 76 Musante-Courtney Racing Lamborghini Gallardo LP 570-4 for the third straight race.
The No. 239 Direction Racing Lamborghini Huracán LP 620-2 of Akira Mizutani and Hajime Noma was sixth overall, and the top finishing AM entry from Asia.
American entrants Brandon Gdovic, in the No. 46 Mitchum Motorsports entry, and Jake Rattenbury, in the No. 24 Change Racing entry, completed the Gallardo podium in ninth and 12th overall.
RESULTS: Huracán AM/Gallardo Race 1