Spa Francorchamps, Belgium. The Lamborghini Blancpain Super Trofeo is at Spa Francorchamps this weekend for rounds seven and eight of the 2012 European series. Following Dimitri Enjalbert & Bernard Delhez’s victory in the scorching heat yesterday, late night thunderstorms changed the complexion of the Spa Francorchamps circuit to intermittent rain and a wet track for the second race of the weekend this morning.
Race 2, Saturday 28 July 2012
The second race of the Lamborghini Blancpain Super Trofeo at Spa-Francorchamps got underway behind the safety car today as the track was still wet after last night’s heavy rain. Touring Auto 2000 S.R.L.’s Bernard Delhez started from pole position, with Cédric Leimer sharing the front row of the grid in second place.
After one lap, the safety car pulled in and the cars headed down towards the La Source hairpin at racing speed for the first time. Into La Source, Leimer managed to overtake Delhez and with it, he took the race lead. Behind the leaders, Heico-Gravity-Charouz-Team’s Jan Urban crashed heavily into the tyre barriers just before La Source, but emerged unscathed from his ordeal. Andrea Amici was the next driver to make his way past Delhez, as the Italian claimed second on the Kemmel straight and set about closing down Leimer. In the event, he passed the Swiss driver for the lead on lap 2, and as Amici went forward, the poleman Delhez dropped out of the top 3.
After a good showing yesterday and finishing second in the amateur category, Roberto Tanca encountered problems early in the race. On lap 3, he was forced to stop off the track, but managed to recover for a short period before engine management problems forced his retirement after just four laps.
Six laps into the race, the pit window opened. Guest driver Jean-Michel Martin and Delhez pitted early. Martin, who had started from eleventh on the grid had made it up to eighth by the time he made his stop and was full of enthusiasm not just for the Gallardo, but also the hard but sporting nature of the on-track competition. Delhez had dropped from first to ninth. Second-placed Leimer opted to run a little longer, while Amici at the front of the field added an extra lap before his stop, in a bid to open a gap over the pursuing field.
Meanwhile out on the track Dimitri Enjalbert, frustrated after a slow pit stop after a problem with a wheel change, started to record a string of purple sector times. The French driver rejoined in 14th position and by lap 10 he had already climbed to ninth. One lap later, Enjalbert had gained another three positions and was challenging Leonardo Geraci for fifth. In the #1 VIP car, Jean-Michel Martin’s team-mate, Giorgio Sanna, was also making up places and ran as high as P4, but at the head of the field, Andrea Amici was still over half a minute ahead of his nearest rival.
In the closing laps of the race, it was Adrian Zaugg and Leimer who started to record fast lap times, making their way up the order. Leimer quickly closed the gap to Alberto Cola in P2 and after flashing his lights to show he was there, the Swiss driver passed Cola and claimed second position. Enjalbert quickly caught both Sanna and Cola and before the end of the 16th lap, the #69 car was back in third place, having advanced a remarkable 11 places in the second stint. Leimer ran out of time though to catch Amici and after 18 laps Amici was the first to cross the line. Leimer finished in second place, just five seconds behind Amici. Enjalbert finished in third place, only half a second ahead of Zaugg, whose efforts and fastest lap time were not rewarded with a podium finish.
Leonardi Geraci finished fifth overall and best in the amateur class. Petr Charouz and Aristotelis Varvaroussis took second in the amateur class, after starting from the back of the grid, and Jerome Lhoste and Philippe Barou took third in class. Cédric Leimer leads the PRO-AM classification with 91 points and Leonardo Geraci heads the Amateur (AM) classification with 112 points.
Jean-Michel Martin, #1, 6th place “It was a tough start to the race in the mixed conditions, trying to find grip on the wet track. With varying surface conditions, it made it tough to pick your location to overtake safely. I kept pressing the car ahead and finally the pressure paid off and I started to make up places. With all the cars the same, it becomes clear that the driver is the important factor, but I have to say the drivers race cleanly and fairly. It was a real pleasure to drive the car and race with Giorgio, a very positive experience. At first the Gallardo seems quite intimidating, but it is a great car to drive, very consistent and I still find the braking experience amazing! I must thank Giorgio and Lamborghini for inviting me to take up this challenge this weekend.
Andrea Amici, #54, 1st place “It was a fantastic race to finish a great weekend. I started well and I was up to second place on the first lap, and then on the second lap, I passed Leimer for the lead. My next task was to to open up a gap. Then in the calm of the pitstop, I had a good think about the best way to preserve my lead and it was fortunate that I like racing in the rain most of all. It all went to plan in the second half of the race, and I must thank the team (Autocarrozzeria Imperiale S.R.L.) for a perfect job today.”
Cédric Leimer, #63, 2nd place “The race was tricky today in the changing conditions. I saw that Andrea Amici was very quick and it made me consider which tyre he was using, but without radio communication, I had no real way of driving tactically. In the end, he caught me quicker than I expected, but it was good to finish in second place. ”
Dimitri Enjalbert, #69, 3rd place “Okay, third is not bad, but it should have been better for us today. We had a problem in the pitstop with a wheel change, and I think this cost us the possibility of winning and in a way, this wasted all the good work we had done over the weekend to get to this position.”