Round one of the Blancpain Lamborghini Super Trofeo Series took place at the beautiful race facility of Monza.
This season Lamborghini introduced a new aero-package for the Gallardo LP570-4 which increased the performance of the car dramatically. I’m sharing my race seat with Federico De Nora, an Italian driver (amateur status). We are team-mates in team Bonaldi Motorsport, the same outfit I raced for last year.
After a great performance in qualifying, where I gained pole position by 0, 5 sec ahead of P2, I was set to do the first stint. I started the race alongside Andrea Amici. After some wheel-banging through turn two I managed to race away from the field and build a lead of over 15 sec.
At the mendatory pit stop, which is about half distance of the 50 min race, I handed over to my team-mate and just as he exited the pits the Safety Car was called into play due to an accident. Our lead was gone and Federico had a hard job to fight off the more experienced Cedric Leimer, 2013 champ, who made a pass with two laps to run. We finished in second place.
Finishing in second position meant I would start race two in from the front row. After a good pull away I was pressuring Leimer until lap four where I passed him in Turn 4 under braking. I managed to pull away, posting fastest lap in the process. I started to feel a major vibration on the steering wheel and the car felt more instable with every lap under braking. On lap nine a tyre burst causing an immediate retirement.
Second round took place at Misano Adriatico circuit (Italy).
Round two brought with it the first night race of the series, with the race scheduled to start at 09:20 p.m.
After a good first stint in qualifying I handed the car over to my team-mate for some seat time. Amici was out at the same time and bettered my lap by 0,1 sec. Just as De Nora came in to hand over the car to me for my second stint on new rubber it started to rain at some sectors of the track which didn’t allow me to better my time from the first stint, so we qualified on P2.
I was quite excited at the prospect of my first night race. Visibility was poor lights around the circuit and it provided a new challenge to anticipate lines and kerbs and especially reference points around the track. Amici, who started on pole, and I pulled away from the pack from the opening phase. We built a 10 sec over the the field by lap five, when I managed to pass Amici.
I managed to pull away from him until the mandatory pit stop. I suspected another slow puncture (as in Monza) as I had the same vibration and instability under braking. I pitted early so as not to lose too much time as we could do the driver change in the same stop. Regulations call for a 30 sec stop when a tyre is changed, added to the 65 sec for the mandatory pit stop, we lost a lot of time. Federico got out on track in P3 and finished the race in P4.
In race two I started from P4 and there was a huge battle between the first five cars. As passing was very difficult at Misano, especially when all cars are in close proximity, there was just not much space left to outbrake anyone. Towards the end of my stint I was able to attack and make a few passes.
I got around the outside of Leimer for P3 in Turn On. Later I passed the leaders at the same spot and took advantage of the clear track for some quick laps, entering the pits in the lead and passing on the car to De Nora. He exited the pits in the lead but couldn’t keep Leimert and Geraci behind him as they were coming through, but he did a good job to finish in P3. There was a Safety Car period at the end of the race which, this time, other than in Monza helped us to maintain our position on the podium to the end.
Big thanks to Bonaldi Motorsport and all sponsors and of course my team mate Federico De Nora for a great preparation and work over the course of the race weekends. Next race is in Silverstone on June 2.